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Wild Tangerine...Cucina Domestica


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Had the opportunity to try another recent addition to the Edmonton dining scene at lunch today.

Wild Tangerine is a small [approx 35 seats] Asian influenced restaurant that is open Monday to Friday from 11:30 a.m. and Saturdays from 5:30 p.m.. It is in a strip mall which also houses a Starbucks on the south side of 104th Avenue, just west of 112 Street near the Sidetrack.

Minimalist, cool, crisp interior. Checkered wall tiles, glass and dark wood. Polished cement floor. Bench seating runs down one side with a number of tables for two and four filliing out the restaurant.

Wilson Wu and his sister/chef Judy used to operate Polo's across from the University Hospital. They closed it down one or two years ago but are now back with another Asian-influenced menu. I understand that Judy did some travelling and has brought back some tastes from around the culinary globe.

For a change this attempt at incorporating some more exotic flavours does not end in "confusion" rather than fusion. I usually distrust the moniker "fusion" as I have found it often meant an overabundance of citrus or heavy handed lashings of 5 Spice Powder and not much more. Definitely not the case with Wild Tangerine as I even I had the octopus which indicated it was flavoured with the "dreaded" 5 Spice Powder.

The appetizers run from $3 for Green Onion Wok Stickers and/or Potato Fries with Star Anise and homemade ketchup to $6 for Shrimp Lollipops with Wasabi Yogurt up to $9 for Grilled 5-Spice Octopus Salad with Spicy Tangerine Vinaigrette.

The appetizers are rounded out with two takes on variations of caesar salad, tofu pancakes, a mushu salad, rainbow noodle cake and sun-dried oyster hash.

I opted for the shrimp lollipops to start. Three good sized shrimp skewered and tempura battered and served standing up in a cup with a terrific wasabi flavoured yogurt sauce. They were delicious. Lightly battered. Not greasy. That wasabi sauce is something I'll make for backyard barbeques at home.

In its list of "noodles, pastas and grains" the restaurant offers Thai green curry with prawns $15, red curry mussels with linguini $13, Pan-seared scallops with Tarragon-Chinese sausage risotto $14, Szechuan spiced Beef Short Ribs with gnocchi & Asian mushrooms $16 and Chinese Cioppino with glass noodles $16.

These is an Asian chili with tofu and rice cracker $10 and a lemon grass-Thai basil flavoured lentils $11 for I assume those who lean toward vegetarian dishes.

I decided to skip these and leave the short ribs and cioppino to another day and opted for one of the four specials.

I understand that the menu which is likely a "work in progress" will change depending upon what is popular with the diners and that the "specials" will be seasonal.

In my case I ordered the slow cooked marsala-masala spiced lamb $15. Delicious. Simply served in an oversized bowl were some tender slices of lamb shoulder which were spiced wonderfully, a nice blend of sweet and spice. It came with some braised rapini or broccolini and a stewed tomato.

I might quibble a tad on portion size. OK for lunch, would likely want more at dinner.

Rounding out the Specials were a So-Tung-Po Style Sturgeon Valley Pork with Natural Jus $14, Adobo-braised Chicken Breast $13 and Almond-crusted Salmon with Cardamon-Mandarin Orange Compote $13.

I was still hungry after my shrimp and then the lamb so ordered the octopus salad. It was delicious. A decent portion of grilled octopus served cold over a mound of salad of julienned greens, veggies like jicama and some fruit. Pear or apple perhaps.

After the 3 dishes I was stuffed. Probably the next visit I would share the shrimp and have a salad with the main and then leave sated.

An interesting dessert selection in the $5 to $7 range but they are not my weakness.

Very nice and interesting wine list. Wilson knows and enjoys his wines so expect that he will have quite a few "special bottles" in the back other than those on his list as the menu indicates, Note: an eclectic selection of unique and reserve wines is available for special occasions

I think that this spot will do well. Service is casually competent and friendly.

I will check it out again later in the week I expect. It reminds me in many ways of Culina which I posted about when it opened some weeks ago. Small place, more relaxed than fine dining, good food with a different flare from what the standards usually seen in these parts....funny usually never seen Philipino influenced food on local menus and then, the past two new restaurants I have gone to both feature chicken adobo.

Wild Tangerine should be a welcomed addition to the Edmonton dining scene.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I also visited Wild Tangerine recently.

The octopus salad was great, and all who were with me thought it was a super item...refreshing and interesting.

The Wok Stickers (?correct name?) were a little disappointing.

Interesting drink menu, and challenging location.

Will go back to investigate menu further, and wish them well.

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I have been back a couple of more times since I first posted.

The 2nd time I started with the "wok stickers". Agree with your assessment. Essentially a thinner version of those green onion cakes which are everywhere in Edmonton come festival time cut into triangles and served with what tasted somewhat like a reduced balsamic or red or black Chinese vinegar.

Not an appetizer I would have by itself again. Would be different if bought with several others and you were dining with a group.

I then had the braised pork which was quite good and a more substantial serving than for example than the lamb.

The 3rd time I reverted to the "tried and true" and had the shrimp lollipops with the octopus salad which as you mentioned was interesting, refreshing and good.

I hope Wilson and Judy do well. The reviews in the Sun and Journal certainly will not hurt but it is "cottage time" of course now and you certainly are correct about the location. Parking, apart from the vacant field to the east is not very good.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I will go back and give it a try as well.

No doubt, they will do well, and the "buzz" is still postive about the location.

Actually ate at Golden Bird recently, and I must admit that they do a fantastic job and it was probably the best Asian meal I have had since I left Vancouver 6 years ago.

Honest, authentic and reasonable.

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As chance would have it, my wife and I had lunch at the Wild Tangerine yesterday.

We both had the shrimp "lollipops"...love that wasabi spiced sauce. Shared an order of the star anise flavoured fries with home made "ketchup". Quite good.

My wife had the Oriental Caesar salad and I, once again had their terrific octopus salad. All washed down with a decent bottle of Cedar Creek pinot gris from B.C..

Another good meal.

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Well, I must get back there if for nothing else than to try the shrimp lollipops. Not only have you mentioned them a few times, but that is one dish, along with the Octopus salad, that comes up every time someone mentions the restaurant.

I will try to make it in over the next few weeks, as I am hoping to get down to the Heritage festival this upcoming weekend.

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Just found out that one of my classmates from NAIT is working there. Couldn't think at first where I'd heard the name before. Then it hit me (Duh!), where else but the Gullet?

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three


"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning


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