Klein/Harris, which opened its doors Thursday, March 31, takes over the space formerly occupied by Home Tasting Room, where Waters manned the kitchen. Mah, of course, was the bar manager at Raw Bar, where she earned accolades for her inventive concoctions. The new concept bisects the long, rectangular storefront into distinct restaurant and lounge sections, distinguished by furnishings – classic table-and-chair restaurant seating up front, modern living-room leather sofas and coffee tables in the back. The distinct character of each section is reflected in the duality of the name: Klein being the restaurant, Harris the lounge.
Photo by Shelley Arnusch
Team Klein/Harris: General manager Rebekah Gotzke with partners Christina Mah and chef James Waters at the restaurant’s launch event on Wednesday, Mar. 30.
Waters’ menu revolves around his concept of “coast to coast Canadiana cuisine” – with the East Coast represented in particularly fine form by his preparation of pork roast with a screech reduction (screech, by!). The dinner menu is divided into “tides/currents” (seafood dishes including fresh oysters and a market fish), “roots/stalks” (salads and grain-based items, such as salt-roasted beets topped with goat cheese and a savoury oat crumble) and “wild/farm” (proteins including the seared beef skillet prepared in the style of an elevated ginger beef and a smoked duck with pan-seared apples and raisins). Maple flavours appear throughout, for more Canadiana cred.
Photo by Shelley Arnusch
Executive Chef James Waters commanding the open kitchen, complete with overhead mirror.
With the divine Ms. Mah in the mix, the cocktail program is on equal footing, offering standards like the classic martini and French 75 alongside more inventive offerings, such as those in the Canadiana-inspired True North category (all priced at $9). Among these is the Oatty, which uses the locally produced Eau Claire Equinox spirit and adds to it a house-made apple-pie syrup created from locally-sourced oats (East coasters might insist Mah add cheddar cheese to her apple-pie syrup, though, thankfully, she has refrained from doing so), along with citrus and a refreshing top-up of sparkling water. The True North cocktail roster also includes a Caesar with Mah’s famous house-made clam and celery broth and a Smoked Spruce Collins sweetened with a smoky spruce maple syrup and balanced with citric acid.
The space itself has been given a welcome update overseen by Kasey Sterling of Korr Design, with shades of soft grey and quirky accents like mounted cardboard trophy heads. Both the kitchen and bar are proudly on display – the bar’s backdrop featuring jars of preserves while the kitchen’s activities are promoted with a tilted overhead mirror. When you have the chops, as these two key figures in Calgary’s food and drink scene do, why not show off your handiwork?
Klein / Harris is open for lunch, dinner and cocktails, Mondays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Fridays 11 a.m. to midnight and Saturdays 5 p.m. to midnight.