The first time I was at West50 Pourhouse & Grille (read post here) I was stunned by its massive selection of beer (over 100 different beers and taps) and was rendered speechless after realizing that West50 Pourhouse (Twitter: @West50Pourhouse, Facebook: West50 Pourhouse & Grille) is actually the biggest pourhouse (i.e. has the largest selection of draught beer) in Canada. I was so impressed. I was then rendered speechless again, literally, from the pure act of stuffing my face with a very tasty, very delectable eight-course dinner (with beer pairings of course.) It was good times. Fast forward nine months later a.k.a. two nights ago, I was back at West50 again to try their new menu. Sheesh! Time flies! So cliche, but so true!
First things first - once I sat down, I knew I had to choose a beer. SO MANY OPTIONS! I admit it, I'm a complete wimp when it comes to beer. I like the fruity stuff! So when our server came over and asked me what I wanted, I naturally said Fruli. She then recommended Liefmans on the rocks (Liefmans is a fresh beer blend with natural juices from cherry, bilberry, elderberry strawberry and and raspberry...honestly, can beer get any fruitier?!) She told me she personally prefers Liefmans over Fruli. After hearing that, I was sold. And guess what? I'm so glad I tried it! Liefmans Fruitesse on the rocks is now my new favourite beer :) It's pleasantly sweet and refreshing...like apple cider...but cherry? I'm also in love with that tumbler.
Next up: food.
I asked chef Brendan Prong (@chef_prong) if there was anything that inspired his new menu:
"My inspiration behind this menu was to return to my roots, trying to step away from global con-"fusion" cuisine and back to continental comfort. A lot of the dishes are personal favourites for me and my staff. We worked together to find a happy medium of bar food and upscale comfort. I was very inspired by my ingredients on this menu, I made some major changes in my purveyors and taught myself new techniques, allowing for a more fresh, ingredient-driven menu. The beer bistro concept is hot right now and I want to bring us to the top of that game even if we are far west of the "buzz". With Canada's largest selection of draught beer inside my restaurant I feel I really need to step up my game, and this is just a start."
From West50's new menu:
Chips - Russet potato, sea salt & malt vinegar
Beer Snacks - Maple & brown sugar, spiced garlic
Charcuterie - Chorizo, Portuguese blood sausage, saucisson sec, hunter sausage, quail & pear pate, guanciale.
Lamb Shoulder Gnocchi - Woodlot mushrooms, tomato, fried polenta, lamb jus, buffalo mozzarella
Polenta Fries - parmesan, chipotle ranch & pomodoro
Bier Wurst & Mash - House sausage, double smoked cheddar, mashed yukons, veal gravy, duck fat egg
Meatloaf en Croute - Veal, pork sausage, puff pastry, parmesan peas, mashed yukons, glace viande
Taking nostalgic memories of childhood, chef Prong's new menu at West50 is largely focused on homey and hearty comfort food. Standouts for me that night were the tender, saucy lamb shoulder with pillow-y, fluffy gnocchi, the crispy-on-the-outside-yet-soft-on-the-inside polenta fries (I realize I have a soft spot for anything served in a skillet) and the meatloaf en croute (puff pastry FTW!) I also had a wonderful dessert trio of luscious chocolate potato cake, chocolate lava cake and pecan pie (sorry no picture due to dim lighting.) Also worth mentioning is the charcuterie board; especially the chorizo, blood sausage and the quail & pear pate. All excellent.
It is too bad that I maxed out my stomach space because I've only touched the surface of West50's new menu. I know I need to go back to try their "Elvis Burger": a 50/50 chuck and brisket custom grind patty with peanut butter and smoked bacon on a brioche bun. Peanut butter, guys. PEANUT BUTTER!!! And bacon. BACON!!!