Introducing Smith, Winnipeg’s newest restaurant

smith at Inn at the Forks

Smith
Inn at the Forks
75 Forks Market Road
204-944-2445
Website: http://www.smithrestaurant.ca
Twitter: @smithwinnipeg

Facebook: none

At first glance, it’s hard to know what a restaurant named Smith is all about.

But one look at the menu and the intention is clear: food is a craft to be celebrated.

Springing the most meat-leverage menu since Carnaval opened, the Inn at the Forks new house restaurant Smith is a loving homage to the farm table.

This table is set with grass-fed prime rib, brisket, house made kielbasa and sauerkraut, grilled lamb shoulder and house-cured ham cooked in hay. (That whole cooked-in-hay thing is a bit of a mystery to us too.)

Steak tartare, fried stuffed olives, curry wurst, fried quail egg with chanterelle, and baked pork belly with grits and tomato also populate the menu.

Smith is about craftsmanship, the finer points, honest food and local, seasonal Canadian products, Ben Sparrow, Inn at the Forks owner told me.

“It’s all about crafted foods,” says Sparrow, whose family has been in the hotel business for more than 70 years. (They own the Norwood Hotel, Mere Hotel and the Inn at the Forks.)

Unpack the menu even a bit more and that fine-tuned real-food food comes clearer into focus. Some of those sides include: baked cream corn, crispy brussel sprouts with mustard, leek and potato perogies, roasted cauliflower with currents, fries with pecorino and truffle oil and sour cream and chive mashed potatoes. (Here’s a link to the sample menu, which is subject to change.)

And that menu has executive chef Alex Svenne, former owner of Bistro 7 1/4, written all over it.

“Alex, he is really credited with pushing the culinary scene forward in Winnipeg,” says Sparrow.

“We were looking for someone who is more restaurant focused, someone who can be the culinary face of this new restaurant who has experience with casual fine dining and is very forward focused,” Sparrow says.

Svenne fit that description exactly, he says.

Smith is set to open mid-September. (The tentative opening day is Saturday September 13.) The restaurant and lounge will seat 170 and a 70-seat patio will open in the warmer months.

Smith replaces The Current, the Inn’s original restaurant which also celebrated the local, fresh and seasonal movement and was headed up by executive chef Barry Saunders. Saunders now takes over a new position, as executive chef at Era Bistro in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Era Bistro is scheduled to open September 27, one week after the CMHR officially opens. A pop-up version of Era will be open on September 20, grand-opening day at the CMHR.

Meanwhile, Smith will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and late-night dining. A la carte Saturday and Sunday brunch will be served as well as a special Sunday dinner every week.

Peg City Grub is your ultimate source for food in Winnipeg. From the hottest chefs to the best new restaurants to the most delicious events, we’ve got you covered. Follow us on Twitter @pegcitygrub and visit www.tourismwinnipeg.com for more on the city’s fabulous dining options.

Peg City Grub is a Tourism Winnipeg culinary initiative.

 

 

Battle for Burger Supremacy 2014

Rob Ford burger by Cibo Waterfront Café. (Photos by Brett Howe, Charcoal Collaborative.)

The Rob Ford Burger by Cibo Waterfront Café. (Photos by Brett Howe, Charcoal Collaborative.)

Le Burger Week 2014
September 1 to 7, 2014
30+ Winnipeg restaurants
Website: leburgerweek.com
Facebook: facebook.com/LeBurgerWeek
Twitter: twitter.com/leburgerweek

Here’s a whopper of a challenge: Eat as many burgers as you can in one week; vote for your favourite one; and then rest and digest.

Winnipeg’s version of Le Burger Week is upon us again. The week-long contest runs September 1 to 7 and pits some of the city’s most popular restaurants in a battle for burger supremacy. Half Pints Brewery is also an official sponsor for 2014. The burgers, on average, range in price from $10 to $15.

This is the second year for the local competition, which is patterned after the original version in Montreal. This year, five cities across Canada are putting up their best burgers.

Last year in Winnipeg, Nuburger (formerly Unburger) was crowned the burger king. Saigon Jon’s, a fast casual Vietnamese chow spot and Table Manners, a pop-up burger stand at Bistro 7 1/4 and The Neon Factory were both named runners-up.

