Address: 281 Donald Street
Originally a movie theatre, the century-old building that houses the Metropolitan Entertainment Centre has been lovingly restored to its former glory by CanadInn’s Leo Ledohowski. Over the last five years, Ledohowski—with the help of daughter Lea, an architect, and his son Lane, a construction specialist—has been hard at work recovering the spectacular architectural details, heralding the days when Winnipeg was the boom town of the West.
Though it would be easy to allow the opulent backdrop of the Met to dictate tastes, the kitchen under Chef Rick Cole has smartly chosen to veer from tradition. The menu, though it nods to the Jazz-age and home-cooked comforts, has a refreshingly modern twist and flirts with fusion and whimsy.
A traditional reuben sandwich is re-imagined into an Asian- American spring roll spotlighting house-brined corn beef and new-style sauerkraut with sweet pickles. Paper-thin salami slices are transformed into surprisingly delightful jerky-style chips, balanced by light and crisp waffle-cut potato chips.
It seems that after a year of operation, The Met is hitting its stride. Now, the dinner entrees are beginning to rival the magnificence of the room itself (no small feat). While the second floor dining room drips with chandeliers, warm hues of ivory and sage, and plaster gryphons that stand guard over beneath the ornate ceiling above, the Chicken Fontina delights on the plate below. It is light and savoury, stuffed with delicate Mediterranean-inspired notes of artichoke and sun-dried tomato, and served atop a flavourful rosemary-infused jus. The short ribs recall fall-off-the-bone comfort of a pot roast dinner: simple in composition, yet rich in flavour.
Expect more surprises on the ultra-contemporary rooftop patio, which just may be Winnipeg’s most underrated outdoor dining spot. Soak in two views of downtown’s re-energized SHED district, and sample from the specially-curated outdoor menu. If the weather turns, you can always head downstairs to the lounge and grab a bite in front of the big baby grand.