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The Keg:

Steakhouses are one of my favourite restaurants to visit.  I love meat of all kinds, I consider myself to be a meat-a-tarian, and steak is my number one love.  Rib steak to be exact, but I do enjoy a good sirloin or filet once in a while.  On a cold and wet April evening after getting my hair done by the fabulous Sarah at Au Premier on Monkland, ok she's my best friend and needed a model that evening, we couldn't decide what to feed our starving stomachs.  With my hair all done up we decided we couldn't waste the evening and had to go out somewhere, but deciding where was a bit difficult.  My darling friend is not a fan of trying anything new, unless it's a steakhouse, so when she kept saying no to all my suggestions, I had no choice but to suggest The Keg.  She had never been and always told me how badly she wanted to try it.  I myself am not the biggest Keg fan or any chain restaurants for that matter, however I have spent many fun drunken and food filled nights out on their terrace or sitting at the bar - it's a fun energetic environment.  


Arriving at our table, our waitress took our drink orders and left us with our menus.  I quickly noticed that it was "Dungeness Crab Festival," one of my favourite times to visit the Keg - I am a huge crab lover.  I decided on ordering the Crab and Shrimp sirloin served with a blue cheese and Boursin sauce, veggies and a twice baked baked-potato.  My friend chose to keep things simple and had their classic sirloin dinner served with a Caesar salad, veggies and fries.   We also ordered their calamari to start as it is a huge favourite for both of us and we make it a point to always order it wherever we can.   

We waited for the waitress to take our orders and bring our drinks, she took our orders but completely forgot about our drinks.  When she asked us if we wanted anything to drink , we reminded her of our drink orders and she quickly apologized.  A few minutes later she returned with our drinks in hand and a basket of fresh baked sour dough bread.  We sat drinking our yummy drinks; Gin and tonic with lime for me and a diet coke for my friend - I know BORING!  





Our calamari was served fairly quickly and I must say I was completely thrown aback.  I never thought I would enjoy the calamari as much as I did.  The batter was a touch heavier than I would have like, but the flavour, crispiness and lack of greasy oil really made this dish delightful.  The added touch of fried pickled jalapeno and red peppers reminded me of Spanish style calamari that I had in South Beach - delicious.  I have to say that I never expected the calamari to be as good as it was.  Normally at chain restaurants I find the calamari to be a waste of money, rubbery, chewy, frozen and flavorless, this time I was pleasantly surprised and so was my dining partner. 

  


On many of my previous visits to the Keg, I have  had to send my steak back a few too many times, to my surprise this time it was cooked and served perfectly.  My sirloin was cooked to a proper rare served with pan seared shrimps and large clusters of Dungeness crab.  I was smart and asked for the sauce to be served on the side rather then slopped all over my meal - best decision ever.  My friend's steak arrived perfectly cooked as well and we both dug right in.  The steaks were very well spiced and absolutely delicious, we really enjoyed them.  The crab was light and delicious, I just wish they picked through it more cautiously, I got more than a few pieces still attached to cartilage - yuck!  The blue cheese and Boursin sauce was good, but the blue cheese hardly made an appearance.  The Boursin took control of the sauce and faded out any blue cheese that may have been present, a bit disappointing.   
The fries were enjoyed by both of us, but the twice baked potato kind of stole the show.  Although it was not the best twice baked potato I have ever had, it was decent and well flavoured.  





We ended our meal there as it was late and we were both too full and too tired to order dessert.  We both left satisfied and I honestly couldn't believe that I enjoyed my meal as much as I did.  It's tough to recommend The Keg to friends as I find it to be a hit or miss kind of place, but after this lovely dinner, I may have to recommend it as a more reasonable steakhouse option.

[UPDATE]



About a week ago my friend and I returned to The Keg and ordered almost the same meal, calamari included, except I had the classic sirloin instead of the sirloin with Dungeness crab and boursin sauce.  The calamari arrived at our table and I just sat starring.  What happened to the beautiful crispy battered pieces of calamari that we had last visit?  This time the calamari was well - awful.  I knew I had spoken to soon when I wrote the above post, I had a feeling I would be eating my words. The rings of calamari barely had any batter and was half the size of the last plate we had.  The calamari was rubbery, tasteless and very hard to eat.  The delicious fried jalapeno peppers were almost non existent and instead of nice pieces of fried red pepper, we were treated to large slabs of greasy pepper instead - yuck!

When our steaks arrived I immediately noticed my steak was on the medium side rather than rare as I had ordered it.  My friend said that hers was cooked less than mine and we quickly switched.  As I cut into her steak I informed her that hers was in fact cooked to a perfect medium the way she likes it.  We switched back again and I glanced around for our waiter - he was nowhere to be seen.  I ate the rarer parts of the steak and filled up on the twice baked potato - yum!  




On another note, we had room for dessert this time and ordered the Billy Miner Pie - OMG.  I have to say I really enjoyed this dessert and didn't find it too heavy after our meals.  A must try!






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