Rustica: Far From Unrefined

    Derrick Szuszkiel November 20, 2018

    Our publisher wanted to take us out for a working lunch to discuss future plans for our upcoming magazines and as an opportunity to celebrate the completion of our 2018/19 winter edition of Where Canadian Rockies.

    He took us to Rustica in the Slivertip Golf Resort. Normally, Rustica is associated with steaks, for which they are quite well known, but they also serve a pretty good lunch. The resort nestles into the mountainside above Canmore. Pine forests and mountain views surround the resort, away from the bustle of downtown.

    With a name like Rustica, the first word that might come to mind is ‘rustic’. The definition of rustic is rural, unsophisticated or unrefined, and this is far from the truth with Rustica. The look of the place in my mind is more modern ski chalet. The two main elements here are wood and metal but if you look closely, you notice the materials are not repurposed, worn or unsophisticated, but polished, intricate and new. Richly coloured timber beams and wood grain accented with dark metal dividers and beautiful, elaborate metal chandeliers decorate the place.

    The tables are made of darkly stained slabs of wood. They reminded me of a well-maintained butcher’s block or cutting board. There’s a fire place near the entrance well stocked with logs and an axe, paper and kindling ready for a roaring fire. The well-lit room has cleverly hidden modern/industrial light fixtures and windows that let in plenty of natural light. The views are as great as you would expect. We were fortunate sit at a window that overlooked a fairway and the mountains shrouded in winter cloud.

    This is the spot for a working lunch because the other two groups in the restaurant with us appeared to be there for that same reason. After we sat, we discussed business while the server filled our water glasses. I ordered a coffee with cream and sugar. Before I add cream and sugar, I like to taste the quality of the coffee. It was bold, earthy and delicious.

    After perusing the menu, bound in beautiful chocolate coloured leather, I decided on the special: buffalo chicken wrap with fries. I obsess over all things that come in a tortilla, especially if it’s spicy buffalo chicken. Our publisher, Ken, opted for one as well with the creamy mushroom and truffle soup-of-the-day. Kate, our editor, got a clubhouse sandwich with a house salad. Damian, our art director, settled on the Silvertip burger, also with a house salad. Tess, our graphic designer, true to her usual lunch tradition of soup, got the soup.

    Our business concluded in convenient time with the arrival of our meals. The dishes came on long plates which gives these simple lunch items a more composed look. Another thing you’ll notice about Rustica’s dishes is the generous portions. There was an impressive mound of fries on my plate. I’m the type of person to eat sides first, and I found myself getting kinda full before I even started on the wrap.

    As for the meal itself, it was exactly what I wanted out of my lunch. The fries were crispy, and nicely salted and seasoned with pepper. The wrap was excellent. The tortilla was nicely toasted, and the tangy spice of hot sauce mingled so well with the creamy Caesar-like dressing, cheese and wilted lettuce. All of my colleagues said they enjoyed their meals, but collectively we were too stuffed for dessert. A special mention needs to go to the soups here, which I’m told are really delicious and totally worth a trip up the hill. I definitely recommend heading up to Rustica for lunch if you want an elevated experience with impressive portions and reasonable prices.

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