Prairie Ink Restaurant & Bakery
Neighbourhood Grant Park
Address 1120 Grant Ave.
Much like a captivating story, Prairie Ink offers a plot twist to the usual café fare. Located inside McNally Robinson booksellers, the restaurant serves up an elevated menu of unexpected flavours and dishes executed with flair.
The spacious open-concept dining area invites lingering meals. Light floods from floor to ceiling windows and touches of nature, from the large fig tree in the corner to pots of basil and dill lining the window sill, give the space a refreshing atmosphere.
The menu at times features recipes right off the store’s shelves. Weekly book launches, readings and musical performances create a crowd popping in for dinner and a show.
A glass case, visible upon entrance, is lined with cookies, tarts and cakes – pastry chef Geoffroy Dextraze’s works of art. Colourful macarons flavoured with coconut matcha and lemon poppy seed tempt, while fluffy meringue boasts intense lemon filling and a sprinkle of raspberries. Note to self: save room for dessert.
A penchant for healthful, local product is clear on the menu, which showcases bison, Bothwell cheese and Granny’s chicken. Expect the menu to change seasonally as Chef Chris Kopp utilizes produce from local fields. His traditional approach is seen in soups, salads and sandwiches, but the beautifully executed entrée selection shouldn’t be missed.
Strings of spaghetti squash are laced with housemade curry in a kicky dish tempered by a side of crisp bok choy. Classics also shine, like tender New York steak swimming in creamy peppercorn sauce, which soaks into each bite.
Heart healthy options reveal the kitchen’s love for all. A vegetarian lasagna swaps pasta for quinoa, giving the Italian classic a trendy update. Sliced zucchini, mushrooms and tomato sauce underneath a crisp cheese shell impart earthy flavour. The nutty grain also finds its way into a salad, tossed with spinach, carrots and cilantro, and topped with lime cumin dressing.
The seven-grain veggie burger is another impressive meatless offering, a patty smothered with avocado cream, caramelized onion aioli and Bothwell smoked cheddar on a multigrain bun.