Blackened Tidbits at the Underground Tap and Grill in Edmonton
I have previously written about the Underground Tap and Grill in Edmonton in my review of their excellent Patatas Bravas Tapas Special. The dish you see above was an item from their regular appetizer menu, and, though it didn’t look especially promising when it was delivered to my table, turned out to be surprisingly good.
I went in to the Underground on a Wednesday evening to sample a few of the impressive collection of 70 odd beers they have on-tap. I ate there a few nights earlier and tried a number already, but there were a lot I didn’t get to and I wanted to make up for the deficiency.
The service at the underground was certainly friendly and I was very impressed that both of my servers seemed to have committed the entire humongous beer menu to memory. My only complaint was that they seemed hell-bent on having me eat immediately and kept popping up every 30 seconds or so to inquire if I was ready to order. Finally, after perusing the menu to appease them, and passing on a few interesting sounding items like ‘Naan Duck Confit’ and ‘Jamaican Lamb Curry’, I opted for the (supposedly) Cajun-inspired ‘Blackened Tidbits’
This particular dish consisted of small chunks of sirloin cooked at very high temperature with seasonings, drizzled with a Chipotle sauce, and served around what the menu called a ‘Sweet Potato Haystack’. It didn’t impress me over much when I saw it as the plating job was really not very appetizing. It looked a little bit of a mess and the meat looked as though it was badly over-cooked to the point of being dried out.
As it happened, the Blackened Tidbits at the Underground turned out to be very enjoyable. The meat was far from dried out and was actually very juicy and succulent beneath the charred surface. I am not sure if the kitchen actually used the traditional Cajun Blackened Meat technique, but the seasoning was very similar to those sorts of dishes.
The ambitiously named ‘Sweet Potato Haystack’ was really just the little pile of crispy shreds in the center. It may have had some garnish appeal, but otherwise didn’t add much to the dish as far as I was concerned. The Chipotle Sauce, however, was quite nice. It augmented the nice smokiness of the meat and was just hot enough to add some sparkle. Overall, the dish wasn’t much to look at, but I still gave it a Rating of 4 out of 5.