Step 'N Out: Seafood Fantastique
UPDATE: In spring 2014, Step 'N Out owners decided to retire and closed down their restaurant.
Don't let the 700-plus shoe collection adorning every wall set you on your heels.
Same goes for oodles of pictures, posters, photographs and newspaper and magazine clippings framed and hung throughout.
What might be considered kitsch and quirky doo-dads in any other restaurant, just adds to the charm and personality of Step 'N Out, one of Winnipeg's enduring dining rooms.
In business for the past 16 years, the St.Boniface establishment has built a solid reputation for outstanding food and professional service.
The 35-seat bistro features an ever changing menu, written daily on large wipe boards with gilded frames. The boards are delivered to each table and set on easels for perusal by guests. Lunch and dinner menus are created from whatever's fresh in the kitchen. While favourite dishes make recurring appearances or with slight variations, regular diners must expect the unexpected.
On our recent dinner, nine of 11 entrées were seafood dishes. Lobster, crab, pickerel, shrimp and mussels loaded the menu.
House-made rolls with whipped butter were delivered warm to the table and began our meal. They were simple and simply fantastic and were a harbinger of great things to come.
Plump crab cakes with a lemongrass aoili struck a fine balance of flavours. Crab was the star but didn't crowd out notes of minced onions, corn and (best guess) dashes of dijon. A crisp crunchy layer of light breading held the divine morsels together. A squeeze of fresh lemon added extra brightness to the cakes, which are a top seller (according to our server).
Mushroom and tarragon velouté (or in this case soup) was a perfect autumnal warmer. Dense, earthy and hearty mushroom was intermingled with tarragon.
For rich indulgence, nothing beats grilled shrimp with lemon saffron risotto. Creamy (very creamy) risotto came down to earth with a jolt of fresh lemon throughout. Every last grain disappeared.
On the other side of the table, seafood and asparagus linguine with grilled Nova Scotia lobster tail, grilled shrimp, fresh dill and lemon-cream was an instant hit. Dill did its magic with the lemon cream, while the grilled seafood took centre stage.
We left pretty proud of ourselves realizing we had found another gem in Winnipeg's restaurant scene. And then we remembered we are extremely late to the party—16 years late, to be exact.
Insider's tips: Step 'N out is closed Sundays and Mondays. Open for lunch until 2 p.m. and dinner begins at 5 p.m. Reservations are recommended for dinner. Dinner entrées start at about $25.
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