Edmonton may be descending towards winter, but the temperature outdoors was far from everyone’s minds at the Blue Chair Cafe on Friday. For two nights, the restaurant was transformed into a juke joint, with blues artist Kat Danser at the helm (or as Kat put it, a “Saskatchewan bush party with a roof”). Mack, Jill and I had made reservations several weeks back; the Blue Chair had not only sold out both nights, but had enough people on the waiting list for a third show (Kat’s actually up for the New Artist of the Year with Canada’s Maple Blues Awards – you can be a part of the online vote here).
The show was great – we had seen Kat at the Arden Theatre last year, but the intimacy of this venue better conveyed the spirit of and the imagery in her lyrics for me. Of course, it helped that we had front row seats!
A juke joint stage
The Blue Chair is also a noteworthy venue in itself – it’s nice when one doesn’t have to compromise good food and table service for live music, or vice versa. I had ordered off the regular menu last time, so with Jill’s encouragement, Mack and I both decided to try the specials on this occasion. It wasn’t a difficult decision, given the chef had put together some Mississippi-inspired dishes just for Kat’s two night engagement.
Mack’s spicy BBQ pork back ribs ($26) were fall-off-the-bone, with the chipotle BBQ sauce providing a nice balance between sweetness and heat. Though the kitchen had been generous with the meat portion, Mack was left wishing for more of the roasted sweet potatoes underneath.
Spicy BBQ pork back ribs (thanks to Jill’s flashlight app we actually have bright photos!)
Jill and I had both opted to have the Cajun blackened snapper ($26). We were surprised, however, when the snapper arrived without its promised blackened preparation. Although it tasted fine, we wanted to know what had happened, so asked our waitress if the kitchen had to deviate from the menu. The explanation? “The pan wasn’t hot enough.” Why did the kitchen still send it out? Thankfully, the jambalaya underneath, replete with shrimp, tasty sausage and perfectly cooked rice, somewhat made up for the poorly executed fish.
Cajun blackened snapper with jambalaya
Dessert was also better. Mack enjoyed his carrot cake ($9), though he could have done without the seeds inside. Jill and I split the chocolate pate ($10) – this, unlike the snapper, lived up to its menu description: “If Barry White’s voice was a dessert…”. Incredibly smooth, this decadent dish is easily one of the best sweet endings I’ve had to a meal in a while. The touch of pomegranate was the perfect finishing touch, helping to cut through some of the richness by adding a fruity burst to each bite.
Mack and I had a great time at the Blue Chair – there’s no better way to kick off a weekend than good food, music and friends! If you’re interested – check out the Blue Chair’s live music and event calendar here.
Blue Chair Cafe
9624 – 76 Avenue
(780) 989 – 2861
Wednesday – Saturday 10am – 10pm, Sunday 10am – 8pm