The other night my lady and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary together as a couple, the weekend was young and a nice dinner out was in order. As you may suspect there are many excellent local establishments we could have tried but as it happens we had hankerd to try a little bistro only 2 minutes from our home.
In Ferno’s, cleverly named after the head chef Fern Kirouac specializes in giving a mixture of classic French and Mediterranean dishes a decidedly Canadian twist. Using local seasonal foods and honouring the traditions of chefs who let the rhythms of nature set the menu. It also never hurts that a favourite of mine moules et frite (mussels and fries) is given a place of honour with its own menu section.
Surprisingly, we booked a table with only one days notice but were relegated to the earliest seating. 5:00 arrived and we were ushered in with no delay. The renovated building at Marion St and Rue Des Meurons in Winnipeg’s French Quarter of St. Boniface, is tightly packed with tables but not to the detriment of comfort or service.
Proceeding with our orders which included appetizers of Soupe à L’Oignon Gratinée (French Onion Soup) , and main courses of Le Petit Mignon for Darlene and Médaillons de Boeuf Sirloin Poivrée for myself.
A delicious selection of fresh bread was served with our wine while waiting for the soups to arrive. When the soup graced the table after a short wait it looked picture perfect. The cheese toasted to the correct shade of brown and draped elegantly over each bowl. The broth was a bit of a surprise, using port in the mixture Chef Kirouac gives the soup a delicate yet hardy taste that matches well with the onion and Gruyère cheese.
After draining every last drop from the soup our mains arrived. Darlene’s fillet mignon had a very nice sear on the surface and looked perfectly rested when she cut into it. She described it as melt in your mouth tender and wonderfully seasoned. My main course of sirloin pepper steak medallions was equally wonderful. Tender and cooked perfectly rare as I had requested. My partner playfully describes rare meat as “Mooing” but I disagree.
The cream sauce that coated the sirloin had a perfect ratio of richness to counterbalance the bite of whole peppercorns. In all honesty the only comparison I can make to this meal would be to the Steak au poivre, that I enjoyed at Brasserie Les Halles in New York. Although the meat at Les Halles was perhaps a bit more flavourful being a different cut, I found the pepper sauce much more balanced at In Ferno’s.
Both dishes came with seasonal vegetables consisting of a purée of squash with whole broccoli and a baked potato on the side. The purée to my palate was well suited for the season although some diners may find the strong flavours of squash a tad unsettling.
Overall I can understand why there is almost always a waiting list to get into In Ferno’s Bistro. The food quality is very high, the service is exceptionally friendly and the prices reasonable. Our dinner for two came to around $80 with wine and starter. A price that lesser restaurants often hit, but never with the savvy provided by Chef Fern Kirouac and crew.
I highly recommend In Ferno’s for your next gathering of friends or just you and someone special.