The Fine Diner, Calgary, AB

Lamb steak at Calgary's Fine Diner

Lamb steak at Calgary’s Fine Diner

We tried The Fine Diner a while ago.  It’s an upscale ‘diner’ whose ‘angle’ is comfort food, elevated to a fine dining level.

The Fine Diner is located along 9th Avenue S.E., in the increasingly upscale Inglewood commercial strip.

Inside this eatery, the decor is relaxed and comfortable.  A large, picture window opens up the view to the street, and a large sign broadcasts the fact the restaurant carries Fiasco brand ice cream, a specialty company producing ice cream in Calgary.

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Ingrid orders the Lamb Steak ($21.00), which comes with a medley of grilled peppers, zucchini and carrots.  When it arrives, Ingrid asks the server, “What’s this purple stuff?”  The lamb steak is lying on a presumably artistic, thick puddle of purpleness.  “It’s polenta”, she says, and walks away without explaining exactly why the chef has chosen to add purple colouring to what is normally served as a creamy yellow carb.

Regardless of the purple polenta oddity, the lamb steak is excellent, and its a rare entree to find on typical restaurant menus.

Mac and Cheese from The Fine Diner

Mac and Cheese from The Fine Diner

I order the Mac and Cheese ($18.00), and the best part of this dish is the large chunks of lamb mixed throughout.  The dish is supposed to have four different kinds of cheese in it, but it’s a failure.  It looks beautiful when it arrives, topped with melted cheese and green onions. but inside, it lacks the creamy, cheesy sauce I was expecting.  Instead, the macaroni is barely covered in any discernible sauce of any kind and is dry to the point that the individual pieces of pasta do not stick together at all.

I don’t know if the chef had a bad day when we visited, but I wouldn’t recommend the Mac and Cheese.

For dessert, we decided to try the ‘new’ flavour of Fiasco ice cream being touted by the restaurant – smoked bacon and maple ($3.50).  We’re adventurous, so we order it, but it’s a disappointment.  The maple flavour comes through loud and clear, but the bacon bits are tiny; one could easily mistake the small pieces of bacon for large flakes of ground pepper.  When the ice cream melts in your mouth, your left with little bits of ‘stuff’ that when chewed, I can tell it’s protein because it’s chewy.

We’re in a hurry this evening and although the restaurant isn’t particularly busy, our server disappears for a long time before we can flag her down and get our bill.

“How was the ice cream?”, she asks.

“Not what I was hoping for”, I reply.  “I want large, visible pieces of bacon, and I want the bacon to be salty.”

She thanks me for my input and says she’ll pass it on.

So, for The Fine Diner, we hit 50-50; one excellent entree (the Lamb Steak) and one poor entree (Mac and Cheese.)

I think I’ll give The Fine Diner another try some time, but I’m not wholeheartedly enthusiastic about it given our first dining experience.

The Fine Diner, 1420-9th Avenue S.E., Calgary, AB.; Tel.:  403*234-8885; Open Monday – Sunday.



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