Why do you eat out? No really. Why bother?

Posted by Warren Bergen on Sunday, September 21, 2014 Under: Other Madness

You can find great recipes online that will, with even a modicum of effort, churn out a dinner that would outperform most run of the mill restaurants. Maybe you’re looking to have someone else do the work, but it’s more likely that you simply want to be out and have a good time. Eating out is usually about an experience. With restaurants that make a real and concerted effort, you’ll usually find great fare or a great vibe, but rarely both. Achieving “both” is very hard. Nestled inside Calgary’s historically significant Theatre Junction Grand is a new restaurant, Workshop Kitchen + Culture that has made just such an attempt.

As the restaurant is an important counterpoint to the Theatre, Workshop creates an atmosphere of backstage cool but leaves it feeling entirely unpretentious, fun and easy. Eating at Workshop brings you the feeling of having very recently attended the theatre or that you’re about to. Either way, Workshop is intrinsically engrained with production and performance and is as dramatic as theatre itself. Cocktails? Fantastic. Sodas? Housemade. Good start but the fun is just starting as Chef Kenny Kaechele provides a string of enticements that purely thrills and surprises.

We, of a certain age, thought we knew what a phone was and what its limitations were until creative minds set about launching smartphones. Similarly, you’ve had chicken, lamb, beef and fish but not like this. When is the last time that the taste of chicken sent you reeling with pleasure? Has it ever? It’s chicken. How good can it be? I believe Kenny had something to say here. Cauliflower might not be at the top of your current list of appetizers. In fact, your current belief may be that it is something to endure, but here it’s a revelation. If you’re thinking your dessert is to share, do not allow yourself to be distracted or your dining partner will make off with most. At Workshop, the best talents have been aligned and freed to shine in their art.

There is nothing of outdoor signage other than a small board which lends to the sharing of a secret. Once inside, the diner is entirely united with the place and space within the walls of Workshop. A kinship with other patrons exists as if we all flow together as excited bubbles within a glass of Prosecco. A shared mystery that is completely intoxicating and entirely good. While others try hard to be atmospheric or force ingredients into some molecular gastronomic newness, Workshop is backed by sufficient experience to make the complicated system of “restaurant” appear simple, fun, curious and delicious. And for that, Workshop is important and why you should bother.





In : Other Madness 

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