Eden - Rimrock Resort Hotel, 100 Mountain Avenue, Banff – 403-762-1865 or www.rimrockresort.com
Located on the same street as the Banff Gondola is the Rimrock Resort, a quaint, understated hotel. The Rimrock is part of the Leading Hotels of the World and judging by Eden - deservedly so. Upon arrival, we were escorted to the restaurant by the valet and referred to by last name all evening long. Very relaxed atmosphere within a very quiet hotel - we even saw a Caribou grazing on the property. The elegant lobby has a fire place, some plush sofas, coffee tables, chairs, etc; basically a living room. The restaurant has heavy velvet draperies with large gold silk accents, dark furniture and walls, and lots of European art. The tables had crisp white linens, with a small glass bowl and an orchid floating inside of it. Our napkins were changed every time we got up – I mean God forbid we have to use the same napkin after using the facilities. Fresh (large) floral pieces were everywhere. The large wine cellar was viewable upon entering and exiting the restaurant.
The bathroom had linen towels, small bottles of Listerine, Aveda lotion, Neutrogena chapstick and shoe mitts – all for the taking/use. We had a great table, next to the window that faced the back of the property and surrounding mountains. There were five people waiting on us at once to serve our every request. Immediately after being seated we were kindly asked to please turn all cell phones to vibrate as not to disturb other guests. Yes – this is that kind of place…I mean the bathroom has amenities. Come on! Bottled water was complimentary and we were given a choice of Pellegrino or Evian. I will say this, all of the attention and the general atmosphere of the restaurant made it slightly overwhelming at first. I mean just so much pomp and circumstance. But we quickly got used to all of the attention.
The menu is French cuisine with regional accents and changes every season. It has received the 5 diamond AAA award, and many other awards including one from Wine Spectator. Eden offers 4 dinner options; 3 courses for 90 CAD, 4 courses for 100 and 5 courses for 110. We were warned that all portions were small - almost like tastings and they weren't kidding. The fourth option was a tasting menu for 150 CAD with 8 courses. I found it fascinating that all menus are interchangeable. That's not common in a restaurant such as this. In any event, we ordered and were greeted by the bread waiter who offered us a choice of four breads; lemon zing, multigrain, sourdough and rye – all delicious of course and served with salted or unsalted butter and some sort of whipped cheese spread.
First course, compliments of the chef, was a cinnamon-ginger (sweet) drink with a frozen "essence" (which was a cinnamon burst), served in a champagne glass. Hard to describe but refreshing, which was the point, and very tasty. The second course, also compliments of the chef, was a parsnip puree with a ground squab center and pistachio oil drizzle. Sounds a little too eclectic to be good but it was. In fact, it was incredibly delicious and was perfect to peak our interest in what was to come. Our third course was whatever we chose as our first course (so in layman's terms, the appetizer). We had the truffle risotto with Parmesan crisp and king oyster mushrooms and the buffalo tartar with carpaccio soaked in sambuca. (See picture of carpaccio below). Served with such care, the presentation was almost too beautiful to touch.
The fourth course was an intermezzo which we were told was served because the chef was unhappy with how our entrees came out. If that isn’t the most hilarious thing you have ever heard, I don't know what is. Entrees options included; Alberta beef, tenderloin with truffle oil, sea bream, buffalo ribeye, veal, venison, quail and squab. We chose the Alberta beef and the sea bream (see pictures of both below). Again, presented beautifully and extremely delicious. My husband had an extra course of quail. At that point I was truly too stuffed to even consider another course. Dessert options were mascarpone with raspberry ice cream and a chocolate cake. We chose the mascarpone (see picture) and the cheese plate (which was on the appetizer menu). The cheese plate included grapes, candied pecans and a wide selection of cheese but no bread or bread flats. After the dessert we ordered was gone, we were served yet another "compliments of the chef" course. It was a two-tier silver dish that had pieces of milk and white chocolate, white chocolate covered leece nuts, bonbons and shortbread cookies. And of course, it goes without saying that each piece was carefully decorated and carefully placed on this tray.
Service was truly incredible, friendly - suggesting wines, telling us about the local area, explaining all aspects of meal. We received constant attention. Sounds intrusive? – somehow it wasn’t. Before ordering wine we were served tasting options by the cellar master, Quinn. He was extremely knowledgeable; he explained every aspect of the extensive wine menu. We learned a great deal especially concerning Canadian wine. He even was unhappy with the temperature of the wine my husband ordered and insisted on giving him only a tasting while he cooled the wine a "degree or two". Are you kidding?!! Really, I can not say enough about this guy. He was great.
We were given two pieces of banana bread dipped in chocolate and wrapped in a beautiful gift bag, as a parting gift from the matre'd. Incredible! The cellar master, Quinn, walked us out to the car and waited for us to pull away. We were the last to leave that evening. Expect to spend at least 2 hours dinning. We were there almost three. Complimentary valet parking. The restaurant serves dinner only. Dressy attire required, no children. Reservations are a must. Accepts all major credit cards. If you think about it, 90 Cad a person (about $82) is nothing compared to the quality and amount of food – not to mention the level of service – you get. It was an incredible meal, one of our best ever. A romantic evening, a great place for a special occasion – Very, Very Highly Recommended