I have a friend. She’s Korean. We like to call her KOrean (with an emphasis on the K and the O, so it sounds like CORE-rean) instead of her real name. Why? Because she’s KOrean. And because everyone’s a little bit racist. She’s probably going to KO me the next time she sees me, and yes, KO as in the first two letters in… KOrean.
Anyways, last week was KOrean’s birthday, and Modern Steak was the venue of choice for this special occasion. As I sat down at our table of 12, I appreciated the blue accent colouring that the candle holders and menus provided to the ambiance, but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t appreciate the complimentary truffle popcorn more. That was good popcorn!
I found the menus to be very informative, and they actually explain the different cuts of steak on the back, each with its own tenderness and flavour rating out of 5 stars, as well as the optimal temperatures. (Hint: Well Done is never one of them!) If you’re not up for steak, there’s a handful of other options available such as Mac & Cheese, Steak Burger, or Salmon. There’s also salad available, if you uh.. want to get salad at a steakhouse.
My cousin and I both wanted an appetizer, so we decided to try one of the tartares for some raw, meaty goodness. No incest. We couldn’t decide between the Ahi Tuna & Salmon Tartare Duo, or the Classic Beef Tartare, so we did what I sometimes like to do in these situations – see what the waitress says and just go with the flow. In her opinion (and supposedly with no bias), the beef tartare at Modern Steak is the best in town so that seemed like a good enough reason to sway our vote.
So was it the best in town? I don’t know, but that does sound like a passport for me to go out and try ALL THE TARTARE. Was it good? Yes! The presentation was pleasing, and dat egg yolk.. who doesn’t love breaking egg yolk?! The tartare consisted of Alberta Beef Tenderloin, Dijon, Caper, Gherkin, Shallot, and Truffle Oil, which I thought went well together, but I do wish that there was slightly more of the stuff, as we finished the tartare well before we finished our chips. The chips themselves had a good saltiness to them and complimented the tartare quite well.
Our food took the better part of an hour to come, but this wasn’t unexpected, considering that it was steak and we had a large number of orders. Needless to say, all of the popcorn was quickly demolished. This location used to be Muse not too long ago, and while I can’t remember what that looked like exactly, Modern Steak felt more bright, open, and modern than what I could recall.
Speaking of Muse, my friend and I had a joint birthday party there a few years ago, and didn’t realize that we should’ve sent a memo that it was a higher end place. As a result, we had friends coming into the restaurant after studying at the university with their hoodies and backpacks on, which made for an amuseing experience. Good times! Lesson learned: Give your non-foodie friends a heads up if you’re going to a fancy place in case they know nothing about it. (Sorry guys.)
Our waitress Denise was very knowledgeable and friendly, suggesting the 12oz Filet as her favourite when asked for a recommendation; I decided to go for it. I had troubles deciding on my included side as most of them sounded appealing, but in the end, Truffle Fries triumphed over the Decadent Mashed Potato as well as the Asparagus w/ Parmesan & 63° Egg. This time, Denise’s suggestion of the Brussel Sprouts w/ Maple & Bacon just did not appeal to me however, because brussel sprouts.
The Parmesan Truffle Fries were golden sticks of crispy goodness, but not especially more so than other fries you may have had before. The 12oz Filet on the other hand, was definitely the star of my meal. With 5 out of 5 stars filled in for its tenderness rating, my cut of steak had no troubles living up to those expectations. Juicy and delicious! I was discussing this with some friends and we found that our steaks were actually cooked to what we ordered it to be, which in itself was a medium-rare experience to have.
Here are some of the other items that my companions got:
Denise offered us the dessert menu, but we were all so stuffed and didn’t order anything else. Doesn’t hurt to take a look though! The options were: Warm Chocolate Cake, Pina Colada Bread Pudding, Warm Cinnamon Roll, Classic Creme Brulee, and Vanilla Gelato.
For those interested, Modern Steak offers some specials throughout the week, such as a 3 Course Porterhouse Share Special on Tuesday (perfect for a date!), half priced wines on Wednesday, and Buck a Shuck Oysters on Thursday. They’re also doing All You Can Eat Prime Rib every Sunday this summer, so there’s lots of excuses available to try this place out.
Our combined bill came close to $1000 for the table, with my own tab coming to about $65 after tax and auto-gratuity of 18%. I could be wrong, but I believe that splitting the bill was not possible, which is something that would’ve been greatly appreciated. While we’ve gotten particularly good at doing it the manual way, I’m always impressed when a restaurant is able to do so with an enthusiastic ‘certainly!’ like it’s not a big deal – because it shouldn’t be in 2015.
I’m not a super big steakhouse person, but if you’re looking for steak in Calgary, you do have quite a few choices. Modern Steak serves some excellent food with some excellent service, and I found both my tartare and my filet to be very enjoyable; my wallet of course, did not have the same experience but that’s something you should be aware of before you even walk in. I would definitely like to return at some point in the future!
107 10a St NW – Calgary, AB
(403) 670-6873 | www.modernsteak.ca