Banff is far better known for outdoor adventure than food, but I did have one strong dinner at Chuck’s Steakhouse, an ambitious meat-focused destination on the second floor of a mountain-facing downtown building. Banff Hospitality Collective founder Mike Mendelman took over in 2016, replacing a 35-year-old institution called Le Beaujolais. Now the space houses blue-grey and wood walls lined with decorative cowboy hats, arrows, cleavers, and steer skulls. They tout themselves as “The Alberta Beef Experience,” preparing “ranch-to-table” cuts dry-aged in their fridge. A detailed paper placemat details info on the Calgary Stampede, Alberta Beef, key stops along The Cowboy Trail (Provincial Highway No. 22). We also learn about Chuck, a “born and raised Albertan” and his beloved dog Blu.
Chef Sal Polizzi, Mendelman’s longtime culinary lieutenant, grills steaks over hardwood and mesquite before they’re finished under an 1800-degree broiler, basted in butter, sliced and served on a wood platter.
I ordered Hand Select Alberta Prime New York Steak and Benchmark Farms “Natural” Ribeye, but preferred the 16-ounce, 28-day, dry-aged ribeye ($65). The rosy, beautifully seared steak had higher fat content and rich, concentrated beef flavor.