Strikingly Pedestrian: Hundred Bar Kitchen

When I saw the brown paper signs depicting the newest Century Hospitality hotspot, I knew I hadn’t been so excited for a restaurant opening since L’Azia’s Wildflower Grill earlier this year.

Hundred Bar Kitchen exterior

Hundred Bar Kitchen (10009 101A Street), situated in the McLeod Building, has taken over the space of two  failed sports bar ventures. I am certain the name recognition of Century Hospitality alone will guarantee Hundred’s success, and based on a recent visit to the near-capacity restaurant, it is well on its way to becoming a popular downtown hangout for the 24-35 crowd.

Mack and I had reservations for Thursday night, and upon being greeted by a friendly hostess, we were promptly seated at the rear of the restaurant. The interior had been gutted, and has nearly no resemblance to the last tenant, save perhaps the location of the bar. Instead of a masculine space accented with dark leather and furnishings, Hundred is plush – carpet, curtains, rounded leather banquets, and stunningly gorgeous crystal chandeliers. Great for large groups, we passed more than our fair share of the after-work crowd and those that wanted to see and be seen.

I had previewed the menu online, so was already familiar with the contents and the design – a single page, divided into easy-to-read sections (though the writers need to review their use of quotation marks – when is ‘fromage’ not fromage?). The focus is on share plates, continuing with their group-friendly mentality, though there are a few sizable entrees, including the $100 surf and turf for those looking for more substantial eats.

We ended up ordering basic items, rationalizing that the restaurant had to walk before it could run. Mack wanted to give their Calamari ($11) a spin, while I was interested in their Kobe Meatball Sliders ($14). The Turf Flatbread ($16) appealed to both of us, a pizza topped with sausage and pancetta among other things, though in hindsight was rather pricey.

Hundred also has an extensive liquor “market” to tempt us, though I wasn’t in the imbibing mood that night. The $6 beer flight and $8 wine flight seemed to be the best deal, offered every Thursday night.

Our dishes arrived in timely fashion, attractively presented but not overbearingly so. The calamari actually turned out to contain a smaller portion than we expected, fluffed up in a high-backed bowl. I liked the sweet dipping sauce, but Mack’s final verdict was that it was a version comparable to the one produced at Earls. The slider meatballs themselves were good – slightly tangy from a tomato bath and nicely seasoned on the inside. The kaiser rolls, however, lowered the overall quality of the mini-burger – having realized the difference fresh bread makes after amazing sandwiches at the Italian Bakery and elevated sliders at Devlin’s, the slightly stale-tasting rolls just didn’t cut it. Lastly, Mack and I were divided on the flatbread: I awarded the kitchen points for achieving a sturdy crust, but I wasn’t sold on the flavour combination of sweet sundried tomato pesto, salty pancetta, smoky roasted red peppers and savoury sausage. Mack, on the other hand, loved it – so to each their own.

Calamari

Kobe Meatball Sliders

Turf Flatbread

The most memorable moment of the night had nothing to do with the food or anything tangible, but occurred when Mack was taking non-flash shots of the restaurant interior. The manager immediately came up to him and questioned his actions. Mack explained that he wasn’t from a conventional media source, and mentioned my food blog. The manager didn’t seem to be familiar with the world of social media, and while this may be excusable for “mom and pop” operations, for an establishment “courting the yuppie vote” so to speak, at least a scant awareness of life on the internet is called for.

Once the hype of the eatery has died down, I’m not sure Hundred has the kitchen chops to maintain my business. But judging from the success of Century Hospitality’s other holdings, I don’t think my absence will make much of a difference. 

Hundred Bar Kitchen
10009 101 A Street
(780) 425-0100
Lunch: Monday – Friday: 11am – 5pm
Dinner: Sunday – Wednesday 5pm – 12am, Thursday – Saturday 5pm – 2am

17 thoughts on “Strikingly Pedestrian: Hundred Bar Kitchen

  1. Meh, Century Hospitality is mediocre at best. I don’t know how all the hype started anyway.

    And maybe “fromage” is processed cheese?

  2. The manager questioned Mack’s picture-taking? That’s a bit odd, I’d say.

    “Why are you taking pictures of my restaurant?”

    “Um…because I want to?”

