Rouge | Calgary’s Best Restaurants 2024

After more than two decades, Rouge continues to impress — the substantial garden on the grounds being a key element in keeping the menu fresh.

Rouge’s seared steelhead trout with white-bean cassoulet. Photo by Jared Sych.

 

Who’s Behind It
Co-owners Olivier Reynaud and Paul Rogalski; Chef de Cuisine Dean Fast.

What’s on the Menu
Four seasonal menus, utilizing ingredients from the on-site garden, local farms and foraged provisions.

Why We Love This Place
Success came early for Rouge. Opened in the spring of 2003 in the historic A.E. Cross home in Inglewood — noted local restaurateur Sal Howell (River Café, Deane House) was said to be at the first table — Rouge famously recovered its opening debt in only six months. International recognition followed when it ranked among San Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants in 2010. More than two decades later, Rouge continues to impress — the substantial garden on the grounds being a key element in keeping the menu fresh. “It’s important for cooks to know where food comes from,” says co-owner and culinary director Paul Rogalski.

The ownership empowers creativity and autonomy in the kitchen. The menu is fully the domain of chef de cuisine Dean Fast, who utilizes the harvest in dishes such as a carrot terrine with verbena yoghurt. A potato, scallop and prawn roulade is executed with precision and served on a delicate corn flan. Standout mains include a seared steelhead trout lovingly cooked and served with a rich white-bean cassoulet and luscious beurre blanc, while the top sweet offerings include a juicy crab apple galette with an almond crumble and thyme-and-lemon-balm ice cream.

Known for having one of the first tasting menus in the city back in 2003, Rouge’s current iteration is six courses of gathered and foraged components for $120, while the wine list is full of awarded and well-known bottles from the Old and New Worlds, from Beaune to Bordeaux, from Piedmont to Rheingau, and from Napa Valley to Barossa Valley. For diners in Calgary, both new- and old-school, Rouge is both a treasure and a part of Calgary’s culinary history.

1240 8 Ave S.E., 403-531-2767, rougecalgary.com, @rougerestaurant

 

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This article appears in the March 2024 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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