Promenade Café and Wine
Neighbourhood: St. Boniface
Address: 130-C Provencher Blvd
Setting the stage for romance with candlelight flickering across the smooth tops of custom-made, rustic wooden tables, Promenade Café and Wine boasts breathtaking views of the bustling Esplanade Riel, the historic Red River and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. This 90-seat restaurant offers a rare river-facing patio during the summer months.
Owners Shawn Brandson and Connie McKane-Brandson create a feast for the senses with a cozy atmosphere, live music on Friday and Saturday nights, and, of course, decadent French food. Fresh, regional cuisine highlights Chef Neil Higginson’s attention to detail. He nods to the restaurant’s St. Boniface location, incoporating local bison in classic French-Canadian tortière.
The wine selection garners a lot of attention as guests are encouraged to match wines with specific dishes.
Rich pâté maison spread over a toasted baguette brushed with garlic and olive oil creates a texturally complex starter enhanced by the sharp tang of pickled red onions. A tantalizing combination of zesty sautéed crevettes served with garlic crostini and crispy sweet potato chips teases the taste buds. The salade aux champignons, made with portobello, shiitake and button mushrooms, contains earthy contrasts as funky, crumbled blue cheese and a lightly acidic vinaigrette highlight the meatiness of the mushrooms.
The boeuf bourguignon, with hearty chunks of beef slow simmered in lush red wine and stewed with zucchini, carrots and mushrooms, is a classic cold-weather comfort food.
A few entrées offer a choice of two preparations. The saumon, for example, is served seared with a lemon, caper and white wine sauce or grilled with a Saskatoon berry sauce. The chef’s palate-pleasing panache steals the spotlight in the former, as the creamy, subtly citrus sauce showcases the delicate fish without overpowering it. Another tempting offering is the grilled pork tenderloin sinfully sweetened with Napoleon brandy and maple glaze and accompanied by steamed asparagus.
As for dessert, the traditional isle flotante, a baked meringue topped with toasted almonds and caramel floating in crème anglaise, leaves the impression that la vie est belle indeed!