Charcoal Collaborative, a group of creative types in Winnipeg, are the organizers behind this year’s competition once again. For a full list of the 2014 competitors, visit charcoalcollaborative.com. You will also find a bunch more burger pictures to get you in the mood.

In the meantime, here’s a little taste of this year’s competition:

Burrito Splendido: Chorizo Burrito Burger
House-made Manitoba pork chorizo patty with melted cheese, choice of salsa and/or lettuce, Mexi-slaw, cilantro, oven-roasted jalepeno, lime, sour cream, chipotle mayo inside a 100 per cent Manitoba wheat tortilla.

Marion Street Eatery: Tickle my Pickle Burger
6 oz. certified Angus beef patty, aged cheddar, bacon, spicy dill sauce, deep-fried pickles, fried egg, tomato and dill pickle chips on a Kaiser bun.

Cibo Waterfront Cafe: The Rob Ford
Smoked crack(ed) black pepper beer bun with two, four-ounce smashed patties, hand-cut bacon, smoked cabbage coleslaw, charred onion aioli and house pickles.

Bernstein’s Deli: Sweet 2 Meat U
Beef sausage patty, four strips of bacon, buttermilk pancake, chipotle maple syrup, organic strawberry jam on toasted challah bread.

Saigon Jon’s
All-natural beef patty (1/2 lb), mini shoestring fries, Bothwell cheese curds, gravy, bacon, pickled duke, lettuce, tomato and secret sauce on a kaiser bun.

So, given the descriptions and photos, it’s pretty clear creativity and imagination are alive inside kitchens across Winnipeg.

And now it’s your turn to offer your stomach to the cause and help choose Winnipeg’s best burger.

Burrito Spendito's Chorizo Burrito Burger. (Photo by Brett Howe, Charcoal Collaborative)

Burrito Spendito’s Chorizo Burrito Burger.

Tickle my Pickle Burger at Marion Street Eatery.  Photo by Brett Howe, Charcoal Collaborative

Tickle my Pickle Burger at Marion Street Eatery.

Peg City Grub is your ultimate source for food in Winnipeg. From the hottest chefs to the best new restaurants to the most delicious events, we’ve got you covered. Follow us on Twitter @pegcitygrub and visit www.tourismwinnipeg.com for more on the city’s fabulous dining options.

Peg City Grub is a Tourism Winnipeg culinary initiative.

Review: Café Dario

Cafe Dario

Cafe Dario (Photos by Robin Summerfield)

Café Dario
1390 Erin Street
204-783-2813
Neighbourhood: West End
Website: cafedario.com
Facebook: none

Twitter: none

When you ask locals what are their favourite restaurants, Café Dario doesn’t typically get loads of love.

It should.

This West End restaurant is located off the beaten path inside a cozy two-room bungalow.

Inside, you’ll get one heck of a dinner deal. The four-course price fixe dinner menu is a deal at $39. There are many appetizer, entrée and dessert options. A salad and soup course also round out the meal.

The Latin American-inspired menu also has a pan-global feel. You’ll find Canadian salmon wrapped in a banana leaf with a corn cream sauce. Pork tenderloin with a spicy chili rub and sweet mango pulp is also for dinner. Elk osso bucco, beef tenderloin and rack of lamb are also in the kitchen.

Lunch, meanwhile, is an a la carte affair featuring some of the same tastes as dinner.

Chef/owner Dario Pineda-Gutierrez has taken culinary inspiration from his childhood in Columbia and transformed those flavours and techniques for Winnipeg diners. Lucky for us.

Cafe Dario opened in 2006 and after a slow start the West End gem took off. Insider’s Tip: Make a reservation (especially for dinner).

Chocolate mousse with passionfruit coulis at Café Dario. (Photo by Robin Summerfield)

Chocolate mousse with passionfruit coulis at Café Dario.

Inside Café Dario. (Photo by Robin Summerfield.)

Inside Café Dario.

Peg City Grub is your ultimate source for everything foodie in Winnipeg. From the hottest chefs to the best new restaurants to the most delicious events, we’ve got you covered. Follow us on Twitter @pegcitygruband visit www.tourismwinnipeg.com for more on the city’s fabulous dining options.

Peg City Grub is a Tourism Winnipeg culinary initiative.