Major Tom: Inside one of Calgary's best and most exclusive restaurants

Apr 29 2022, 5:21 pm

Overlooking the city from the 40th floor, Major Tom is one of Calgary’s most chic and impressive restaurants.

It’s also one of the most exclusive.

Since it opened its doors back in July of 2021, reservations to get in and try the award-winning global fare and craft cocktails that are served in a stylish space have been hard to come by.

So why has this restaurant that’s not even a year old yet made such an impact on the dining scene here in Calgary?

We got an inside look at the impressive space, including quotes from two leaders who run the teams that make this a special place on every visit.

Major Tom

Dished/Daily Hive

The unique name directly references the David Bowie hit song, an ode to an era in which the room’s design is inspired.

Major Tom’s “60s supper club” design with unobstructed city and mountain views wow guests from start to finish,” Brittany Thompson, the General Manager of Major Tom, told Dished in an email.

“Its mid-century design elements including natural wood and marble materials, walnut modular built-ins, and brass bar set the tone for their experience,” she added.

Major Tom

Dished/Daily Hive

This retro atmosphere combined with modern fine dining design elements goes beyond the room’s decor. The menu is wonderfully inspired with new takes on dishes that have mostly been forgotten to time, like the Waldorf Salad or Baked Alaska.

Every beautifully plated dish here is classic meets modern.

We love being influenced by the great dishes of the past, specifically those from the old-world era of Manhattan-style dining,” Garrett Martin, one of the culinary directors at Major Tom, told Dished in an email.

“We let those ubiquitous dishes guide us while combining our beautiful beef that we have in Alberta. It creates a restaurant that hand-picks the best aspects of steakhouse and combines them with modern flair and style. We love the way it has come together.”

Major Tom

Dished/Daily Hive

We ordered the crispy hen egg, the cheese toast, and the bone-in striploin. It was some of the tastiest and most exciting dishes we’ve ever had in Calgary.

The hen egg was a perfect bite-size starter, we will be craving the cheesy toast until the next time we’re lucky enough to visit again, and the steak was one of the best in YYC.

Major Tom

Dished/Daily Hive

This is Calgary, Alberta, after all, and that means diners will be looking for a great steak program.

With Miyazaki Prefecture Wagyu, Alberta Prime, Benchmark Angus, and seafood, sides, and toppings, Major Tom even offers one of the best beef programs in YYC.

We wanted to offer the best quality beef that we could get our hands on,” Martin told Dished. “We use Benchmark out of Picture Butte, AB, which brings us consistent, beautiful quality beef from a family-run operation.

The restaurant also uses a farming collective for its Alberta Prime beef, which Martin says “consistently delivers some of the highest grade of Angus beef available in Canada.”

“It’s delicious.”

Major Tom also uses A5 Japanese Wagyu out of Miyazaki Prefecture in southeast Japan.

“It is the best beef in the world and we prepare it incredibly simply to let the product shine,” Martin continued.

Every steak is also brushed with compound butter with a ton of aromatics and broiled at 1800 degrees Celsius for a deeply caramelized crust.

Major Tom

Dished/Daily Hive

That’s probably the best part about dining here if you’re lucky enough to get a reservation.

There is something for everyone.

There are bite-sized hors d’oeuvres, like the very popular crispy hen eggs with pepperoni jam or the potato doughnuts with fresh cheese, aged balsamic glaze, and freshly cracked pepper.

The fois gras made with coffee, date jam, and Japanese Milk Bread is our favourite of five different appetizers, and there are even pasta dishes that conveniently come in two different sizes.

Trout, duck, chicken, and steak dishes round out the menu entrees. There’s even a burger for those looking for classic comfort in a formal setting. It’s made with Benchmark aged brisket, American cheese, caramelized onions, pickles, and French fries.

“Major Tom is a place for all Calgarians to enjoy an elevated dining experience in a casual, comfortable, energetic, and unpretentious atmosphere,” said Thompson.

“Our guests can choose how they’d like to ‘use’ the restaurant – whether it be for a special occasion or an impromptu snack and a cocktail.”

And if you are coming in for a quick cocktail, it’s one of the best bar programs in YYC.

We tried the classic gin martini and the Butterfly’s Elbows original cocktail.

The MT gin martini is garnished with not just any olive but one stuffed with lemon mascarpone. The Butterfly’s Elbow is shaken with Empress 1908 gin, elderflower liqueur, lemon, honey, cava, and baby’s breath. It was a light drink that still had beautiful layers of complexity.

Major Tom

Dished/Daily Hive

So how do you make a reservation at a swanky spot that always seems full and has no phone line?

Plan early or be willing to improvise your night on the fly.

“Reservations can be obtained via our website and are available 90 days out,” Thompson explained to Dished.

“Guests are also encouraged to walk in at whatever time suits them best, we’ll accommodate them as soon as we are able to. If there is a wait, you can enjoy a cocktail in our foyer or take a walk on Stephen Avenue and we’ll notify you when a table is ready.”

If you’ve never been to Major Tom, do yourself a favour and make a reservation whenever you can. It’s the best reason to dress up that we can think of.

Enjoy the view!

 

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Major Tom

Address: 700 2nd Street SW #4000, Calgary

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