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Square One might need to start back at…. well…..

Square One
#32 993 Fir St
Sherwood Park, AB

Square One is a new restaurant opened in Sherwood Park recently. While there’s TONS of new, cool eateries that have opened that I still need to try in Edmonton, I’m the first to say that I’m a lazy ass driver and if I can meet with one of my besties for a long lunch on my home turf in suburbia…. I’m gonna make sure it happens. Lucky for Square One that they’re on my turf, yes?..

Hhmm.. maybe not so much.

The decor is nice, and well, based on the last few restaurants I’ve been too – is getting a bit copycatty. Dark woods, chrome, clean lines… blah blah, snore snore. I initially liked it with The Canteen, and with The Phork, but it’s getting old now. Please. Let’s inject some originality here. (IE: De Dutch). Oh, and by originality, I don’t mean the framed print of Darth Vader they have on the wall…….The ONLY piece of “art” they have in the whole place that I could see.

Really?

Anyway, the menu is “international” – a little bit of this.. a little bit of that, all from over this great eclectic globe. They use local ingredients that showcases the grower/producer which scores HUGE points in my book. Sadly, not a lot of mention of the big “O” – (ORGANIC, people…. come on now!).. but maybe that will change with time.

I have to mention that our server was awesome. Didn’t get her name, but if I ever owned a spot, I’d try and poach her from this place. Really friendly, thoughtful and accommodating. She was always there to refill and take away, and ask us if we were cool or needed anything without hanging around and being creepy.

My friend and I decided to share an appie (or appy, or, APPETIZER.. sheesh.. so many choices now a days.) to start. We decided on the Plaza Machado Tostadas – Crispy house tortillas, huichol, pork belly, spicy onions, crème fraiche, lettuce, lime… It was the recommendation of our server as one of the more popular items on the menu. She said she actually dreams about them because they are so good.

My expectations immediately raised a full point.

tostada1

They came three to the plate, all pretty and styled. Pretending to be ladylike, I sort of tried to use my knife to cut them into more manageable pieces so I wasnt so dork-like while trying to pick one up to eat.

Yeah…. the idea was great in my mind.

The actual effect was more….. land mine looking. (Our server said she forgot to tell us they’re messy…… Yeaaaaaaah….thanks). So now resembling more of a tiny bundle of nacho’s, we tried them.

Meh.

Yeah.. that’s about it, really. As my loving mother would say – “They didn’t twirl my beads”.

She actually says that. In private…. most times.

The pork belly was a monotone note of just a spicy heat and we tasted no hints of lime at all. The crème fraiche was basically decorative only and the onions were ok. The crispyness of the house made tostada was really nice though. I wouldn’t say I hated the appetizer, but it was just….*shrug*. I sprinkled a tiny bit of salt that it needed over it and that elevated it up a notch to “not bad”. FYI – for those who are spice scared, these puppies are a nice challenge.  They aren’t too hot, but there’s enough heat to make you say “phew! Those gotta kick!” (And you’d say it just like that, right?)

Our main meal for lunch was the Chicken Wrap- Grilled chicken, apples, Gruyère, raisins, greens, quinoa. My friend and I had decided to share the dish and the kitchen was incredibly awesome to actually split the order onto two plates for us with our own little cute bucket of fries.

chickenwrap
Let me tell you, friends and neighbors, this dish was MORE than enough for two of us. Given that we’d had the appetizer, the half wrap each was filling to the point that we both couldn’t really finish it.. never mind eat all the fries. ( We needed to leave room for dessert ok??)

The wrap itself was decent. The quinoa, being what it is, is fairly neutral in taste, so it only added bulk and a slightly weird texture, but the chicken was ok. The apples and raisins were a nice contrast off the chicken and actually, this is the first place I’ve seen that grills the wrap. Nice touch!

So anyway, the wrap was good, but you wouldn’t say it was AMAZEBALLS  good or anything. Again, you wouldn’t go home and blog about it…. (wait, what?) However, if you’re some burly dude who works at a crazy labor job that makes you eat like a hairy Sasquatch, – this would do the deed to fill that cavernous hole.  The fries were better than the wrap, hands down, and my spoiled self was disappointed that it seemed to be the ketchup was made by Heinz and not in-house. (I had a wicked smoked ketchup once and nothing has compared since.) Plus, the wrap left you with a heavy taste of garlic in your mouth afterwards.

Like.. HEAVY.

Like, ban you to the couch for the night, heavy.

Dessert – Saskatoon Berry crème brulee- arrived happy and inviting in a longish styled plate with a pretty brulee’d top on it perfectly sized for sharing.

saskatoonbrulee
The top was nice, warm and crunchy while the filling was lightly dotted with saskatoon berries. The texture of the filling was not what I was used to. Usually it’s nice and smoooooth.. like a luxurious pudding made for a queen. This filling was made for more for the person who gets to do the queen’s laundry because it was a bit lumpy… sort of.  Here, look:

saskatoonbrulee1
That being said, it won best of show at lunch today. The weird texture didn’t deter the decadent taste of the cream and berry mixture to show up. The brulee’d sugar on top was just as  François Massialot‘s 1691 cookbook said it should be (I’m guessing, anyway) – with a properly caramelized sugar taste with a crack-with-a-spoon crunch. I kinda doubt he said it like that, but you get my drift.

So, overall, Square One didn’t impress me to go back, sadly. I think they have awesome service and a super cool menu, but from what I sampled today, balanced with the cost of lunch with a few sodas and coffee (around $55.00 not including tip), they have to REALLY step up the taste train to twirl my beads.

Oh, and on a side note, they had the CUTEST cream containers for coffee!! Check it out:

milkcow

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