Restaurant Roundup: Winnipeg,MB (yes, in Canada)
I know, it's been like a month since I got back from the Great White North. That doesn't mean I can't share some good eats of Canada, right? It was really cold and gray up there in January. The temps were around 0F and I never once saw any kind of direct sunlight from all of the thick cloud cover. And since it's so far north, there's "daylight" for about 6 hours a day. Aside from that, though, it seemed like an alright city. I didn't really get a chance to see more of it than the taxi route from the hotel to either the work site or the airport, but I did eat some very tasty food. And bonus! Extra stamp in the new passport!
Hu's On First
1 Portage E
Winnipeg, MB R3B 2L6
This cleverly titled restaurant (say the name out loud, then realize it's at a minor league baseball stadium) didn't disappoint in the least. There's a wide variety of Chinese and Thai dishes sure to please any palette. The group I went with ordered family style, the way dine out Asian food was meant to be eaten, so we all got to sample quite a bit. I decided to go with a green curry loaded with Thai basil and kafir, lime leaves. It was good and hot, but without sacrificing flavor in the pursuit of heat. I get really peeved when a dish is all capsaicin and no flavor. (This is probably why I don't usually care for most Mexican food.) I also tried a bunch of the other dishes and they were just a good.
One thing I wish they had done, however, is offer varying heats on the dishes they serve. I really like to get the spice going on, but a few others in our group were having a tough time choosing because of it. This is a minor quibble, however. Overall, this restaurant warrants a 4 out of 5 for offering up tasty food at reasonable prices. Next time you're out at a Goldeyes game, you'll have at least one good source of grub.
The Current at The Inn at The Forks
75 Forks Market Rd
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0A2
When I got in the day before the on-site started, I was feeling pretty sluggish and went the easy route: dinner at the hotel's restaurant. I figured that since the hotel had this kind of "swanky" thing going on, the restaurant had to at least be decent. We did, however get off on the wrong foot. I had to wait about 10 minutes until a hostess seated me. This wasn't because they were busy; it's because she had wandered off to who knows where.
I will say, however, that the waiter and food redeemed them. The menu is very eclectic, borrowing the obvious French influences and combining them with a Midwest vibe to produce what I'll call "gourmet prairie" dining. I went with a pork tenderloin served with risotto that left this occasional pork eater digging the pig. The preceding soup and dessert that followed were equally impressive, all at prices that, while not competing with your local Denny's, were very reasonable for the quality. The waiter was also extremely helpful, explaining some of the French terms on the menu foreign to my US lexicon. I also managed to score breakfast down there one morning that proved just as good as the dinner.
Given the largely central location of the restaurant, it's very convenient to get to. The impressive dining is a 4.5 out of 5 experience and is worthy of any traveler's (or resident's) patronage.
Finn McCues (aka Finn's Pub)
210-25 Forks Market Rd
Winnipeg, MB R3C 4S8
Website (MySpace page)
I've always been an advocate of eating at bars. More often than not, you'll end up getting good food at cheap prices. Of course, this doesn't mean that all bars are created equal.
I had some high hopes wandering into this joint, just across the street from the hotel. It had tons of atmosphere: pool tables, dark wood paneling throughout and a labyrinth-like floor plan that said "hey, I've been around a while." This, however, didn't translate into what I was looking for. I ordered a chicken sub with a Greek salad. The sub's bread wasn't bad, but it didn't really have much flavor. The sandwich itself was dry and didn't seem to have much in the way of mayonnaise or any other dressing. Speaking of dressing, the salad didn't seem to have a lot of it either and ended up being a little on the boring side.
The service also left something to be desired. I can understand that when you're waitressing in a near-deserted bar, you're going to get bored. Your top priority is still waiting tables, even if the conversation you're having with your friend is totally engrossing. Not dropping by the table even once after you bring the food just isn't okay. The combination of ho-hum food and lackluster service manages a meager 2.5 out of 5 rating. Even improved service would have only gotten this up to a 3, tops. You need to work on your menu, guys.