As my long-term readers will attest I am a fierce supporter of local cuisine. One case in point is a favorite bistro that Darlene and I frequent fairly regularly both for the fine French bistro food they serve there but also arguably the best thin crust pizza within 200 miles of Winnipeg.
Chez Sophie a tiny but highly regarded St. Boniface institution has expanded in a very ambitious way, opening a second site on a bridge over the mighty Red River. Yes dear readers I said on a bridge, but not just any bridge, the Esplanade Riel to be exact. Itself the subject of many of my photo essays and stories over the years. Let me an Anglophone living in the Francophone quarter of Winnipeg be the first to shout it out it’s about time!
Chez Sophie sur le pont from the Base of Esplanade Louis Riel.
Chez Sophie sur le pont serves food that could grace the table of any fine dining establishment in Winnipeg in a unique setting that only a few other rooms can compare to. Darlene and I planned our evening with a nice walk in the French Quarter of St. Boniface and enjoyed the cool evening air as we headed out over the bridge. Looking out over the fork of the Red and Assiniboine rivers hand in hand anticipating our Friday night together.
Luckily we managed to get a table without calling ahead, this location although bigger in scope than the mother ship Chez Sophie still has a high demand for table space. We were seated next to the floor to sky windows of the panoramic dining room overlooking the majestic Red River flowing steadily underneath us.
Our server gave us expert consultation on the menu before we ordered our beverages and quickly returned to take our orders. One thing I had been missing terribly since the demise our go to restaurant Paladin was an all-inclusive meal. Bread, soup, salad and a main without the pain of having to order every item separately and to the pain of the bill at the end of the meal.
Chez Sophie sur le pont delivers that in spades. Supper meals here include both a salad and a soup course as a part of the entrée. Our meal consisted of a delicious mushroom soup with a glorious chunk of home-baked baguette. Finely chopped mushrooms with a hit of fresh chopped parsley bathed our senses in earthy richness. The soup with baguette and butter could have satisfied me right there for a meal.
The Salad was plated delightfully in a square bowl with a tiny “tea-pot” of dressing included inside. The thick and rich home-made dressing is a great treat and accompanies our house salads with honor.
For our mains Darlene chose the Steak sauce à la poivre (Beefsteak with peppercorn sauce) and I opted for the Magret de Canard (duck breast). Both dishes being within $4 of each other it was hardly bank breaking to enjoy the normally out of price duck that features on other restaurants menus.
The mains were cooked as advertised, my duck breast medium rare and succulent in a sauce of balsamic reduction. Which at first I thought overpowering for the duck but upon more tasting found myself wanting more of to balance the rich game flavours of the duck breast. In all it worked beautifully. The beans and bacon could have used a bit more salt and punch from the their sauce but all in all worked well to counter balance the strong flavours of the balsamic gastrique.
Darlene had a completely different flavor profile on her plate, cream sauce and pepper dominated and co-mingled with the juices from her beef to wonderful effect. She reported a well cooked piece of beef to her liking, and a delicious accompaniment of sauce. Much like my only issue hers came with the vegetable accompaniment. The peppers in her mixed veg being a bit to pronounced for her liking.
All in all a very good night as we strolled down the bridge to the Forks Market with a delicious meal in our bellies and warm thoughts in our hearts for Chez Sophie sur le pont.