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.
Kobe Meatball Sliders
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
Lunch: Monday – Friday: 11am – 5pm
Dinner: Sunday – Wednesday 5pm – 12am, Thursday – Saturday 5pm – 2am