More Than Just Cocktails: Devlin’s

This guest post was written by Mack, an Edmonton-based geek who fancies himself a part-time foodie. You can find him online at his blog, and on Twitter.

Edmonton’s third tweetup, an event for local Twitter users to get together in person, was held on Thursday evening. The tweetups aren’t terribly hard to organize, all I need to do is pick a date, time and location. I asked Sharon to help me choose the venue this time, and she suggested Devlin’s Cocktail Lounge (10507 82 Avenue). I had enjoyed our visit in August, and agreed that it would be a good choice. I was keen to try the new fall menu that Sharon had written about in her Vue Weekly article. I called a couple of weeks in advance to ensure they could accommodate a group of 15 to 30 people, and they assured me that wouldn’t be a problem. A few days before the event, they called me back to confirm, which I thought was a nice touch.

When I arrived at the restaurant just before 6pm, I found it locked. After a moment of panic, I peered through the window and caught the attention of Executive Chef Sebastian Lysz who came to unlock the door for me. Fortunately, that was the only hiccup of the evening! My fellow Twitterers started streaming in, and soon we filled up the entire right side of the restaurant. We had around 25 people come and go by the time the evening was finished, and although not everyone ordered food, Sebastian was kept sufficiently busy in the kitchen.

Mack & Sharon
Mack & Sharon, photo courtesy Bruce Clarke

I was occupied chatting with people, so I was more than happy to let Sharon order for me. The first dish that arrived was the Wild Mushroom & Chicken flatbread ($9). Though it didn’t look incredibly appetizing being almost completely devoid of color, it tasted very good. The chicken (from a local producer in Ardrossan) was moist and the bread itself was nicely warm and chewy. I found the mushrooms flavorful, but not overpowering.

Flat bread

The second dish we ordered was also the one I was most looking forward to: the Surf & Turf ($15). Reminiscent of the sliders in its presentation, the dish was definitely easy on the eyes. Unfortunately the portion size was also similar to the sliders, and I found myself wanting more when the plate was empty. The tri-tip steak from Spring Creek Ranch was absolutely delicious, and I enjoyed the roasted potatoes too (though Sharon didn’t). We both agreed that the prawns were fairly average.

Surf and Turf

Usually we’re too full after dinner to have dessert, but that wasn’t a problem thanks to the small size of the dishes at Devlin’s. We decided to give the Dessert Sampler ($15) a try, as it sounded more interesting than the Creme Brulee. Though I couldn’t have the Peanut Butter Bombe (due to my mild peanut allergy), I was able to try the other items. I liked the warm Fruit Crumble in an over-sized shot glass, but my favorite was easily the Bacardi Rum Pumpkin Pie. I love both rum and pumpkin pie, so it was a match made in heaven for me! The Chai Voyant Nitro Ice Cream (with “nutella” powder) was interesting, but it didn’t evoke the familiar flavor of chai.

Dessert Platter

We received great service all night, and everyone seemed to enjoy the food and ambience. A number of people remarked that they were pleasantly surprised with the lounge, and said they’d probably be back. Devlin’s is not the place to go if you’re starving (or feeling the pinch in your wallet), but if all you’re looking for is something tasty to go along with conversation, I can safely say it’s a great choice for small and large groups alike.

The key thing to know about Twitter is that entries are restricted to 140 characters. With that in mind, here’s my mini-review of Devlin’s:

More than just a cocktail lounge, Devlin’s has unique, tasty food and adds something special to Whyte Avenue. Just don’t arrive too hungry!

Devlin’s Cocktail Lounge
10507 82 Avenue
(780) 437-7489

Small on Food: Devlin’s

Though we already had our mind set on a pre-show meal at Devlin’s Cocktail Lounge (10507 82 Avenue) on Wednesday, it turns out it was a great day to do so, as there was a sign advertising $2 off all tapas.

At Devlin’s

We had first seen Executive Chef Sebastian Lysz in action at the Sip! Wine and Food event at Capital Ex the month prior, and were excited to see if the food at his regular place of work would match the showmanship he had demonstrated on stage.

The interior of Devlin’s, with its cool dark wood everything, black leather chairs, banquet, and booths definitely exuded a lounge feeling. Though the secluded patio was tempting (heated with lamps, a requirement…in the month of August), we opted to sit facing the front windows to watch the world go by.

Interior

The summer menu, featuring only tapas and an extensive drink selection (par for the course) was disappointing for our hungry stomachs – perhaps our dinner choice that night should have taken entrée selection into consideration. At any rate, seeking warm plates, I decided on two flatbreads (aka pizzas, at $9 each), advertised as being “finished in a 700 degree oven” and sliders, irresistible despite their steep regular price tag of $13.

We were alone in the lounge at that point, so service was decidedly attentive, though a tiny trickle of patrons as we waited for our orders ensured the waitresses would have some tables to keep them busy when we left.

Our food arrived in no time, unadorned but visually pleasing on bright white plates. The sliders (or other round, circular edibles) must be a fixture on the menu, otherwise, justifying the purchase of such singular-use dishes would be difficult (though the price of the sliders could go a long way to making a dent in the initial investment…). We were treated to three different dressings to the base of a house-made bun and slow-cooked short rib: blue cheese, goat cheese, and southwestern BBQ. I found the beef tender and moist, elevated by the fresh bread encapsulating it, but Mack and I both agreed that the sliders weren’t worth $4 a piece. The flatbreads were the better deal, and more filling as well. The chorizo/gouda/mozza combination was all right, but the sausage was surprisingly flavourless. I much preferred the fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil version – the fresh cheese and the drizzled olive oil finish made the pizza.

Sliders

Chorizo Flatbread

Margherita Flatbread

Like most places that only offer small plates, it would be wise to eat something prior to heading out, lest sampling make a massive dent in your wallet. I’d return again to Devlin’s, but would heed my own advice first.

Devlin’s Cocktail Lounge
10507 82 Avenue
(780) 437-7489