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Edmonton
10643 123rd St. N.W. | 780-447-4577
rgerd.ca

The rooster weathervane and wooden porch swings at the entrance to RGE RD are a callback to Blair Lebsack and Caitlin Fulton’s rural beginnings. The duo ran a roving series of farm dinners around Edmonton for two years before moving into their brick-and-mortar city digs. But even when the kids leave the range (call it “Range Road,” from the abbreviation for Western Canada’s north-south survey roads), they can’t shed that country hospitality.

The heart of Lebsack’s kitchen is a wood-burning oven that consumes birch and maple at 700°F, dipping down in the off-service hours to cure honey ham and to smoke Salt Spring Island mussels or even dehydrated local milk. The smoke resurfaces in a sweet smear of milk aioli next to a thick slice of pork-and-chicken-liver terrine, wrapped in that honey ham and served with rounds of exquisite ficelle bread. “We pour a bunch of sausage and red wine into the dough,” confesses Lebsack.

The daily “questionable bits” demonstrate how a small 35-seater can make whole-animal cooking both sustainable and approachable. “It’s not Fear Factor,” the chef assures us. Tonight’s bits features a porchetta di testa – rolled pig’s head, sliced thin – topped with a Southern-inspired dirty barley studded with rabbit livers, hearts and kidneys, and pierced by a glass eyedropper filled with electric-orange hot sauce. Fulton’s pairing for those delightfully muddy organ flavours: a bright, small-lot barbera from British Columbia’s Sandhill, modestly priced but elegantly decanted.

An apple galette to finish isn’t reimagined or deconstructed – it’s simply a cradle of perfect butter pastry, with tender-cooked apples, smoked buttermilk ice cream and a hint of campfire from the oven. The aged cheddar sauce reminds me of something my grandmother always says: An apple pie without the cheese is like a hug without the squeeze. Disaster averted, then.

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