Prior to attending the Edmonton Rush game on Friday, Mack and I met up with Thom and Lana at Red Star. A casual pub seemed to be a good spot to grab a drink and a bite to eat before taking in the lacrosse action, especially when we could just hop on the convenient LRT at Bay or Corona Stations to whisk us away to Rexall Place.
I was eager to try Red Star at some point, seeing as Chef Daniel Costa’s current standing as one of the city’s up-and-coming young kitchen stars, with recent profiles in the Journal and Parlour. I could see how his focus on elevating simple cuisine and fresh flavours could attract a loyal following.
Mack and I had expected the downtown after-work crowd to fill Red Star to the seams, but seeing as it felt like the first true spring day, most were probably filling the outdoor patio seats instead. The building that houses Red Star is also currently under renovations, the unfortunate consequence of this being that the businesses underneath are obscured by unsightly orange tarps, further screening natural light into the already dim space.
Thankfully, the exterior aesthetics didn’t seem to affect the service, or the light atmosphere inside the bar. We were greeted immediately by the server, who directed us to sit anywhere we wanted. We were promptly given food and drink menus (I loved the tag cloud-like design on the back of both of them). Red Star proudly advertises their large beer menu, featuring sixty different brews. In contrast, the food selection is limited to a dozen or so dishes, but given the advisory printed at the bottom (“This is a one man kitchen. Food is served when ready. Please be patient. Enjoy.”), that is entirely understandable. With its emphasis on local suppliers and slant towards comfort food share plates, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Sebastian Lysz’s last menu at Devlin’s. Mack and I had some difficulty deciding between the mini burgers/not sliders and the braised meatballs ($16), but ended up with the latter, as well as an order of gnudi ($16).
We were primed to be patient for the food, but it seemed no one else in the pub was interested in anything other than drinks, so our plates arrived sooner than expected. The gnudi (dumplings made of ricotta cheese) were pillow-soft, and tossed with tomatoes and zucchini, made for a comforting, but not too heavy dish.
The tender, tasty meatballs, made with a blend of Pembina pork and Spring Creek Ranch beef, were the star. The greens really were the perfect accompaniment, adding a freshness that rounded out the dish nicely.
With an interesting menu starring fresh, local ingredients, how could I not be back? See you again, Red Star.
Red Star Pub
10534 Jasper Avenue