Dinner at Dairy Lane

The littlest breakfast spot goes for the night crowd

This review may be better suited for my Burger Hunt counterpart but everyone needs a good burger every once in a while. So this week Fast Forward Weekly readers are getting a double dose of burger mania as I take a bite out of Dairy Lane’s “Burgers and Wine” dinner service.

Available Wednesday through Sunday nights the dinner menu features a few of the café’s latest dishes (and some old favourites) with a focus on local and organic producers.

Popping in at about 7:15 p.m. on a Wednesday my husband and I are happy to see that we won’t be waiting in line on this visit to Dairy Lane. We’re big fans of their scrumptious breakfasts but in recent years we have avoided stopping in on the weekends due to long wait times.

Tonight we are seated promptly and our drink orders are taken in five minutes flat. I go with a glass of Dirty Laundry Chardonnay from the Okanagan ($10) and my hubby goes with a bottle of Canmore’s Grizzly Paw ginger beer ($3.25). We notice that all the suds on the beer list are from local craft brewers and that Dairy Lane makes an effort to use local products whenever possible.

Heck even the photos on the wall are local featuring vintage black-and-white shots of Calgary landmarks and people. The photos are just one aspect of how this café feels homey. Painted in a warm yellow tone the room has a diner feel with cozy banquette seating and standard two-top tables. I wouldn’t recommend Dairy Lane for big groups — it’s much better for a meal with two to four people.

We start our dinner with the local charcuterie platter (market price tonight it’s $16).

Our server comments on what a great value it is and she isn’t kidding. Served on a rustic wood cutting board the platter features a bevy of goodies.

We start with a bite of warm blueberry bison sausage — it’s delightfully flavourful and moist. Next we load up a slice of fresh baguette with grainy mustard smoky ham from Spragg Meats a slice of Sylvan Star Gouda and a half grape tomato from Gull Valley Greenhouses. We love it. This platter has a wonderful farmhouse feel from the sweet pickles right down to the deer salami.

In all honesty this platter and a glass of wine would have been more than enough food for us but in the name of research we press on to the entrees.

I order the evening’s feature burger a turkey-basil burger with a side of fresh vegetables ($16). The plate looks fabulous and features fresh zucchini and asparagus. Digging in I note the burger’s soft onion bun fresh butter leaf lettuce and beefsteak tomato. The patty is scrumptious a little on the dry side but I can let it slide for this tasty combination of ground turkey and basil pesto. The flavours pop and go oh-so-well with the perfectly grilled vibrant zucchini.

My husband gets the Dairy Lane burger ($11) with Sylvan Star aged cheddar ($2) smoked bacon ($2) and fries. The patty is remarkably juicy. I believe my husband’s exact words were “big bold beefy flavour.” I share a bite and we both swoon over the perfectly cooked exceptionally delicious patty and crisp smoked bacon. And let’s not forget the home-cut fries they’re also wonderful — hot and crispy with that perfect medium thickness. I think it’s safe to say we’ll be returning for this burger.

As our meal winds down our server drops off our bill. Little does she know that we’re pressing on for dessert. Other than the haste in dropping off our bill our server has been friendly and helpful throughout our visit.

The night’s dessert is a salty caramel tart ($8). Arriving in a compostable to-go container (big thumbs-up) we have a quick peek at the icing sugar-dusted dessert with fresh strawberries on the side.

My only complaint with this dessert is that it seems a little small for the price. Other than that it’s tasty with a subtly salted top layer of chocolate a rich layer of caramel and light pastry crust.

The next time you find yourself craving a delicious burger you may want to stop in for dinner at Dairy Lane where you’ll find some of your breakfast favourites chicken tacos and a great selection of burgers including a tasty spicy pork burger. With a solid range of dishes libations and a cozy atmosphere Dairy Lane is perfect for a no-fuss night out.