Tag Archives: Fine Dining

Chez Sophie sur le pont: Magnifique!

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 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.

Chez Sophie Sur Le Pont on Urbanspoon

A lovely anniversary dinner at Beaujena’s French Table.

This past weekend was a special one for Darlene and me.  We celebrated our 4th anniversary as a couple.  We exchanged kisses and gifts as I arose for work early Friday, but little did I know that Dar had more up her sleeve this year.

As I went out the door for work leaving her in bed she told me to be ready to dress special for dinner.  WHAT?  No clue to where we were going??  Just dress nice.  What a brat! My mind was spinning all day.  What were we going to dine on?  Should I dress casual or to the nines?

When I got home from work she finally relented and told me to get dressed for St. Boniface’s french quarter.  We were going to Beaujena’s.  Beaujena’s even for the residents of St. B is a mystery.  A husband and wife team run the 24 seat restaurant and the menu is known to change at a whim.   Once seated you are at the mercy of the chef.

Not to worry though, for years the reviews of this establishment have been solid to say the least.  Myself, a seasoned eater and more that welcome to eat whatever is put in front of me, was cool.  More to the point I worried about Darlene,  although not a picky eater, she really does have preferences and I thought that a “Strange” dish could have thrown our dinner off the rails.

The first dish of our seven course meal was a baked lemon with anchovies, cheese and olives.  Served with bread, it was strange for sure but savory, sweet and tangy all at the same time.  This dish shouldn’t have worked but it did, it was light and really awoke my palate.

Baked lemon with bread. This should never have worked but yet it did.

The second dish a light garden tomato soup.  The soup was silky smooth and rich, none of the extra acid one would normally expect from a tomato soup was present.  Rich and velvety, all around excellent.

Smooth excellence garden tomato soup

The third was a trio of quinoa Arancini stuffed with a light white cheese,  fried to a golden texture.  I am not a huge fan of quinoa, but I did like the treatment of the ingredients, everything worked well together.  If you like the grain instead of rice you’ll love these, served in an acidic red sauce they almost taste like pizza bites.  Everything works in this dish except for my dislike of quinoa.

Trio of quinoa balls in red sauce.

Fourth came an evolved seafood dish,  calamari stuffed with shrimp served on a light mustard sauce.  To my taste the shrimp stuffed calamari was perfect, a nice interplay between the two sea creatures.  As I told Chef Randy after the meal however, Darlene and I both found the mustard a bit overpowering.   Seafood by essence is delicate, mustard should be left for more hearty meats.

Squid stuffed with Shrimps

Bacon Squared turned the corner on flavor, throwing subtle out the window and giving us full two barrel flavor.  Bacon and fatty pork belly really make you hit the wall.  Salty, fatty but balanced with a supremely acidic gastrique.  It all works, if you like fatty pork, if you like bacon, if you enjoy a good tangy pickle you will love this dish.  It’s over the top in richness but saved by the gastrique which cuts through it all and just delivers flavour.

Three levels of heaven, the Bacon Squared

Thankfully a cleansing salad was served before dessert, a joyfully light portion of Asian greens with beets and a blue cheese vinaigrette.  Thankfully light and acidic.  Fighting once again through the very heavy levels of the bacon and pork belly.

Asian green salad with beets and blue cheese vinaigrette.

I bet you thought I forgot about dessert , not by a long shot friends.  The Chef himself brought out our decadent rich chocolate torte.  He and I discussed how the dinner progressed, Darlene seemed content to just sit and listen.  Waiting for the first perfect bite of an obviously obscenely wicked treat.

Beaujena’s chocolate torte. So rich, so delicious.

One cannot explain a meal like this in a few sentences.  Was the meal perfect? How was the service?  Did we have a great time?

For Beaujena’s I can solidly say that the total of the experience was well above average, the food was an exploration of what food can be, the service was personal and friendly.  Darlene and I got to reconnect in many ways that went above food and flavor.

If you and your special someone have more than a few hours to kill.  Do check out Beaujena’s French Table.  For romance and good food you will not forget the experience.

Beaujena’s French Table

Bob's Place Winnipeg restaurants

Date Night: The Current at the Forks Market

Last weekend with all the hub-bub from Christmas and New Year finally past and a few bucks in our bank account thanks to Darlene’s ever joyful mother Rose we were given explicit instructions to go out and enjoy a nice dinner somewhere we had never been before.  You see not only does Rose care very much for our well being but she is also a frequent reader of Exploring Winnipeg and Beyond and loves to live vicariously through our dining experiences that I chronicle here in my blog.

So after much hand wringing and wondering what we wanted to eat for our weekend out we decided on The Current located at the Inn at the Forks, a fairly recent addition to the Forks Market property.  Reservations were booked in a flash using the Open Table app on my phone and we got all fancied up for a well deserved night on the town.

The Current at the Inn at the Forks

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In Ferno’s Bistro: Prairie Fusion at its Best.

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 Bistro

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Segovia Revisited: A chat with Chef Donnelly.

After my evening out at local tapas restaurant Segovia the other week, I hoped to dig a little deeper in to what made this place tick.   As luck would have it the owners of the trendy eatery in Osborne Village were more than happy to accommodate my request for an off hours chat and photo session.

Segovia Entrance and Patio Area.

I arrived just after 3 pm while Segovia was closed between lunch and dinner service.  Luckily Carolina Konrad, Chef Donnelly’s partner spotted me taking photos of the patio area and warmly welcomed me in to the strangely quiet restaurant. Continue reading