I had a bit of a harrowing end to my Friday last week, and as a result, made the game-time decision of foregoing a home cooked meal in favour of eating out. As we had tickets to a show at the Varscona, and would be taking public transit, dining at the neighbouring Packrat Louie just made sense.
I haven’t been to the restaurant in a while, but in the past, have found them to be quite consistent, in both service and food. When we arrived, we asked if they could accommodate an hour-long meal – I’m sure it wasn’t an unusual request (located in the theatre district an all), and we were ushered inside the cool, air conditioned dining room.
I’ve said before how much I love their brick walls and posh setting with elegant furniture and white tablecloths. I still have to wonder about their decision to top every table with butcher paper though – not only is it wasteful (our table lining was drenched with condensation rings almost immediately), I think they detract from the room’s natural elegance.
Our server had already been informed about our post-meal plans, and was certainly efficient in ensuring our orders were seen through to the kitchen, but I have to wonder if the time pressure didn’t translate into his abrupt, almost dismissive actions with us. But I guess you probably can’t have it both ways – either a extended stay, or a curt server.
As I’ve fallen into favour with ordering several small plates instead of individual entrees, we ended up sharing three dishes between the two of us. It’s worth noting that the food, besides being delivered impressively fast, was absolutely piping hot.
The lamb crepe was sensational. Braised and tender, the meat just melted into the soft crepe. The added texture of the smoked Portobello mushrooms, and the savoury sauce drizzled overtop enhanced the dish even further.
The duck Wellington was significantly less successful. Where the lamb had been perfectly cooked and flavourful, the duck had been stripped of moisture to the point of being gristly. Where the meat should have been the star of the show, we found ourselves thankful that at least the puff pastry was edible.
Brome Lake duck Wellington
The spicy Hawaiian pizza was mostly good – Mack would have preferred a little more bacon (when doesn’t he?), but as a whole, liked the balance between the smokiness from the bacon and the heat from the banana peppers. We both agreed, however, that they shouldn’t have used canned pineapple – apart from the wood-fired crust, what else would distinguish their product from that of a pizza delivery service?
Spicy Hawaiian pizza
In the end, we were impressed by their ability to prepare and serve our meals within our requested time frame. As pre-theatre dining goes, Packrat Louie will continue to be one of the most convenient and solid choices for patrons.
10335 83 Avenue
Lunch: Monday-Saturday 11:30am-3pm; Dinner: Monday-Thursday 3-10pm, Friday-Saturday 3-11pm