{Dining Out: Baton Rouge in Quarry Park}

Tonight we attended the private grand opening of the first Baton Rouge in Calgary in Quarry Park in the SE end of Calgary. Baton Rouge is a restaurant originating out of Quebec that specializes in serving charcoal-grilled meats, tender fall off the bone ribs and grain-fed Canadian AAA beef.

When we entered, we were greeted by a friendly hostess who gave us a couple of complimentary drink tickets each and invited us to explore the restaurant. The interior is predominantly dark wood with bright red leather booths lining the restaurant with stone columns arranged around the central bar area. We grabbed a couple of drinks (I got a glass of white wine, the boy had a spicy caesar) and seated ourselves in a nice booth on the lounge side of the restaurant. Shortly after, we were greeted by servers with appies in hand.

The first, their Louisiana spinach dip – a blend of spinach, artichoke hearts, cheeses, piquante sauce and sour cream and served with large crispy tortilla chips.

The second was their Cheddar Dip – a blend of cheeses topped with diced tomatoes and jalapeños.

A great dish to share, the spinach dip was warm, creamy and very cheesy. The cheddar dip was kind of lack lustre, kind of tasted like nacho chip dip with spice. The chips were tasty though, crisp and big enough to handle a good amount of dip on each chip.

Next was the “Baton Rouge” chicken tenders - their signature chicken tenders made fresh to order, battered and deep-fried to golden perfection and served with their own BBQ and Dijonnaise sauce.

The chicken tenders were delicious, the batter was light and crispy, almost tempura like and both the sauces were very tasty. The Dijonnaise was creamy with a spicy kick and the BBQ sauce was tangy, smoky and bold in flavour.

Next was a sampling of their Santa Fe Chicken - a skewer of their marinated grilled chicken breast topped with grilled zucchini, roasted red pepper, jardinière sauce, and goat cheese.

Finally, the star of the show – their famous BBQ Pork Back Ribs – their signature fall-off-the-bone back ribs, basted with our own BBQ sauce. Slow-cooked and meaty.

These fit the description exactly. Very tender and cooked to perfection. The way ribs should be.

The finale – dessert. The first was a ramekin of their Southern style apple cobbler - their famous apple cobbler, with a touch of cinnamon and brown sugar is served on a layer of caramel sauce and topped with walnuts and French vanilla ice cream.

This was not bad, nothing special, I would have liked it more had the cobbler been warm. I found the crust a bit hard and dense, not flaky and crisp like a cobbler should be, but the flavours were good.

The liked the second dessert better. This was their deep chocolate walnut brownie – a warm chocolate walnut brownie topped with crushed walnuts and drizzled with a chocolate Kahlua sauce.

Dense, fudgey and rich. Perhaps I’ve been too spoiled with desserts. It was good, but nothing I’d drive all the way out here for.

The verdict? Baton Rouge was an enjoyable experience, I’d say it’s on the same level as other upscale casual places like Joey’s and Earl’s in terms of their food and atmosphere. I did think the ribs were better than Tony Roma’s and the ambience is definitely better too. Would I drive all the way down here from downtown to have dinner, probably not. But I have to say the staff was very friendly and inviting and it’s worth the stop if you’re in the area and craving some hearty tasty ribs.

I also got to meet another fellow local food blogger, Vlad and his friend who we sat and chatted with over a few bevies.

I’ll leave you with a shot of their kitchen, busy bodies at work..

Baton Rouge on Urbanspoon

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