Review: Chop Steakhouse and Bar
10235 101 St NW, Edmonton – Website
Date of Visit: July 4, 2015
The Chop Steakhouse, located in the Sutton Place Hotel in downtown Edmonton is one of a chain of 6 restaurants. There are two in both Alberta and British Columbia, one in Manitoba, and one in Toronto. I usually avoid chain restaurants for the most part but I was determined to have several steak dinners whilst visiting the Canada’s cattle country and gave this place a try. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed…
Ambience and Service
The restaurant is a quite large place, seating at least 150, and is comfortable with very modern furniture and fittings. It is a very bright and airy place with large skylights two floors above the dining area and there are television screens mounted around the bar area which gives the place the feel more of a sport’s bar than a traditional upscale steakhouse. It is a matter of personal preference, of course, but I like the elegant coziness and white tablecloths of somewhere like Al’s Steakhouse in Ottawa rather than the ambience here and I found the music a little too loud and intrusive. It is, ultimately, much more the sort of place for a boisterous gathering of friends rather than quiet or romantic dinner
The serving staff seemed to be exclusively young women and the two I dealt with were both very friendly and enthusiastic. Unfortunately, my primary server was a bit uncertain about many menu selections and actually steered me wrong with respect to one item. Beyond that, though, I had no complaint about the service which was pretty quick and efficient.
The menu is fairly typical of steakhouses. There are a couple of fish main courses and the appetizer section is fairly eclectic, featuring Albacore Tataki and Lobster Tacos, among other more standard items. The steak cuts and choices of sides are much the same as anywhere but there is also a Smoked Rib-eye on offer that sounds quite interesting.
I ordered the 20oz Bone-in Rib-eye cooked Chicago style (medium rare inside and charred on the outside). The presentation of the meal was generally okay, although I rather though that flipping the tail of the steak up onto the rim of the French-fry dish in an attempt to be stylish was a bit silly. I was also unimpressed with the choice of plate which, though large and attractively shaped, was ridged on the bottom. I can’t imagine why anybody thought this would be a good idea since the only effect was to drain away the delicious cooking juices and make the steak that much harder to cut.
The steak seasoning was nicely done (although the pepper was a bit gritty in places) and the whole garlic cloves and sage leaves were a nice touch. Both of their flavors were apparent in the overall seasoning and there was a very nice garlicky quality to each bit of meat. Flavor-wise, the result was pretty good…
My complaints about the meal are twofold: First, the cut was not top-quality. It was a good thick piece of meat but it was not very tender and had seams of gristle and inedible fibrous-fatty tissue through quite a lot of it. It was difficult to chew in places and, compounded by the poor plate choice, hard to cut as well.
Far more serious was the fact that there was barely any charring (as specifically requested) and I received a steak that was on the very rare side of rare rather then the medium rare I wanted. I actually don’t mind rare steak too much but, when a place bills itself as a steak house, and announces with pride that it ages the steaks for 32 days and sears them on an 1800 degree grill, then I expect that they will cook a steak properly to order. Once can overlook the toughness of the cut (it happens in the best places from time to time) but this sort of inexpert grilling is not so easy to forgive in a place dedicated to steak cookery.
Anyway, on the whole I was a bit underwhelmed by my experience at this establishment and, aside from a curiosity about the Smoked Rib-eye, I can’t think of any compelling reason to go back. Only the friendly service saves this place from a really poor-rating and I give it a somewhat generous 3 out of 5.