Dinner with friends at Model Milk
Homestyle food for all it’s worth
A white, exposed brick wall reaching up to the lofty ceiling is branded with the restaurant’s name, Model Milk. The eatery located on Calgary’s trendy 17th Avenue, is exactly what the name implies — a modern take on the nostalgic roots of food, fresh ingredients and a warm gathering of bounty and harvest.
It’s Sunday night, which means the menu is not a la carte, but a family-style dinner. Nearly all the restaurant’s seats are filled and diners are calmly awaiting the same delicious dishes.
At the chef’s table, or bar in this case, comfortable leather stools put my boyfriend and me in the heart of creation.
Dinner starts with a warm potato salad with pulled ham and a Caesar salad with pork belly bits. The saltiness of the salads wet our taste buds for a creamy dish of risotto with collard greens. While waiting for our mains, I sip on a glass of dry German Reisling while my boyfriend fills up on a tallboy of Steam Whistle — he notes it’s a full pint.
Time flies as our friendly server, Eric, chats with us and stretches his arms to refill our house-made sparkling water with an old-fashioned milk jug. Half of proceeds of the $3-per-person charge go to charity. When I ask about two red wines, Eric offers a descriptive sentence of each. I choose the bolero and he adds, “my favourite.” The five-ounce pour of red is full, a little spicy, but its finish is smooth, just as Eric said it would be.
Our main course arrives: marinated roast beef thinly cut and sole with a seafood tomato sauce. Sides arrive shortly after: bleu cheese spaghetti squash, (great if you have celiac’s disease) braised red cabbage, al dente carrots and a creamy grainy mustard mash. The beef is cooked medium rare and bursting with flavour — it’s a little chewy, but that is owed to the cut of meat. The fish is delicate, with the skin adding crispness, contrasting with the robust tomato seafood sauce topping.
Knowing a chocolate brownie with mascarpone is the final delivery, I coerce the dessert chef to add extra mascarpone whip. Soft, chewy, with a subtle hint of cinnamon complements my excess whipped cream.
Comfort food at its best — and even better, no dishes.
Model Milk is open for dinner at 5 p.m. daily.
The bill: $120