Better Than Average, but Pricey.
I had an opportunity to make a return visit to this relatively new and purpose-built Keg recently for a family reunion. I’ve always liked this location's dining room. It is boldly elegant with the sort of wood tones one expects in a steakhouse but without them being overtly masculine. Several fireplaces add points of visual attraction. The dining room was already completely full of local meat lovers at six so we accepted corner tables in the lounge that proved to be a fairly comfortable location sufficiently apart from others to afford privacy. I enjoy quaffing a crisp ale with my meals, but discovered The Keg now only offers mediocre Molson products so we deferred to the wine list for a couple of decent Shiraz to share. I recall in its early days out west this chain was a staunch promoter of local and particularly well crafted beers. Like most chains, the bean counters eventually got control and quality suffers. People with a sound knowledge of food and beverages need to lead these companies and ignore the rebate-bait the major breweries offer for exclusivity. All our food was quite acceptable, but pricey. Most of us started with the Escargot ($9) that seemed less garlicky than previous renderings. My massive $42 Rib Steak came precisely as ordered, perfectly medium rare with an aggressive salty char outside and moist redness inside. Other than the dominant salt and pepper flavors, there wasn't much of the distinctive well-aged beefiness a 28-day aged steak should bring to the table at that price point. It was a lean cut without visible marbling that might have been the reason for its muted flavour. It was accompanied on the plate by asparagus spears, grilled red pepper, and sautéed mushrooms that lurked under the flared salad bowl containing my economical portion of Caesar Salad. That standard presentation of a salad bowl on the plate needs to be re-thought as it makes combat with the steak a more challenging event than necessary. We also discovered the lounge’s tables don’t quite accommodate full meal service. Throughout our meal the cheerful staff serving us was self assured and professional, a sign of good training that lamentably has become increasingly rare in chain restaurants. But the three young women at the host stand who were apparently hired because each owned a revealing black dress saw no advantage to thanking customers as they were leaving.
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