This Sh*t's Delicious

Exploring the world through cocktails, shit hole restaurants, and UrbanAg

Model Milk Review: Victoria’s Secret? Try Calgary’s

That's some high-fashion signage right there

New restaurants are nothing new to Calgary, and while sometimes I get around to checking them out I haven’t been the best at keeping up at writing about them.  I’ve seemed to finally get around to just sitting down and writing for a few hours, so what better chance to catch up!

The menu has changed every 2 weeks since opening!Model Milk (not "Modern Milk," as many people – including myself – have mistakenly assumed is the name) is located on 17th Ave at the edge of Victoria Park, and was started by the former executive chef at Rush.  My food enthusiast friend Matt was back in town for a visit, so it seemed like a promising choice for dinner.  We went at ~8, but one nice thing about Model Milk is that it stays open until 1AM every day of the week!  Their night menu starts around 10PM, and features a number of American classics such as fried chicken and grits.

Food and drink and bricksThe venue itself was a pretty cool mix of brick/industrial/farm elements, and also much bigger and louder than I expected (though I’m sure the lofted ceiling contributes significantly to the spacious feel).  The menu was fairly simple, with the starters and mains all fitting on a single side of paper.  There have probably been a few new iterations of the menu since I’ve visited (glancing at the menu it appears they are on #5 as of writing this sentence), however they seem to keep most of the base meats  (eg. pork, steak, chicken, duck) and mostly change the sides and preparation of the dishes for each iteration.  As you can see by the picture above, vegetarians don’t appear to be a key constituent for this establishment – the heirloom tomato salad was the only dish lacking meat or seafood.

Looking back at the picture it isn't as huge as I thought, but it probably seats 60+

At first the place seemed kind of pricey to me, but really it is pretty competitive with other "casual gourmet" restaurants – however there is relatively little variation in prices, with cocktails spanning $11-13, appetizers ranging $13-16, and mains from $25-29 (except for the $18 burger).   It isn’t too hard to spend $40-50 per person here.  Their cocktails, if a little expensive, are super-cool (I mean, a cocktail named "A’B’lliteration" with ‘B’ themed ingredients is clever on so many levels!) – they use a giant ice cube similar to what I’ve seen at Momofuku (though it doesn’t melt quite as evenly as the NYC based ones it seems), and the Black Manhattan that Matt ordered was terrific.

To solve the problem of drinks warming up, we dropped an ice cube into it, thus solving the problem once and for all!The rabbit appetizer was so cute! And clever! And delicious!

 

 

And the food!  Inventive, superbly finished, and with high-quality local ingredients – while I wasn’t the biggest fan of some of the recipes, it was hard to argue with the quality of the dishes.  We started with the rabbit and dumplings – or as I liked to refer to it, "Rabbit with Rabbit Food."  The rabbit was served in the form of cakes (similar to crab cakes), while the gnocchi-like dumplings and assorted vegetables (carrots, celery, radish – rabbit food, see? Winking smile) were scattered around in the sauce.  This dish somehow succeeded into bringing together a bunch of flavours that I don’t normally care much for and left me wanting more.  It also came out blazingly fast, probably less than 2 minutes after the waitress left with our order – fast as a hare!

Duck like it's meant to be doneNext up were the mains – pork-lovers will rejoice to hear that Model Milk offers a sausage-wrapped tenderloin, which is itself wrapped in bacon – which Matt couldn’t resist.  I only tried a slice of it, but it seriously gave me a porkgasm – the tenderloin was done medium all the way through, and the sausage and bacon were done to perfection.  I have never tasted a tenderloin half so juicy in my life!  I ordered the duck breast, which at the time was served on a bed of brown lentils – the duck breast was a superb medium-rare, though it had some gristly bits (weirdly, right in the middle of the meat) and the lentils were my least favourite part of the night.  I suspect that this restaurant abuses the hell out of sous-vide, as their meats are just a little too perfect for any other style of cooking I would guess.

We finished off with a couple of desserts, with Matt again selecting the superior one – he picked the Pot de Creme primarily because he is a self-confessed "slut for raspberries" – but the addition of mint, thyme and lemon made it a very interesting, and in fact rather refreshing dessert.  I had the pecan-bourbon pie, which was thick with molasses and quite nice (though with so many pecans that the sides of my tongue were wincing, which normally happens more often to me due to walnuts rather than pecans).

Striped like a bee, tee hee!

Ovoid-shaped ice-cream is all the rage these days

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We shall meet again!

Model Milk is almost a supermodel of restaurants – professional, cutting edge, and damn sexy.  For a restaurant that was only open for five weeks when I visited, that’s a pretty impressive accomplishment.  Hopefully it keeps it up in the future, as I am sure to be back soon!

-Richard

Rating

  Richard
Ambiance 5.5/6
Service 5/6
Plating 6/6
Taste 5.5/6
Originality 6/6
Value 5/6
Overall 33/36 = 92%

Model Milk on UrbanspoonThat'll do, pig, that'll do

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