  3. I agree with the bun being an integral part of the package, and those sliders seem so plain on that bun. The flat bread itself looks good, but the toppings seem very rustic (strewn around haphazardly) which doesn’t do it for me from a place like this. The dipping sauce sounds good and I’ve never seen such large chunks of cucumber or are the squids pieces small?

    Definitely curious to see how Hundred does.

  4. 2 things: (with actual content this time) 1- Once upon a time I worked in the location where Hundred is now. We had an OK concept, great staff and dysfunctional ownership that split violently about a month into operation. The location had great clientele and nothing but potential. But potential alone needs support and some investment to build on it. We (the staff) tried our best to hold the place together with rubber bands and paper clips but then the paper clips soon stopped being purchased. The place had no chance when the owners wouldn’t agree long enough to keep the place going (little things like ordering enough food to avoid running out, ensuring liquor orders arrive and paying staff go far).
    I’m glad to see a more stable ownership making something happen in that location. It’s got nothing but potential.
    Biz lunches and after-work crowds(especially Fridays) were gold.
    Seeing the room go from an empty, dusty heritage building to a business leaves me sentimental when I see the place.
    Best of luck to Century Group.
    A little hint: make the surrounding hotels and restaurants’ staff members happy. They provide some great late-night business when the office drones are tucked away at home.

  5. Oh yeah – Number 2 (I really should not type while trying to listen to a 3-year old)

    Talk to the managers first before shooting photos.
    I’ve been in that person’s shoes. Some people take pictures who really shouldn’t be taking pictures. I imagine most mgrs would be more than happy to oblige. They may even answer questions for you and make you feel welcome (if they are savvy enough to see a very affordable marketing opportunity – free marketing is very affordable).

  6. Raidar – the chunks of squid were fairly small.

    Dave – I’m sorry to hear about poor management ruining the sports bar. The location of Hundred is a great one – its proximity to the Winspear and Citadel aren’t bad either.

    As for talking to the managers before shooting photos, I don’t mean to give the impression that I think bloggers and journalists have the right to do whatever they want, but photographing a meal is a way of capturing my personal experience, and in some ways has nothing to do with the restaurant. For example, when people celebrate their birthdays, they may take a photo of the birthday cake to remember the occasion. For me, taking a photo of my food or the surroundings is my way of commemorating the experience. Asking for permission to lead to a marketing opportunity for the restaurant is a nice idea, but is too complicated and is really not what I set out to do with this blog.

  7. Great review, you did a good job.

    But, you fell for the hype. That’s all.

    As long as there are people that have the insecurity of having to be “seen” these places will flourish, and kudos to the owners for picking up on that. They are laughing all the way to the bank at the expense of the insecure folk.

    But that place is a bright spot in that area and I am glad they built it.

    Cheers!
    Jason

  8. I’m surprised, after a very thorough examination of Hundred Bar|Kitchen, there is little comment on the service? Earls, Joeys, Lazia, LUX, Ruth’s Chris, OPM, etc. are all atmosphere orientated restaurants and are solely successful on the dependence of their service and presentation. In particular, Earl and Joeys have terrible food and substantially poor service, but the atmosphere (pretty female servers/bartenders, young crowd, sexy decor) is what drivers their business and is the reason why they still are open today.

    Whether you may call it insecure or otherwise, it’s a valid demographic appeal for any business model and to have a menu that fits that demographic is, more or less, common sense.

    Comparatively speaking, I suggest you try downtown Edmonton’s newest venues: Kai or Prohibition. Quite possibly your opinions on Hundred might change.

  9. I went to 100 for a birthday and have since been suckered into returning, just because other people have fallen for the hype of the place as well. I agree with you about the food. I ended up becoming ill all 3 times I have been there. Me and my friends all agree that the food (especially the pastas) seem only slightly better than a frozen dinner from the superstore brand of frozen food. This place is really just about an “experience”, no about the food. If you want an amazing dining experience and food try the Hardware Grill.

  10. The thing about hundred bar and grill, is that they make almost everything from scratch. One of the most popular items is the perogies, and hand made adult cheesey bacon tater tots, which are great when atop a steak. The place gets packed with people regularly,with reservations of 100+ every weekend, and its not just because of the atmosphere. IMO it was agreat place to eat. Besides the very pretty waitresses.

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