Another chain has arrived in Red Deer. This is proof that the city of just under 100,000 is growing and drawing attention from the medium and big players in the restaurant industry. I just hope the mom-and-pop restaurants will thrive in this mix as it is beneficial to the residents to have a range of food to enjoy without having to leave the city.
State and Main appears to be a chain currently present in the Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. It follows the same formula as regional/national players such as Earl’s, The Keg Steakhouse, Moxie’s, and Cactus Club in offering a nice, cozy atmosphere to dine-in. State and Main also targets the same crowd so that means as residents, we benefit from the healthy competition and strive to elevate dining.
The only State and Main in Red Deer is located in the southeast end in the same plaza as the Save on Foods grocery store. As a result, parking is plenty, though the lot is never empty.
Inside, you will be greeted with a cozy, dark atmosphere and a nice warm glow.
My wife started with Lemon Tea which contained absolut citron vodka.
She liked the combination. Since I do not drink, there is not much else that I can add.
I like the way State and Main organize their condiments in little caddies. It keeps the area clean and adds to the overall decor.
After looking over the menu, we decided to go with the waitress’ recommendation: Long Beach Fish Tacos. You get three tacos per order. I was won over by the fish – mahi mahi. Speaking of mahi mahi, I was incorrectly told by someone that I was eating dolphin. Given how we Canadians feel about whales and dolphins, I was shocked and investigated further. Well, although it is one of two types of dolphinfish, mahi mahi has no relations to the mammal known as dolphin. Good, I can continue consuming one of my favorite fishes!
Advocado, shredded lettuce, tomato, green onion, chopped cilantro, and fresh lime were included in the tacos. A mixed green salad was also served on the side.
The dish was very nicely presented and colorful! I feel hungry just looking at the photo.
I noticed that a lot of restaurants are presenting their tacos in the same way – using a metal kink piece to hold the tacos up. I guess if it works well, why not?
Soft shell tortillas were used, but time on the grill gave it a nice taste and crunchy texture. The mahi mahi appeared to be pan fried. It was crispy while maintaining the moist center that I so love in mahi mahi. I only wished that they had a little more meat in each taco. The shredded lettuce was refreshing and the ability to squeeze my own lime overtop gave it the punch that I expect from fish tacos. As for the avocado, I have no recollection of its presence and cannot seem to see it in the photos that I have taken. Perhaps, it’s subtle flavor was overpowered by the other flavors.
The salsa was a little boring and tasted store-bought, but as this is not a Mexican restaurant, I do not expect homemade fresh salsa. It did what we needed it to do for the fish tacos.
Alternatively, the salad looked vibrant and fresh. It was beautifully composed. The sour vinaigrette dressing helped cut the rich feta cheese present.
Next dish was the Steak Sandwich. We picked this dish because on Sundays, it was on special for $13.50. State and Main grills a 7 oz. AAA certified angus sirloin to your heart’s desire and places it on a thick cut garlic toast. You also get to choose 2 sides from the LONG list of available sides: mixed greens, ginger cilantro slaw, honey slaw, caesar salad, french fries (gravy or dill dip), jalapeno cheddar corn bread, jalapeno cheddar mashed potato, or deviled egg potato salad. This is what I love about State and Main – they really give you the option to customize your dish.
I asked for the steak to be cooked medium rare and as you can see, it came out just passed medium rare. This is perfectly fine. There was a nice smokey charred flavor and the seasoning was spot on. This was the best steak sandwich that I have had in Red Deer!
The choice of a thick cut garlic toast to support the steak was a smart move. The extra crunch was needed to go with the steak. Something about toast and beef that makes them go so well together.
I defaulted to french fries as one of my side choices and I have no regrets. They were crispy, seasoned well, and very tasty – everything you could ask for in a french fry. These are the fries to beat. The dill dip was cool and light. I polished the container clean! Literally, I wiped the sides of the container with a french fry!
For the other side, I decided to try something different and picked the jalapeno cheddar corn bread. It was crumbly with mild hints of jalapeno, but I could not detect any cheddar cheese. It felt more like a dessert.
We had to order dessert as my wife spied Milk and Cookies long before we even settled on any dishes. It was advertised on the menu as warm chocolate chip cookies and cold milk shooters. Nostalgia played a big role in the decision.
The plate was nicely presented. I was expecting traditional round chocolate chip cookies so upon seeing chocolate chip cookie strips, I was pleasantly surprised. The lack of cookie cutter shapes made the dish feel more homestyle. The waitress did tell us that they were individually baked in-house and indeed, they tasted fresh and warm and as though it came right out of the oven. Each piece was super soft and yielded to gravity as we picked it up. Nostalgia settled in. Actually, I think they tasted better than my childhood cookies.
The drizzle of chocolate across the cookie strips added more sweetness to the cookies, but dunking each piece in the cold milk helped cut the strong sweet flavor. Moreover, it gave a contrast of cold and warm which probably is why milk and cookies go so well together. My wife thought the cute little jars that hold the milk were adorable though she thought it would be cooler if a child-size milk carton was used instead. I think for the nostalgia factor alone, I have to agree with her 100 percent.
Overall, the plating was very clean and trendy. State and Main is going to give our old standby favorite, Earl’s, some tough competition.