Introducing Smith, Winnipeg's newest restaurant - Smith's head chef

Smith's head chef

By: PegCity GrubAugust 28, 2014 // Winnipeg in the News

smith at Inn at the Forks

Inn at the Forks
75 Forks Market Road
http://www.smithrestaurant.caTwitter: @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.

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