© Amy Rosen
Top Chef Canada's Chef Connie DeSousa putting the finishing touches on a Stampede steak special.
F&W’s Toronto correspondent Amy Rosen reports on Canada’s Top Chef restaurant of the moment:
Last week, still riding the buzz of the recent Top Chef Canada finale, I visited Charcut Roast House in Calgary, Alberta. Top Chef Canada finalist Connie DeSousa (the only female finalist, and by far the best butcher) is co-executive chef and co-owner of the incredibly popular year-old restaurant. The rustic menu includes house-made sausages, cured meats and charbroiled, wood-smoked and rotisserie proteins like a two-pound, bone-in, 40-ounce rib steak special with all the fixin's. Start with the house-baked soft pretzels, which are as warm and buttery as they are salty. Some new items bear the Top Chef logo, indicating recipes that Connie prepared on the show, including my personal favorite, the tuna conserva—tuna and lemon-pickled new potatoes bottled with oil in a small glass jar. The whisper of lemon with the fresh fish and soft potato, along with the accompanying warm brioche toasts, is amazing. The ironic part is that Connie got nailed for this dish on the show. “It tastes like tuna fish,” commented the judges. “No,” she replied in exasperation to the waiter delivering the bad news to the Top Chef kitchen. “It’s beautiful albacore tuna poached in olive oil!”