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Wednesday 8 January 2014

Cerezo Cafe and Bar Calgary, AB - delicious and beautifully presented fusion Japanese

I've been to Cerezo a few times since my girlfriend MilkTea introduced me to it.  She's been withholding the menu item names so I haven't posted on it as soon as I should have.. because this little quaint restaurant set inside a house is a pure delight.  I usually stay away from fusion places as chefs generally try too hard and the food just suffers as a result.  Cerezo is one of the few that combine passion, service, incredible flavors and execution to pull off showcasing their skill with French, Italian and Japanese inspired flavors.  I'll be doing a separate post on their in house made desserts soon too.

They have a selection of tapas and small and big entrees - but the menu is designed for larger groups, so the more you order, the more you can try!  One of my absolute favorites of the night came out first: Prosciutto Flamenca Egg

Its a slow simmered sweet tomato sauce base topped with creamy and crispy prosciutto, with a small over easy egg yolk nestled right in.  So take the bread (and ask for more) to pop the yolk, swirl and be transported to something sublime. Nomnomnom!

Next out was the Crispy shrimp spring roll - single large shrimp are rolled up in a wonton wrapper and deep fried and toped with a sprinkle of toasted nori.  While tasty (who doesn't like deep fried shrimp?!), this dish was one of the few that didn't particular stand out, but was nice finger food.

The Hotate-enoki was up next: seared scallop, enoki mushroom with original sauce.  The seared scallop was fresh and expertly seared, though could have been left whole instead of sliced thin.  The scallops were completely overshadowed by the enoki mushrooms that are lightly braised in a soy based sauce and finished with truffle oil. Mmmm!

The Seared Shrimp with Shrimp bisque sauce and Olive oil Crostini was pretty straight forward with plump, large prawns seared lightly and a rich, but over salted bisque sauce.

I was really excited to try the Toro-Sashibelly of albacore tuna sashimi as its so hard to get Oh-Toro in landlocked Alberta.  The Toro turned out to be chi-toro, a slightly lower grade than the rich melt in your mouth Oh-Toro.  It was sliced tracing paper thin with skill and was served with a ponzo sauce if I remember right.

The next dish was fair, but sadly not memorable. The Bang Bang Chicken was cubes of chicken stir fried in a sweet chili based sauce studded with large spicy chili peppers and slivered scallions.

The next dish was a hit to some and miss to others at the table.  Some loved the Sukiyaki beef with egg, while others thought it was a bit too bland.  The beef slices are tender, cooked to a medium rare in a oyster sauce based sauce and topped with a soft cooked egg resting on a bed of garlic-y wilted spinach.  Personally, I enjoyed it, though I would have loved this dish served with rice to sop up the savory gravy like sauce.

The last entrée was unfortunately a miss: Yakiniku short rib.  While nice and flavorful, the ribs fell short as they were tough and not tender at all.  They'd be much improved with a bit more marinading/cooking time.  I was surprised the cabbage was used merely as a garnish - could have easily sautéed it in garlic and chilis.

Overall, Cerezo is a tasty, fun and definitely up and coming gem in Calgary! Stay tuned for the dessert menu... :D

Cerezo Cafe and Bar

Address 1002 Edmonton Trail NE, Calgary, AB T2E3K2
Phone (403) 250-8894
Hours Tues-Sat open for lunch and dinner; Sun open for lunch only Closed Mondays
CEREZO Cafe & Bar on Urbanspoon

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