Longview, a whistle-stop community along Highway 22 southwest of Calgary, used to be known as Little New York during an oil boom of the 1930s. These days, it might well be called Little Morocco, at least from a culinary perspective.
Longview is in the heart of southwest Alberta’s cattle country, so a steakhouse makes perfect sense. But one owned and lovingly operated by a Moroccan family? It doesn’t matter. Just go. As one online reviewer notes, if it’s a choice between a popular beef chain close to his Calgary house and a one-hour drive through the gorgeous foothills to the *Longview Steakhouse, it’s a no brainer. He’s getting in his car. Yes, it’s that good.
My $16 open-face steak sandwich might be the best lunch money I’ve spent this year. The locally sourced steak is a huge strip loin—with a red wine and pepper sauce—that flops over a hapless piece of bread, whose main function is to soak up all those juices. “My God, that’s huge,” I say. “You’re a hungry guy,” replies my friendly, lanky server, Samir Belmoufid.
Tender and flavourful as this slab of meat is, the real highlight might be the accompanying bowl of apple-rutabaga soup. There’s some magic going on in this unusual medley of flavours and underlying stock. Well-priced sirloin burgers, a Monte Christo sandwich and a Moroccan lamb sandwich round out the day’s lunch offerings, with tenderloin and New York steaks heading the pricier evening line-up (dinner reservations recommended, especially on weekends).
The Belmoufid family brought a long culinary history when they moved from Calgary to Longview in 1995. They’ve since run this high-end steakhouse in an unpretentious ranch house-style building, though they’ll soon be moving to a new, close-by building. A couple of brothers, their parents and a cousin are involved, and it shows in the close attention to quality, food preparation and personable service. You’re not likely to find a better steakhouse in the big city.
102 Morrison Road (Highway 22) Longview, Alberta. 403-558-2000 for reservations
Lunch Tuesday to Friday 11:30 am-1:30 pm, dinner Tuesday to Thursday 5 pm-8 pm, Friday-Saturday 5 pm-9 pm, Sunday 5 pm-8 pm. Closed Monday
The family reach in Longview doesn’t stop at the steakhouse. A short walk down the road, sister Yasmine Belmoufid and husband Mounir Berrah have taken over the old Navajo Mug and turned it into *The Rustic Artisan, a great, cozy little coffeehouse. It features Phil and Sebastian beans that, strangely, seem to taste better here than at P & S outlets in Calgary—at least the double-shot Americano (hold most of the water) that Mounir expertly prepares for me. Maybe, it’s the mountain air. While there isn’t a proper kitchen, the owners scratch make the breakfast paninis, sandwiches, chile and chicken pot pies. “My wife is a trained pastry chef, so why wouldn’t we make our own pies?” Mounir says as he slides a big slab of apple-cranberry pie into a takeout container for me.
The Rustic Artisan
140 Morrison Road, Longview
Opens 8:30 am Tuesday to Sunday, closes 6 pm Tuesday, 7 pm Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, 8 pm Friday and Saturday. Closed Monday. Note: Closed most of December 2013 and January 2014