I have heard so many excellent reviews about this restaurant, but had no real interest in purposely seeking this place out. I mean the location of this place is a little random, as it is located among the residential area of Strathearn. But it wasn't hard to find at all, and am I ever glad I paid a visit here..Where do I even begin...
Red Ox Inn is one of the finest restaurants in Edmonton. I mean it. The restaurant interior is very simple (small - did I mention there were only about 10 tables or so?), in no way is it as fancy as a place like Wildflower or the Harvest room but that rustic aura really makes you feel at home. From the moment you walk in the door, to the moment you walk out, the service is wonderful and go beyond to make your dining experience memorable. The server was friendly, knowledgeable, helpful and attentive to our needs.
Starting of the meal with drinks and an appetizer, I wanted something warm so I went with the cappuccino. That strong, rich espresso coffee with steamed milk was lovely, but was a better accompaniment with the desserts at the end.
Lucky for my friend and I (or maybe not), they ran out of the pork belly so they had a substitute appetizer for the day: Lamb ravioli. It sounded amazing, and it wasn't on their main menu so we had to order it. If the portion seems small to you, it really was. But, the ravioli was none like any other....Slices of asparagus on top of a tomato jam, on top of the lamb ravioli which was again on top of a creamy pea sauce. The lamb was braised to perfection (melt in your mouth), and the pasta was al dente. When everything was brought together, you have this amazing combination of nutty (from the pea sauce) and sweet tomato. The flavours are insane!
For my entree, I decided to go with the classic strip loin. I was expecting the typical 7 o.z steak on the side, with steamed vegetables as the side arrangement but was pleasantly surprised! The strip loin was cooked to perfection and exactly what I wanted it medium rare. Super soft tender meat served with kale, cornbread puree, a dark rich bordelaise sauce (made of red wine, bone marrow, demi-glace and shallots) and a creamy, thick gruyere cheese sauce. Again with the flavours!! How does one come up with such original and fantastic combinations??? It is unbelievable. Everything on the plate had its own distinctive taste, but when combined my palate was brought to life with the creaminess of the cheese, the tangy bordelaise and the natural flavours from the steak.
Desserts, desserts, desserts! After the nice meal, my friend and I both wanted more! So after browsing the dessert menu for a minute, I knew right away the chocolate mousse was for me. I absolutely love anything chocolate! The mousse was rich and creamy, yet not overly sweet. I thoroughly enjoyed the brownie bits For the tart, the waiter said the rhubarb came from the owners backyard? Something like that..but the fresh BC cherries, strawberries and rhubarb came together so well. I love the tart shell too, flaky, light, crispy...yum yum yum...
So back to my question..What's up with Red Ox Inn? The menu selection and quality of each dish will blow your mind away. This is the place to go for an amazing dining experience. Although the interior is a little shabby and simple, the food will surpass all expectations! The service is excellent, and the waiter really went out of his way to purposely find us the information for the local supplier of where they buy their tea from. I adore this restaurant and is definitely in my top 3 list for favorite restaurants in Edmonton. I am looking forward to my next dining experience here at Red Ox Inn.