This Sh*t's Delicious

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

Olé, eh? Review of Ox & Angela

Summary: Amazing service, more than decent food, and an intriguing menu make this a worthy addition to the YYC food scene.


I wonder who's the Ox and who's Angela?

Ox and Angela is a relatively new latin-inspired restaurant which seems to get its influence from pretty much everything in the Americas south of Texas – there are dishes inspired by Mexican, Peruvian, Chilean, Argentinean, and likely other countries’ cuisines.

The decor is relatively sleek and modern, with rich, dark wooden elements balancing white walls and chairs.  There are a few paintings and decorations that seem somewhat related to latin-America, though there’s no way you would get this mixed up with a straight-up Mexican restaurant.  There are two halves to the venue – one side a definitive sit-down restaurant, with the other side containing a bar (equipped with its own menu).

Due to a Flames game later than evening, Kent and I had to grab dinner right at 5PM – and hence found ourselves the only ones sitting in the vast restaurant.  It was quite lucky for us that we arrived then, as apparently it was booked solid that evening, and it was definitely starting to look that way by the time we left. 

It was a tough decision figuring out which of the several tantalizing dishes we wanted to try, but our server was very helpful in providing detailed descriptions of the various choices.  We decided to split the ceviche to start, as well as to order a meat dish and an accompaniment each to share.  I decided to grab the skirt steak while Kent went with the chorizo sausage, and also selected corn-on-the-cob and a cold zucchini salad at the waiter’s recommendation.  Unfortunately, the menu seems to have changed substantially since we were there, and almost none of these items are on it anymore (except for the ceviche).  The new menu seems to be less latin-based than before, eliminating things like chorizo and skirt steak and adding things like duck breast and striploin… a bit puzzling if you ask me.  The new menu also seems to have less emphasis on the sides, as before there were ~6-7 side dishes to the current 3.  The main dishes seem to come equipped with accompaniments now though, while before the meat dishes were basically meat and little else.

Restaurant side - Angela, I presume?Bar side - drink like an Ox

A real pity that they had to change the menu though, because some of the items were absolutely stellar – namely, the corn-on-the-cob.  Grilled in citrus butter and drizzled with a bit of herb oil, it was simple yet incredibly flavourful.  The zucchini dish was also really good for the first few bites, though I found it to be a bit too much of the same to finish the whole thing.  The skirt steak is pretty good too, as long as you like the taste of chimmichuri, as it is absolutely slathered in it. 

There's almost more lemon and chimmichuri than steak here!

Kent’s 2 Cents

This place had some of the best service I have ever had in Calgary. The wait staff was almost absurdly attentive, constantly watching over your table. A knife was dropped at one point, and a new one was brought over a short moment later. And a dropped napkin was replaced before it hit the ground (not really, but it was damn fast). No, we weren’t intentionally throwing things to test the wait staff. And water was replenished in your cup before you would decide to fill it up yourself.  (Not to mention the ceviche came out mere seconds after we ordered it – they must have a big batch of it in the back –Richard)

Fish and chips, Latin styleRE: ceviche – it was different from the stuff I had in South America, but it was still tasty. The chips that came with it were a bit on the salty side, so the lime & jalapeno taste of the marinade didn’t show through. And maybe the fish could have been softer, as I was expecting more of a sashimi consistency (I’m not sure if it’s their choice of fish – snapper – but it had the consistency of cooked fish, which I hadn’t seen either with my previous ceviche experiences –Richard). But I like the idea of serving ceviche over chips, like a salsa.

Hope you like sausage, because that's pretty much all there is to this dishMy main was chorizo sausages, with sides of corn and zucchini. I was more impressed with the sides than the main. Although the sausage was grilled nicely, it was a lot of one single meat. Maybe I don’t consume as much salt in my diet as I used to, because I couldn’t finish the 3rd chorizo. Or maybe I needed it to be spicy, or drowned with maple syrup like a breakfast sausage.  The corn, on the other hand, was amazing. It was grilled with a citrus butter, and came out hot and slightly charred. It had sweet, buttery, and lemony tastes in every bite. And the zucchini was just as impressive. The marinade was sort of like a ceviche sauce, really limey, but a mint flavour was also thrown in. And cheese and crumbled nuts were sprinkled all over to give it a nice texture.

They pretty much have a whole zucchini here, sliced paper-thin!I can't believe they took this off the menu - but at least I can steal this concept for my own BBQs!

O&A isn’t the cheapest place around. But it probably leans closer to the fine dining end of the spectrum, with incredible service and great food. Not to say you need to dress up to come here, its pretty relaxed and has a hustle & bustle noisy atmosphere well representing everything outside on 17th Ave on a Friday evening. And you won’t be disappointed with portions. I unfortunately decided to pass on the dessert because I was too stuffed with sausage.

Ranking

  Kent Richard
Ambiance 5.5/6 5/6
Service 6/6 6/6
Plating 4/6 4.5/6
Taste 5/6 5.5/6
Originality 4.5/6 5.5/6
Value 4.5/6 4.5/6
Overall 29.5/36 = 82% 31/36 = 86%

Ox & Angela on Urbanspoon

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2 responses to “Olé, eh? Review of Ox & Angela

  1. Kiran December 6, 2011 at 09:50

    Nice review. The good times you guys had shows through well.

  2. penfoldcoffee April 1, 2012 at 12:59

    This just moved up on my list of places to try. Thanks for the great review.

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