If delicious craft beer is my first love, then sexy meat comes in at a close second. Beer and meat. Meat and beer. Awesome. I’d have to say that my new favourite place to make this match happen in an awe-inspiring way is at CHARCUT.
Located just a few steps north of the Calgary Tower in the same building as the Hotel Le Germain, CHARCUT boasts an awesome menu of urban rustic cuisine. Walking through the doors and being led into the dining area, you see the open kitchen bustling with activity, leading to an energetic, upbeat atmosphere that still retains a classy, yet rustic, ambience.
While CHARCUT boasts a great wine menu that tantalized my darling wife, I was seriously impressed with their craft beer menu. With seven beers currently on tap, ranging from local Village and Wild Rose breweries through to selections from Brooklyn and Lost Coast, their On Tap menu was pleasing. However, for me, it was all about the Bottled menu…
I started things off with a Rauchbier from Aecht Schlenkerla in Germany, a delicious smoked beer, with just enough of the Maerzen-style malty sweetness to compliment the amazing smoked malt character. I find smoked beers can be funny, with a roller-coaster-like ride of sometimes heightened or subdued smokiness, seemingly depending on which way the wind blows that day; this one was JUST RIGHT. After taking my first few sips of this, we received a plate of beef heart pastrami, topped with sliced fennel. Talk about a pairing! The assertive, spicy beefiness went perfectly with the sweet and smoky beer…I couldn’t have planned it better!
Following swiftly on its heels were two more dishes, the first of which was a Warm Raclette Cheese, a cast iron baked pan bread that you could tear apart and dip in the amazing melty cheese. As if that wasn’t good enough, we enjoyed a cool, sliced Artisan Linguica sausage, topped with sliced cheese. I was still working on the last of my Rauchbier, which continued to impress me with its pairing power with these dishes.
I planned ahead for my main course, ordering a man-sized bottle of Le Freak Belgian IPA from Green Flash Brewing. This came with enough time to enjoy the amazing flavor prior to the arrival of the guest of honor: a Spragg Farms Pork Belly – a perfectly-sized portion of belly in a sexy nest of cheddar grits. I thought I had died and gone to Meat Heaven. This is what it’s all about: beautiful pork and amazing cheesy grits. There’s no way to go wrong with this! Furthermore, I couldn’t resist ordering the Duck Fat Fried Poutine. Unreal…that’s all I can say. Well, I guess I can also say that I’m glad I selected the Belgian IPA, which had no problem slicing through the awesome fattiness of everything that was giving me mouth orgasms!
My wife, while also digging into the poutine, truly enjoyed her Spring Creek Beef Butcher Steak. Even though she’s one of those people who make the meat purists flip out when she orders a medium-well steak, the chefs at CHARCUT had no trouble producing a tender, delicious medium-well that I even I thought was amazing. Not that it’s going to convert me from a rare steak guy, mind you.
Well, we had finished the main course. The dessert decision time had come. Even though I thought was a few bites from actually bursting, I decided that a Brown Sugar Chess Pie was in order…with the mention of a Bourbon bacon fat crust on this bad boy, I simply had no choice. I decided to go with a big, flavorful beer, so I ordered the Ammestout Milk Stout from Belgium’s Beer Here brewery: chocolaty, creamy, and sporting a hilarious label. Good call…even though it didn’t help with my “Dear God, I’m about to explode” situation. It was worth the pain and suffering. The beer, along with this amazing pie that I wouldn’t share with a man on his death bed, was the perfect ending to an amazing dining experience.
There’s no way I couldn’t recommend CHARCUT to everyone I meet. Amazing, brilliantly-conceived food and a delightful atmosphere…extremely friendly and well-informed staff, more than capable of assisting with food and, even better, beer selections…and a very appealing beverage menu. I’m going have to return soon, even if just to take down a few more of the great brews they have available.
Okay, I’ll probably need another duck fat poutine, while I’m at it.
CHARCUT is located at 101, 899 Centre Street SW. Check them out at charcut.com and, for the love of God, go there as soon as possible! You’ll thank me…