Since barbecuing on a cold, dark night without a smidgen of propane left in
the tank is pretty much impossible, my husband and I headed out to Chop
Restaurant and Bar on the ever-busy Stony Plain Road.
They don’t take reservations after 5:45 on Friday and Saturday
nights, but how busy could it be at 8:30 pm on a Saturday? Massively busy,
evidently—the rodeo was in town. After finally finding a parking spot
to wedge our modest car into amongst all the massive SUVs and shiny 4x4s,
we discovered that the crowding factor inside Chop was even worse. People
covered every square inch of available space and, facing a wait of over an
hour to get a table, we decided our bodies didn’t really need steak
Another night, no rodeo, and we found ourselves at Chop again, on a Sunday
We were met with subdued lighting, understated sophistication and that was
about it. There were no hostesses, no hordes of hungry people and no
visible customers. After poking our heads around a wall or two to announce
our presence, a hostess had us seated in the almost empty room within
Muted tones surrounded us on all sides—earthy greens, browns and
creams. Unadorned walls, luxurious seats and rich wood tables made a simple
but elegant statement. They define themselves as “fine casual,”
and although I’m not exactly sure what that means, it seemed to fit.
In no time we were greeted by our waiter, who, after greeting us, launched
into “the spiel.” It began with his name and then just kept
going, touching on everything and anything Chop. Evidently everything at
Chop is made in-house, their steaks are all cut on the premises and then
broiled at 1800° to seal in the juices, and they recommend you eat
Our waiter then quietly disappeared and left us to peruse the menu. Chop is
very much a steakhouse, but a steakhouse with a few refined twists. Instead
of fries, you get “fresh house-cut pommes frites with Grana Padano
Parmesan shards, sea salt, pepper and three dips.” You get the idea.
Since my husband really needed his steak, we launched right into the
entrées. He ordered the 14 oz New York Striploin ($34), so I went
against house recommendations by ordering the Macadamia Crusted Mahi-Mahi
When my husband ordered his steak medium, a discussion ensued as to exactly
what was meant by “medium”—evidence that Chop takes their
Since we were having quite the fancy dinner (for us anyways), red wine was
a must. They have an amazing wine list, including a huge selection of wines
by the glass, though we finally decided on a half-litre of Clay Station
In the midst of sipping our lovely, full-bodied wine, a basket with three
warm buns found its way to our table. We sampled a bit of the sourdough and
ancient grain and, while okay, they were not overly memorable.
Then our entrées arrived; again, simple yet sophisticated. A square
white plate held the generous cut of steak, a hefty and creamy mound of
wasabi-infused mashed potatoes and a few token but colourful veggies. My
mahi-mahi was gently nestled on top of a mound of those same mashed
potatoes. Scattered around the fish was a ring of barely wilted,
garlic-butter-sautéed spinach, dotted with red pepper slivers.
The steak, although tender and juicy, was cooked unevenly simply because it
was cut unevenly—curious considering they pride themselves on cutting
their own steaks. But the mashed potatoes were divine; creamy and chunky
all at the same time. And the wasabi added quite the intriguing twist.
My mahi-mahi looked spectacular, but the sautéed spinach mixture
tasted like salt, albeit salt with a hint of garlic. It was carted away,
and in time came back adorned with a new spinach mixture, but by this time
the fish was dry and my husband’s plate was looking decidedly empty.
The mashed potatoes were still divine, however, and the spinach was
more than edible.
My stomach still needed something, so we ordered dessert—their
signature Twenty-Four Layer Chocolate Cake ($14). The towering wedge of
rich, decadent, chocolate quickly erased any lingering mahi-mahi memories.
And the side dish of smooth and velvety vanilla ice cream might possibly
have been even better.
“Fine casual” or not, dining at Chop is an event. The prices
are definitely not casual, but some of the food is fine. If you go, eat
steak. And the wasabi-infused mashed potatoes. And the cake. Just not when
there’s a rodeo in town. V
Mon (11 am – 11 pm); Tue – Thu (11 am – 12 am); Fri (11 am – 1 am); Sat (4
pm – 1 am); Sun (4 pm – 11 pm)
17635 Stony Plain Road, 780.487.2467