Chorney-Booth: The Lake House celebrates 10th anniversary with a “Greatest Hits” menu

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The Lake House – Canadian Rocky Mountain Resort’s beautiful restaurant at the edge of Lake Bonavista – has been the site of many anniversary celebrations, but now it’s time for the restaurant to mark an anniversary of its own. A decade of service is a feat in the restaurant world and The Lake House is celebrating its double-digit birthday with a special menu reliving some of its greatest culinary hits.

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The Lake House results from the confluence of two local legacies: the lakeside building that housed the longstanding and much-beloved Inn on the Lake restaurant and CRMR, the institution behind equally cherished restaurants like the dearly departed Divino and Cilantro, as well as still-thriving mountain properties including Emerald Lake Lodge, Buffalo Mountain Lodge, and the Post Hotel and Spa. The Lake House, born after CRMR moved its Ranche restaurant out of Fish Creek Park, opened its doors on Valentine’s Day, 2014 – a suitable date given its ultra-romantic locale. It is currently CRMR’s only full-service restaurant within the city after decades of the company’s role in establishing the concept of locally sourced taste-of-place Western Canadian cuisine

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The Lake House general manager Kevin Sky and events manager Kirsten Davies in the Lake Bonavista-area restaurant’s dining room. Brent Calver/Postmedia Photo by Brent Calver/Postmedia /Brent Calver/Postmedia

While a decade isn’t that long in the grand scheme of the CRMR story (the company dates back to founders Pat and Connie O’Connor’s purchase of Emerald Lake Lodge in 1979), The Lake House has plenty of reason to fete itself. Longevity is a tricky business for restaurants, but general manager Kevin Sky says the restaurant’s enduring success has come from the combination of the spectacular view from the restaurant’s expansive lake-facing windows, local regulars thrilled to have an upscale dining option in their neighbourhood, and dedicated staff committed to upholding to the standards that have long guided CRMR.

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“Not a lot has changed since we’ve opened and that’s been responsible for some of our success,” Sky says. “Our executive chef Thomas Neukom has been here since before the restaurant opened here. Gareth Colville, our chef de cuisine, has been here the entire time. I’ve been here almost the entire time. The consistency of the people here has been a huge factor.”

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Chef Gareth Colville of The Lake House. Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts Photo by Erik McRitchie /cal

Having that consistency of chefs means it was easy for the kitchen team to put together a menu of classics. While there are some constants on the Lake House menu (you will always find a bison burger, for example), Colville typically likes to switch things up seasonally, meaning there were many past favourites to draw from. The magic of The Lake House’s menu has always been about using high-quality ingredients that represent CRMR’s mountain roots (including meat sourced from the company’s ranch) to make food that is both comforting and creative. It’s a rare thing to find in a suburban setting and the unique nature of the dishes has resulted in some clear fan favourites over the years.

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Bison Striploin at The Lake House is a longtime favourite dish on the menu. Brent Calver/Postmedia Photo by Brent Calver/Postmedia /Brent Calver/Postmedia

Resurrected dishes include lunchtime miso-glazed red spring salmon ($28) and chicken schnitzel over spinach fettuccine with mushroom cream ($28), both from 2018. Guests can also expect dinner selections like the 2014 Lake House fish plank selection of cured and smoked seafood and fish ($26/$36), pan-seared scallops with herb risotto and tempura scampi from 2016 ($46) and a luxurious Parmesan-crusted lamb rack from 2016 with lamb shoulder moussaka ($52). Since this is a seasonal affair, these selections will be available until early summer when Colville anticipates he will bring back some warm-weather-specific dishes.

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The Lake House is located at 747 Lake Bonavista Dr. S.E. and can be reached at 403-225-3939 or through lakehousecalgary.com. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Friday for lunch and Tuesday through Sunday for dinner.

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Pan Seared Scallops at The Lake House in Lake Bonavista. Brent Calver/Postmedia Photo by Brent Calver/Postmedia /Brent Calver/Postmedia
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The well-stocked wine room at The Lake House in Lake Bonavista. Courtesy Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts cal

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In other restaurant news, the team at D.O.P. has been hinting for some time that the quirky building the restaurant lives in is slated for demolition. An announcement was made on Instagram last week that D.O.P. will be moving out of its Victoria Park space sometime in September of all year. The restaurant recently appointed a new chef, Cody Fummerton, taking over after the departure of Alessandro Chinea, who is opening a new restaurant of his own.

Don’t fear – management is in the process of finding a new space, so D.O.P. should ride on in one form or another. Stay tuned!

Finally, the minds at Modern Steak seem to be consistently coming up with new ideas to get people out to eat steaks and the latest is a series of dinners that will pair food with music. The first will take place on April 20 at the Stephen Avenue location in celebration of the release of Taylor Swift’s new album The Tortured Poet’s Department. Bruschetta and “Blank Space?” A “Love Story” filet mignon? Why not?

Future dinners will include a Drake Chateuneuf-du-Pape wine dinner on May 25 and a Wagyu and WuTang dinner on June 15. For reservations or more information, visit modernsteak.ca.

Elizabeth Chorney-Booth can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Instagram at @elizabooth or sign up for her newsletter at hungrycalgary.substack.com.

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