Check our instagram and you’ll see that I’ve always been a mega-fan of local Calgary establishment Charcut. Since watching chef Connie DeSousa’s near-win on Top Chef Canada, it’s been amazing to see the leader of this restaurant take it to the next level with a sister restaurant in the developing downtown east side. Taking up residence in the landmark old Simmons factory with other local staples such as Sidewalk Citizen bakery and Phil & Sebastian coffee roasters, Charbar is unleashing the full Argentinian bbq experience with south american classics that still keep the local flavour. After following the development of this restaurant venture on instagram and in the news for months, I came home last summer and just had to get over there for appies and drinks.
First up was the Avocado Pistachio Bruschetta. Served with toasted Sidewalk Citizen bread, this definitely isn’t your typical idea of bruschetta. I was more tempted to think this was just a different guac, and yet it doesn’t fit that bill either. I can’t describe it as anything other than the most incredibly creamy avocado puree, with the freshness contrasted by the earthy crunch of the pistachio.
Next we ordered the Empanadas with Almond Chimichurri. These were by far the winning dish of the night, with a boldly spiced meat mixture encased in perfectly flakey pastry, topped with a zesty and crunchy almond mixture not like any chimichurri I’ve ever had.
Lastly, we thought we’d give the house made tripe chips a try, topped with rosemary and served with a spicy dipping sauce. These reminded me a lot of chicharrones, with a slightly different mild taste and texture that still reminds you these are made of tripe. A little out there, but not so strange tasting that I wouldn’t recommend them or try them again.
The cocktail menu is pretty comprehensive, offering a wide variety of mixed craft beverages with a south american flavour. The bartender noted that he also likes to invent a drink now and then to put on special, so we tried his feature, the Pink Orchid. Light citrus notes complimented the aperol and whatever else he had mixed in, although we weren’t fans of the name and quickly renamed it The Sandra, in honour of the friend I was with that night.
Overall, I’d definitely recommend stopping by and sampling a mix of the small and larger plates from the menu at Charbar. I’ll definitely be going back when I’m home next, as I plan on tackling some larger items, particularly their steaks cooked over their Argentinian fire pit.
Charbar, 618 Confluence Way SE, Calgary, AB, 403-452-3115