Prior to checking out a show at Western Canada Fashion Week two weeks ago, May and I were intent on grabbing a bite to eat downtown. Though our original plan was to meet at MRKT, it turned out the restaurant was booked for a private function. As a result, we ended up heading down the stairs to Red Star (it’s great to have so many establishments within a stone’s throw of one another).
Given it was a Thursday night, we thought it would be much busier than the three small parties present. Perhaps the post-work crowd was elsewhere that evening for happy hour celebrations?
It’s been over a year since I’ve had a sit-down meal at Red Star, and in that time, star chef Daniel Costa had left to open his own popular venture. Although some of the menu items were similar to the old menu, there were a few less items to choose from, especially in terms of heartier dishes. And though I know Red Star doesn’t necessarily strive to be known for its food (the extensive beer menu is what is most often cited), I did appreciate the options before.
May and I decided to share an order of beef carpaccio, and each ordered Pembina pork pasta as a main (two items that remained from Chef Costa’s original menu). Our dishes took a little longer than we would have liked, but I’m sure the kitchen was putting up plates as fast as possible – one of the other tables had ordered food as well.
The carpaccio was not a subtle dish, as there was a little too much lemon and parmesan, overwhelming the beef. On the other hand, I loved the balance of the fresh arugula and the slightly tart and crunchy green apple.
The pasta was just the right serving size, with a generous amount of pork enrobed in the sweet tomato sauce. Instead of the expected sausage or ground meat in a dish like this, the pork had been pulled; a nice surprise. My only critique was for the meat to have had a fuller texture closer to distinct shreds as opposed to an almost mashed consistency.
Pembina pork pasta
Although Red Star is still a good, low-key option for a casual meal with more creativity than your average pub, I wonder if it has lost some of its lustre since Chef Costa’s departure. This visit wouldn’t deter me from returning again, but I’d likely try some of the other dishes next time.
Red Star Pub
10534 Jasper Avenue