This was my hood yesterday morning. We got our typical April dump that comes right after the first few days of sunshine and spring, just to give us that kick in the pants that says don’t get too comfortable – this is Calgary.
Right before I left my last job, (the one that was moving to the States), I had the chance to grab lunch with a couple of my co-workers, and we walked over to Trader’s Grill at the Mariott Hotel.
The Grill is past its glory days – it used to occupy a bigger space on the second floor, with large windows overlooking the city, and served a good lunch buffet. Now it’s on the main floor, and is little more than a cafe with a bar. It was mostly empty the entire lunch, perhaps a quarter of the tables were occupied.
The menu is simple but very well thought out. There is a decent selection among all the main food groups, and the dishes are not boring. I am sick to death of the usual assortment of salads, sandwiches and steaks that comprise many lunch menus, and was glad to see something like an omelet, or short rib pasta, or baguette with boursin, or the chicken schnitzel which I incidentally ended up having. Apparently they have excellent daily specials as well, which happened to be grilled cheese on the day we visited, and it would have to be a heck of a grilled cheese to beat my homemade one.
The food took a while to arrive given the lack of patrons, but when it arrived, it did not disappoint. Just look at it!
The schnitzel was piping hot, with a crunchy, well seasoned breading, and the chicken inside was fork tender. The roasted taters were very good, the salad was lovely if a bit simple, and the grilled lemon was simply genius. It was a superb meal on a chilly Calgary day.
It seems like more hotels are expanding their restaurants, and trumpeting about them on Twitter and blogs. The Mariott on the other hand seems to be heading in the opposite direction, which is a shame, as the food at Trader’s Grill is as good as some, and better than many lunch options in downtown Calgary. I should also mention that I can see the appeal of the large windows in the summer, it would be great to people watch while lunching.