Lifestyle(Archives)

Feb
27
2013
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Fort McMurray Food Fight

JON TUPPER
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In the past few years, new restaurants have been popping up in Fort McMurray like dandelions in the spring.  I love a good dandelion salad, but that’s not the focus of this Fort McMurray Food Fight.  Here we rank two of the new kids on the block, Prime Social Kitchen vs. Hoodoo’s Bar and Grill, to see “Who Got the Flavor”.

{slider=Round 1: Overall atmosphere}

 

Prime Social Kitchen is an open concept restaurant and lounge and an interesting space with lively pops of colour.  While located in Gregoire in the Radisson, it feels like a stand-alone restaurant with a themed take on a traditional steak house.



Hoodoo’s Bar and Grill is a Greek restaurant with an interesting mix of traditional Greek colours and styles with some local eclectic pieces that make it very Fort McMurray. The only blemish here was the temperature. They seemed to be having furnace issues and it was so cold inside we had to use our jackets as blankets. While the owner deployed space heaters, they were not sufficient.



Result: Prime Social Kitchen leading after one.

 

{/slider}

{slider=Round 2: Service}

 

Service: Prime’s staff was attentive and professional.  From explaining the specials and wine list to checking on us throughout the meal, the staff was friendly and courteous.  Owner Andy was always visible, introducing himself to tables and ensuring the customers were satisfied.



At Hoodoo’s Bar and Grill the owner was kind and friendly but the service was lacking.  While our order was taken quickly, there was no follow-up to check on the quality of our food or beverages.  My wife had a cola that was stale and completely flat while I was served ice-cold red wine.  My wife and I were the only people in the restaurant leaving little excuse for ignoring our needs.



Result: Prime Social Kitchen continues to lead while the crowd begins to worry about Hoodoo’s Bar and Grill.

 

{/slider}

{slider=Round 3: The appetizer}

 

Prime Social Kitchen offered coconut prawns in what was described as a Pina Colada sauce.  These colossal prawns were served four to a plate and can be shared.  For larger groups, Prime offers a social size serving. While the sauce had an unusual, but mild, mustard background that I don’t associate with Pina Coladas, these meaty and beautiful prawns were flavourful and fresh.



For our appetizer at Hoodoo’s Bar and Grill we chose the scampi.  The menu described these as shrimp in garlic butter and my wife and I felt that such a classic flavour combination was a perfect fit for a Greek restaurant.  We were served six shrimp bejeweled with bits of fresh garlic.  While not unpleasant, the lack of milk solids and texture of the oil lead me to believe these were cooked in margarine rather than butter.



Result: Hoodoo’s Bar and Grill fares just as poorly in round 3 and the punchy coconut shrimp land a solid blow.  Prime continues to lead.

 

{/slider}

{slider=Round 4: The Main Course}

 

Prime Social Kitchen: I ordered the Prime Chicken which is described as a herb-marinated chicken breast in a mushroom and white-wine and cream sauce served with seasonal vegetables and your choice of potato.  What I was served was much more.  This dish is a full quarter chicken drizzled in a classic Veronique sauce that would easily be featured on an episode of Iron Chef.  The vegetables were more than an after-thought and were perfectly seasoned.  The only flaw on the plate was the mashed potatoes which were, at best, entirely uninteresting.



Hoodoo’s Bar and Grill: I chose the classic Greek dish, Moussaka, which is a layered casserole consisting of eggplant, spiced meat, and cheese.  This was accompanied by a traditional Greek salad.  The first few bites had flavours of spiced meat combined with the soft texture of eggplant and melted cheese.  It was the third and fourth bites that threw me horribly off.  The centre of this dish was still frozen, rendering the dish inedible.  Hoodoo’s couldn’t recover from this error since they didn’t come by to check how our meal was progressing.  For frozen inedible Moussaka I was discounted $10, meaning I still paid an inexcusable $16 for a horrible meal that I couldn’t finish.



Result: Like Randy Couture vs. James Toney this battle is so one sided we were beginning to feel sorry for Hoodoo’s.  With no desert on Hoodoo’s menu or aperitifs available, we called it a match after round four with Prime Social Kitchen being a clear winner on every front.  I sincerely hope that Hoodoo’s Bar and Grill was simply having an off-day when we visited because I would love to continue to have the option of dining at a Greek Restaurant, but I believe that Hoodoo’s has to work on their execution before they’re ready for a prize fight.  I may return one day to see if Hoodoos has improved.  By contrast Prime Social Kitchen is a restaurant in its prime and is a great choice for an excellent dinner out at a locally owned restaurant that brings a new and concept to our community.

{/slider}


 

Pro-Tip: You can get to Prime just as easily as any restaurant downtown but it is worth booking ahead, as Prime Social Kitchen fills up quickly around 6:00 p.m..  Prime also serves a 40-year-old port wine which would be great for a birthday celebration.

{imageshow sl=52 sc=2 /}

JON TUPPER

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