When it comes to dining in Calgary, to date there haven’t been a plethora of options in suburbia, but times are changing. In Seton, only 20 minutes south of downtown, Starbelly is proving that you don’t have to head north to find a great meal. Just next to the South Health Campus, it’s offering up great food that’s sure to please everyone with its gourmet-casual approach.

The restaurant itself is spacious and open, with plenty of natural light shining in from all angles. It’s in the details as they say, and the team at Holland Design definitely took that to heart when creating a space for Starbelly. It feels homey, yet modern, with a beautiful centre bar and open kitchen to make you feel like you are right in on the action. Even the blue and white plaid napkins were purposefully chosen; an accent that hints to the gourmet casual fare to come.

Chef Trevor Ross and his team are putting together dishes that rival anything you could find downtown, but at much more reasonable prices. Having graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa and since worked at high-end restaurants across the world, Chef Trevor has used his experience to his advantage featuring techniques such as 30-day cured duck prosciutto on Starbelly’s menu.

For a whopping $45, you can try the “Grazing Menu.” Put yourself at the mercy of the kitchen (believe me when I say that there is absolutely nothing to fear) and treat yourself to 6 courses that are as creative and whimsical as they are satisfying and tasty. Just take note that you need the participation of the entire table and there are also choices at each course on the tasting menu.

Favourites include a creamy, unctuous smoked bison risotto and seared scallops with grapefruit supremes that work as the perfect foil to cut through the richness of the house-smoked bacon. Bacon isn’t the only meat they are curing in-house either. There’s also the aforementioned duck prosciutto and pastrami made from beef brisket that is brined for over a week before it is slowly smoked and sliced thin, tender and marbled with just the right amount of fat.

Starbelly’s signature dessert is a root beer donut with bourbon vanilla gelato and brown butter caramel sauce. The donut itself is made from sourdough starter, giving it that “stick-to-your-ribs” density that makes it the perfect dessert to share. If you weren’t full before, you will be by the time you finish this dessert.

If you can’t muster up an appetite for the Grazing Menu, there are also a la carte options, many of which are the same as the grazing ones. Different though is the feature risotto and house salad, both of which can be made vegetarian or vegan depending on your dietary preferences.

Be sure to check out the wine list as well. The impressive, glass cellar off to the side of the dining room has plenty of bottles to choose from. There are options available by the glass (5oz or 8oz pours) too.

Residents in Seton and area must be thrilled that Starbelly is now a new addition to their neighbourhood. And for those who don’t live in the area, the food and ambience at Starbelly are well worth the visit.

Check out Starbelly‘s website, www.starbelly.ca and follow them on Twitter @StarbellyYYC.

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