Lyon

For pictures of food that I’m eating or sneak peeks into reviews I will be doing in the future, check out my instagram and don’t forget to follow for all future updates!

People: 2

Type: A La Carte

Price: $146.06 CAD

VerdictExperience

                  Having nothing to do late on a friday night (10 PM) and looking for a place to eat, I finally found time to go to a new restaurant that had opened up where Packrat Louie used to reside. Owned and operated by the same people, Lyon represents a revival of the excitement that Packrat brought to the city in years past. Located in Old Strathcona just across the street from the fantastic MEAT and The Next Act Pub, Lyon manages to pull you in with a modestly priced menu and an extensive wine list.

Ratatouille Roulade; Eggplant, Zucchini, Tomato, Peppers, Red Quinoa, Parmesan, Balsamic, Heirloom Tomato Reduction

                  Even late at night the restaurant was packed but walking in with no reservations, we were still able to be seated immediately. That being said, it did take a couple of minutes for us to be acknowledged but admittedly, we are both a quiet bunch so it was probably difficult to notice us walking in. Each table has table cloths but inexplicably, also has brown paper covers on top. It throws the feel of the place off completely and makes me question why have both and not one or the other instead. There’s an open kitchen and a wood fired oven in plain view which provides diners with continuously wafting smells and sights. The brick-laden walls emit a rustic feel but the dim lighting and the loud music is very akin to the vibe of a pub. If you like quiet cozy places this is not the restaurant for you but, there’s enough positives present that you should go anyway.

Service

Baked Brie Crostini with Cranberry Chutney

                  Reviews from other sources have mentioned this as a point of improvement and I’m happy to see that they have worked hard on this front — and it shows. Our server was Tanya who was extremely knowledgeable about wines. As I normally do, I asked for suggestions and specifically for something I can order by the glass but still have the option to buy a bottle to take home. She asked some questions on my preferences (I’ve been attempting to learn wine over the last month or so I’m still extremely new at it) and eventually brought me something that I really liked. She was attentive to us throughout, even to the point of asking us about bread multiple times. The bread was baked in-house and she also kept us updated on its status while it was baking, which was a nice touch. The only knock against the restaurant would be that there was a napkin under our table from (assumedly) the people before us. Looking around, we found another napkin underneath the table behind us as well. If there’s one thing they still need to work on, it would be the attention to detail when turning over a table for the next guest.

Appetizer

Pigtail ($13.00)

Smoked Chipotle Aioli, Greens, Beans, Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette

                  As the first course came out, I must admit that I was blindsided by the overall look of the dish. It was whimsical in nature and extremely appetizing, the “pop-up” nature of it just inviting you to break it down like a house of cards. The actual pigtail is minced and then fried in breadcrumbs which creates a crumbly end-product. The greens added some diversity and a change to the texture of the dish while the friend rings were crunchy and complimented the crumble well, to create something you WANT to keep chewing. Normally I prefer my meat to be anything BUT minced, however in this case it was pulled off expertly. This appetizer showcased simple ingredients presented beautifully and were a definite home-run.

Main

Baked Potato Ravioli ($18.00) with Side Risotto ($8.00)

Roasted Garlic Mash, Chive Crème Fraîche, Bacon Lardons, Green Onion, Tomato, Parmesan Arugula

                  It’s interesting when a side accompanying a dish, outshines the dish in question. This was the case with the Risotto (seasonal flavour of Ham and Leak); creamy, cheesey, rich with a sharpness afforded to it by the cheese, this was possibly the best Risotto I’ve had in Edmonton. The salt from the ham does wonders to balance the dish and adds some fat to mellow the risotto as a whole. The contrast of the bright ham to the pale risotto is visually striking and whets the appetite.

                  The ravioli was colorful and looked appetizing, but unfortuantely was a little disappointing. The pasta was slightly overcooked (I assume for effect) and stuffed with mashed potatoes. The whole dish was an homage to a perogie and while it was creative, I don’t think it hit the mark. For what it’s worth, the filling was really creamy but I found myself wishing for more cheese on the plate. Ultimately, the side was a better overall dish but at $18.00, you really can’t go wrong with the ravioli.

Ham and Leak Risotto

Dessert

Chocolate Eclairs ($12.00)

Chocolate and Vanilla Pastry Cream, Valrhona Chocolate Glaze

                  I don’t generally have a sweet tooth but I find desserts always have the best presentation out of all the courses. While it looks appealing and almost like a classic, Lyon instead uses 2 biscottis in place of the pastry to give their elcairs a new and unexpected snap. Hard to break with your fork but, easy to chew, the richness of the creams and glaze is enhanced by the firmness of the biscottis. This is a fantastic reimagination of a french classic and lends itself well to the rest of Lyon’s impressive menu.

Final Thoughts

                  Lyon is a remarkable addition providing exceptionally plated and modestly priced french-inspired cuisine which showcases their uniqueness and creativity. The extensive wine list is conveniently grouped by characteristics for the wine newbies (like me) and makes wine selection less daunting than it needs to be. If they can improve their standards for front of house, the kitchen (and their reasonable prices) will carry Lyon to be a mainstay in the Edmonton scene that Packrat Louie used to be.

Escargot Spätzle

For pictures of food that I’m eating or sneak peeks into reviews I will be doing in the future, check out my instagram and don’t forget to follow for all future updates!

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