What’s a TwoBunch to do on a random Saturday afternoon in Calgary? Try out a new food establishment of course! With breakfast (and a dentist visit) a distant memory, and dinner at least a few hours off, we ventured to 10th Ave SW to give Craft Beer Market a whirl. We’d heard a lot of things about Craft -that the food was excellent, that the service was iffy, and that the beer selection was staggering. What did we think about the whole experience? Read on to find out.
The place: Craft Beer Market
The address: 345 10th Ave SW, Calgary
The style: “New North American Classic” – High-end pub grub
The cost: $15-30 per entree, but with almost-daily food specials
Upon arriving, we discovered that it was the first day of the new Brunch menu, which sounded alright to us, as it was barely noon. We were also told that due to confusion in the kitchen, we would have to wait to be seated, despite a mostly empty restaurant (we later learned that the kitchen was in fact just dandy, and that the front of house staff was just disorganized). This was a little annoying, but understandable, being that it was the first day of Brunch. After finally being seated 30+ minutes later, it was time to wait yet again – we weren’t served, greeted, or even acknowledged until close to 1 o’clock. Our server, to put it bluntly, had the personality and tact of a mud flap, and looked as though she had been in a bar fight a few hours earlier. We were told that we could only order Brunch items, although we had seen burgers, nachos, tacos etc. be delivered to tables around us – turns out she just hadn’t bothered to ask the kitchen if lunch items were available yet.
A bit unprofessional to say the least. But, we were eventually able to order our lunch (it was about 130 at this point). We picked out a couple items: Fast Food Sushi (how can you not?!), and a Prosciutto & Arugula Flatbread. The food was comparatively speedy, taking only 15 minutes or so to arrive, although the Fast Food Sushi looked like it had spent a few minutes under the heat lamps. Flavour wise, the ‘Sushi’ was quite tasty, but a little heavy on the sodium. The idea behind this dish is essentially a bite-sized burger and fries. The filling consists of strips of burger, cheese, and fries, wrapped in bacon, and accompanied by a nice vinegar-y barbeque sauce and pickles cut to look like pickled ginger – genius. I think the creamy sauce was trying to be a dijon mayonnaise of some type, but neither of us really liked it and we both thought it tasted like not much of anything. All in all a very clever dish, and indeed, it did taste just like a burger and fries!
The flatbread was definitely the winner as far as flavour goes. The bread itself was nice and crisp, with a hearty, yeast flavour. The tomato sauce added a nice amount of acid, and along with the lemon dressed arugula balanced the salty, cured prosciutto beautifully. Additionally, the cheese was quite sharp in taste, with a nutty aroma, and we both thought that played very nicely with the acid level. Between the two of us, these two dishes were sizeable enough to fill us up without feeling overly full (perfect!).
In summary, Craft is definitely a place we would recommend trying – just make sure you have your expectations straight. It is NOT a good choice if you have any sort of schedule or time limitation, but would be a perfect place to hang out with some friends and have a meal. If Craft can get their service situation figured out, I expect they will have great success, but they desperately need to polish up the face they are presenting to their customers.