Au jus? Ah, oui! Executive chef John Kostaras with a ribeye steak and the king crab platter
In the spirit of venturing into suburbia, I recently visited Halo Restaurant and Lounge’s steak, seafood and wine bar deep in the city’s southeast, just off Macleod Trail. Halo isn’t a castle, but a sizeable space nonetheless, featuring a restaurant on the main floor and an upstairs lounge. The space is tastefully decorated in black and red with rustic wood flooring and a lovely stone hearth.
As we were seated, I noticed the room cleverly utilized black window coverings to mute the din of Macleod Trail and the adjacent strip mall. The effect put me back into a food mindset and I focused on the menu.
With a wide selection of tempting appetizers like Captain Morgan’s spiced rum and lime prawns ($10.95) and stuffed crab pockets ($11.95), we opted to try the recommended baby yorkies ($10.95) and the saganaki ($10.95).
The mini prime-rib-stuffed Yorkshire puddings were fairly good. The batter was a little on the heavy side, but, luckily, the unique horseradish mayo and savoury au jus made up for its shortcomings.
The saganaki was great. The sizzling hot Greek cheese dish was served in a cast iron pan with a spike of brandy. A nice twist compared to the traditional ouzo typically used in this dish.
Wishing that the Kenny G-inspired background music would die, we moved onto our mains. Our helpful and friendly server let us know that Halo’s specialties are their seafood and beef selections. My boyfriend opted to try the snapper Wellington ($28.95).
The fish was served in a creamy white wine sauce, nestled in phyllo pastry with peppers and onions. It was tasty but perhaps not $30 tasty. The pastry was on the doughy side and the fish wasn’t the best we’d ever had. The sauce, however, was nice and the lemon-roasted potatoes served with the dish were quite palatable.
I had the eight-ounce filet mignon ($29.95) with a yummy stuffed potato. The steak was prepared perfectly, erring on the side of rare, as requested. It was a tender cut of beef dripping with flavour, definitely making the trip worthwhile.
The wine list at Halo isn’t overly impressive in the way of unique selections, but it’s expansive, and ranges in price from $34 to $150 per bottle, or $8.50 to $15 per glass.
Having our fill, we opted out of dessert, but there are some standout options, including a Bailey’s crème brûlée, daily selections of gelatos and sorbets and, for those of you who remember Chi-Chi’s, deep-fried ice cream.
Would I return to Halo? Probably not — a little too off the beaten track for me, but I would recommend it to those of you who live in the south and want a break from the Earls and Kegs of this world. Halo is trying to break the mould of the traditional suburban restaurant and though it may have a ways to go, it offers great service and some pretty top-notch steaks.
Halo is located at 13326 Macleod Trail S.E.; phone, 271-4111.