Three Boars hasn’t been open for very long, but they’ve already gained quite a loyal following. With a restaurant the size equivalent of a postage stamp, this usually means a lengthy delay for hungry patrons. But after two visits, it’s clear the food is worth the wait and many repeat meals.
Three Boars took over what was formerly a small pizza parlour, transforming the tiny main floor into a bar with a stand-up counter, and the equally cozy second floor into seating for thirty (no question, this trend of elbow-to-elbow dining seems to picking up in Edmonton, but at Three Boars, it does complement their philosophy of sharing). We were told the spaces had been designed by the same people behind Tres Carnales, which seemed to hold true – the wood finishing promoted the same kind of comfortable, laid-back vibe. I liked the Edison bulbs as well, though on the two occasions we dined, they weren’t necessary, given the amount of natural light in the room.
The menu at Three Boars changes almost daily – on our first visit, just over two weeks after their opening day, they were already on menu #8. One week later, it was menu #12. Between the two, there were a few items with similar in nature but featuring different proteins, such as meat-topped poutine and banh mi. The constant change reflects the commitment of Three Boars to seasonal ingredients, but also speaks to the flexibility and creativity of the chefs. It’s an approach I like, as there are a few restaurants whose menus I’d be eager to see change more often – as much as I enjoy having a “go-to” dish, it’s exciting to encounter different plates, and thus encourages visits in short succession.
Loved the chalkboard wall
I have also mentioned before that small plates are our favourite way of eating, and in groups, it meant that Mack and I were able to try numerous different dishes on two separate occasions. Here are some of the standouts:
The poutines ($12) were an easy favourite. One, topped with beef brisket and a luscious gravy, didn’t last long at our table. The second, with lamb neck, was similarly in shards, each bite a triumph with accompanying squeaky cheese.
Beef brisket poutine
Lamb neck poutine
Similarly, their take on banh mi ($10), which we tried with chicken fried steak and beef cheek, were excellent. Crusty bread, tender meat, and just the right amount of pickled vegetables, it was another dish that was hard to share.
Chicken fried steak banh mi
Beef cheek banh mi
The mushrooms and egg yolk on toast ($12) was perfection – a runny yolk over crispy toast and earthy wild mushrooms. My recommendation is to order at least two per table, but I’d probably snag one for myself next time.
Mushrooms and egg yolk on toast
The pork neck terrine ($14) was a surprise. I am not usually a fan (especially when the texture veers into pate consistency), but here, there were visible flakes of meat that maintained themselves even after spread on oil rubbed crostini.
One night, the dessert was lemon curd, blueberry compote and granola served in too-cute mason jars. It was so simple, but was one of the best desserts I’ve had in recent memory. Each separate layer was great on its own, but it was even better together.
Lemon curd, blueberry compote, granola
There were a few dishes that I didn’t enjoy as much, but only relative to the raves. The Spring Creek Ranch flat iron steak ($16) was cooked a little too raw for my liking, but the rest of the table disagreed with me. The patatas bravas ($8) with sriracha mayo was well-cooked, but I couldn’t help but compare it to Ox & Angela’s version, which I liked better.
Flat iron steak
Service was familiar and low-key, and for me, as a water-guzzler, my glass was always promptly topped up. Dishes also arrived at a comfortable pace.
We elected to walk home after our second visit, just to give us a chance to walk off all of what we’d consumed. Timed at half an hour, I’d wager we’ll be crossing the river again soon for Three Boars.
8424 109 Street