This was my first visit to Spur Gastropub. According to their website, they claim to be Calgary’s “first true gastropub“. What is a gastropub you ask? Spur provides the answer to this question on their website – “The gastropub is a culinary revolution where the typical pub grub is elevated to refined dining heights. ”
When I first arrived with my friend, I was actually surprised to see how empty the place was for a Friday night. There were about half a dozen or so tables occupied. I was even more surprised their sister restaurant next door, Italian Kitchen, was empty. That struck me as a little bit odd, given its location in the heart of downtown and it was only about 8pm on a Friday night. This should have been our first clue, but I didn’t think much of it at the time. The decor on the Spur side was spacious, contemporary, and exactly what I would expect of a gastropub.
My friend ordered a caesar and I, a glass of wine. On menu, we saw the daily special for Fridays was $3 pound of wings. We decided to get an order of bbq and an order of hot. I was expecting, given the inexpensive price, maybe about 10-12 pieces per order at most. We also ordered some sloppy Joe tacos.
When the orders of wings arrived, I was shocked at how large the portion size was but also, equally shocked at how scrawny and bony these chicken wings were. This is the first time I’d ever seen wings that small. I didn’t even think it’s possible to buy chicken wings that small at the grocery store. The first thought the crossed my mind was that the huge portion size can’t compensate for these sad-looking wings. I realize that it was their daily special and it was only $3 an order, but I’d much rather have half a dozen plump, juicy well-prepared wings rather than a whole plateful of dry, overcooked, scrawny wings. I think they must have forgotten that quantity doesn’t equate to quality. And I certainly wouldn’t classify the wings as “pub grub [that] is elevated to refined dining heights” as there was nothing “refined” about them. I can safely say they are the worst wings I’ve ever eaten at a pub (and I’ve frequented many local pubs for wing nights) or otherwise. My friend even commented that they tasted worse than food-court food or even the frozen ones from the grocery store that you reheat in the oven.
The plate of sloppy Joe tacos were meh. There were alright but definitely nothing “refined” about them either. They supposedly came with cumin creme fraiche although I couldn’t taste the cumin in it. I certainly didn’t think they were worth $12.50.
My friend really enjoyed her caesar. The caesar was nicely spiced and served with a pickled pepper and a spear of marinated asparagus. My wine was ok. I had a glass of the Liberty School Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon.
From this experience, we are left to conclude that bartender at Spur can make good caesars but we won’t be returning any time soon for their food. And I don’t think they were successful at regular pub grub let alone “pub grub [that] is elevated to refined dining heights“.
351 4th Avenue SW