Like their ads say, Century is “The Grill of Your Dreams”
By Christopher Thrall
Century Grill’s rather standardly stylish big box boasts glassed-in patios that are stunning in warmer weather. Unfortunately, they look out on Calgary Trail. We passed through the elegant set of double doors and realized that somebody paid a very good interior designer a lot of money.
The lobby was buzzing at 5:30 on a Sunday evening, but most of it was confined to the vast, dimly lit lounge. We easily scored an elegant wood and suede booth next to the heavenly aromas and the warm, burnished copper tones of the open kitchen.
The menu’s prices were on par with the atmosphere and the approachable cuisine had a refined touch. Appetizers like Lamb Popsicles and “colossal” prawns for up to $17 wrestled for space against tantalizing entrées such as ribs, seafood linguine and a vegetarian risotto that averaged under $30.
An 18-oz bone-in ribeye ($41) was tempting, but my search was done when I found the Century Platter. For $69, the platter promised tenderloin, grilled chicken and prawns with a couple of sides. I pointed at the Masi Campofiorin ($11) from the Reds: Italian section of the well-rounded wine list. My bride elected for a virgin piña colada ($5).
My wife’s sweet, iced coconut drink was a hit, while my wine was fascinating. Its rich, dark aroma was very aggressive at first, and the wine painted a strong, flat flavour of sour black cherry across my tongue. The fruity finish far outstripped any Shiraz I had ever tasted.
Our friendly server made sure we didn’t have long to wait for our meal. A hot metal platter was placed on our table. An array of foodstuffs assaulted our eyes and noses, nearly causing me to burst into sobs of pure joy.
Accented with asparagus and swiss chard, the medium-rare tenderloin laid in glorious repose under a hearty three-prawn skewer. The herbed chicken breast cosied up to equally herbed roast vegetables atop a horseradish mash and shiitake risotto. It felt positively medieval but contemporarily elegant at the same time.
Flavour piled on flavour until the entire dish nearly took flight. The tender, lean beef was underseasoned, but the chicken's lemon tones more than made up for it. Lemon enhanced the mash as well, which melted in my mouth to leave only hints of horseradish on my tongue. Up on top, the fiery prawns had me licking my lips to trap any errant spices.
However, the crowning glory of the Century Platter was the risotto! Simultaneously salty, cheesy and creamy, the texture knocked me out and the flavour delivered the coup de grace. I begrudged my wife her own taste and bartered the last prawn for the remainder.
We boxed up a light lunch’s worth of leftovers. When I finally put down my fork and turned back to my Campofiorin, I discovered that it had blossomed into a milder front end while keeping its boisterous finish. I decided I was too full to even consider dessert, but my beloved bride polished off the Chocolate Decadence tower of cake and raspberry champagne coulis without breaking a sweat. I should have saved room.
We paid a very reasonable $75 plus tip. Century Grill soared past every expectation I had and redefined an excellent, modern dining experience.