102 Morrison Rd
Longview, AB T0L 1H0, Canada
In honor of Stampede, I thought I would write about another favorite Alberta pasttime – beef. Alberta is well known for its beef, but in Calgary, I’ve found that more often than not, the beef fails to live up to its reputation. However, in the heart of cattle country, one gem really stands out from the rest, and really demonstrates the quality of Alberta beef – Longview Steakhouse.
With a population of 300, this small village lies roughly 45 minutes south of Calgary in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Longview is probably best known for the beef jerky that they produce, but the Longview Steakhouse is working to change that. My understanding is they are run by a Moroccan family with two classically trained chefs, but i’ve never been able to confirm it. However, the quality of the preparation and plating speak to some excellent skills.
The structure is not much to look at – very nondescript. In fact, the first time i went, I found it difficult to discern from the surrounding buildings. The interior isn’t much either to be honest. It is clean, simple and straightforward though.
However, what they lack in ambiance, they make up for in great food.
We all started with a basic salad – at the amazingly affordable price of $4.50. And outside of dining at my friend’s garden table, this salad was the best restaurant salad i’ve had in years. In fact, it tasted like a salad just picked from the garden. Fresh, mixed greens. Ripe tomatoes. Great balance of textures (carrots and cabbage provide some crunch), and flavour. An awesome mustard vinagrette. Very simple, but totally everything i look for in a salad.
Soup of the day was a large bowl of cream of cauliflower. Other than the saltines/soda crackers which annoy me, the soup was excellent. Rich, luscious, and flavourful. Oh, it was also $4.50.
While I love soup and salad, we’re at a steakhouse for the meat. And oh, how glorious it is. Alberta AAA, the quality of the beef is excellent. However, raw ingredient is just one element of a great steak. I would argue more importantly, is the quality of the preparation. In this case, a perfectly cooked 10oz NY. Normally, i poo poo sauces, and overly spiced rubs, but in this case, the richness of the red wine jus balanced nicely with the pepper rub, which added just the right balance of taste to the meat. A fantastic steak, especially for $25.95.
I personally ordered the ribeye, which was served with sauteed mushrooms and a peppercorn brandy sauce. Once again, not usually my thing, but the sharpness from the brandy cut the fattiness of the steak, and the mushrooms balanced everything out nicely with a great earthiness. The steak was also perfectly cooked, and well rested. Thoroughly enjoyable.
Due to dietary reasons, one poor soul was unable to enjoy red meat and ordered the halibut. A really nicely cooked piece of fish – it tasted good – but im probably understating the quality a bit, as I was a bit dismissive in my sampling since I was eager to get back to my steak.
After dinner, especially the steak eaters, we were all quite full. However, the desserts all sounded fantastic, and the chef/owner gave us a personal guarantee – if we didnt like it, we didn’t have to pay for it. With that kind of confidence, how could we not sample the desserts?
The creme brulee was fantastic. A great golden crust that was just the right thickness – not too thick, but provided enough contrast to the rich, silky smooth custard.
We were told that the bread pudding was to die for. I wouldn’t quite leap off the Eiffel Tower for this dessert, but it was very good. One of the best bread puddings i’ve had in a while, though the bread pudding at Uncle John’s in Arkansas was better.
Lastly, Cheesecake. Very rich. Very decadent. Very difficult to sneak a fork of it. I was threatened with stabbing if i came anywhere near it. Luckily, they relented and let me try a small bite.
When people ask about a “can’t miss/must try” restaurant in Calgary, most people think about places like River Cafe, due to the amazing ambiance, setting, and then food. For me, I’ve never found the food to be that amazing – the River Cafe has always been a choice of great ambiance over food. Longview Steakhouse is the totally opposite experience – where one chooses great food over ambiance. And that fits me to a tee. It is not just excellent food, well conceived and well executed, but it is excellent value. It’s where I choose to spending my dining dollars if I had to showcase Calgary’s best beef. It is also my choice of “can’t miss” restaurant for people who are visiting. Because the food really is great. And if you want ambiance, well, the drive out there is nice. And both the drive, and the food, are worth it.