For those who believe in the adage “always eat dessert first,” Murrieta’s chocolate lava cake won’t disappoint. Its gooey interior and soft cake exterior are so well matched with the butterscotch gelato that it doesn’t matter that the warmth melts it. The dessert will probably disappear quickly, anyway.
Unveiled in July, the menu is by Shane Chartrand (formerly of L2 Grill), who’s the first chef given total control over the local Murrieta’s plates since the chain, with Calgary and Canmore locations, opened the Edmonton spot in 2005. “In the past, the food was tasty,” says Chartrand, “but every dish would come with a side of mashed potatoes and normal vegetables.”
So, Chartrand decided to create dishes from local ingredients that reflected more of what you see on the Food Network. Though he still makes classic dishes, it’s with gourmet flair, such as an applewood smoked chicken paired with garlic, shallots and bits of bacon. It’s served tender on couscous and finished with rich wine sauce that changes on a monthly basis.
But, once again, we’re getting ahead of ourselves, because classic appetizers are equally inspired. Tempura prawns are lightly battered to maintain tenderness, and then drizzled with a masago aioli. Each bite has a slight crunch and kick.
Now, come full circle with Chartrand’s crème brûlée, a dramatic end to your meal when the server flicks a lighter and leaves a blue flame. Once gone, there’s a caramelized top concealing a daily changing cream. (10612 82 Ave., 780-438-4100, murrietas.ca)