O Restaurant and Lounge, Calgary

It’s so easy to make jokes about this new Marda Loop restaurant’s name that I don’t know where to start. To put it delicately, I cringe to think of the many Elaine Bennis/Meg Ryan faking-it impressions that will be delivered in the booths at O Restaurant and Lounge, spurred by the inevitable conversations about the name.

Celebrity chef David Adjey (who has appeared on the Food Network’s Ready, Set, Cook which makes cooking sound like a race, as well as Restaurant Makeover,) acting as Consulting Chef, has created the food concept. (Adjey has also, in the recent past, acted as Consulting Chef at One Eleven Yorkville and Maro in Toronto.) Everything on the menu is made from scratch, in house, down to the pizza dough and the pasta, and the ingredients are as local and organic as possible. While Adjey’s away, the kitchen rests in the hands of Executive Chef Glen Heal.

While the menu lists some traditional North American fare (such as calamari or Caesar salad) it also features some unique twists on conventional dishes. Nachos are spiced with traditional jalepenos, then punched-up with lobster; a strawberry mojito benefits from a dollop of rhubarb. (One wonders: will this mojito taste like pie? Best of both worlds!)

Salads and starters include buttermilk chicken tenders with icy-hot cherry sauce; panko-dusted calamari with Japanese spicy mayonnaise; texas sushi with chili-charred striploin steak with crispy scallions, greens, and blue cheese cressing, and O rings, buttermilk-marinated sweet onion rings, made to order. Mains include St. Louis style ribs, served ‘wet’ with coffee-spiked barbeque sauce or ‘dry’ with Memphis-style rub; organic king salmon with crushed Yukon gold potatoes, brassica dill Dijon vinaigrette, cedar-scented glaze, and salmon candy (unclear what that is); and a vokda-battered halibut sandwich served on a parker house roll with lemon-dill pickle tartar sauce. A short list of classic pizzas and a create-your-own-pasta feature (choose from handmade noodles, sauces, and garnishes) are also on the menu.

The space features a couple of long, communal tables, but there are booths and smaller tables available for the socially awkward among us.

Address: 2018 33 Avenue SW, Calgary, AB
Contact: 403-249-0605
Area: Marda Loop
Venue: Restaurant, Lounge
Hours: Mon. – Sat.: 11:00am – 2:00am
Sun: 11:00am – 12:00am
Price Range: $$ (Affordable)
Payment: Visa, MasterCard

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