Neighbourhood: St James
Address: 655 Empress St
Tristan Foucault is inarguably one of Winnipeg’s pre-eminent chefs. He’s helmed three Wow! Hospitality-owned restaurant kitchens, and has become nearly legendary for his nose to tail approach to cooking. His obsession with the science of curing and spicing meats has earned his charcuterie widespread recognition among Winnipeg’s culinary set. So it’s no surprise that the city’s gourmands were thrilled when Tristan and wife Melanie joined an elite segment of eateries where chef owners are in their kitchens cooking every day, following their passion.
Preservation Hall Eatery and Wine Bar, opened this summer, combines superb culinary skills with charming and exuberant service, making it our choice for best new restaurant of 2020.
The menu offers popular favourites, like steak frites, beef Bourguignon, and meatloaf, but does not shy away from precious delicacies either. Traditional first course dishes like tartare (steak and salmon) contrast melt-in-your-mouth beef and fish with piquant shallots. Slightly sour apple, spicy horseradish, nutty caraway and dill re-imagine the classic salmon mixture.
Second course suggestions are cheekily categorized by ingredient origin: from the land, water, air or garden. Try a stellar, hearty tourtiere or a dense and robust bison meatloaf. The latter is house cured and accompanied by creamy mashed potatoes, delicately sweet braised red cabbage and shiitake gravy, a plate predicted to develop some addicts.
Seared duck is an equally successful iteration of earthy comfort food. Pan seared medium duck breast is sauced with morello cherry glaze and served with kicky, chili flecked broccolini, and smooth-as-butter parsnip-celeriac purée. Each element is alone a triumph, together a memorable medley.
While French cuisine has been utterly naive to plant based eating, chef Tristan’s garden entrées offer such exciting flavour mash ups, committed meat lovers are sure to rave. Mushroom bourguignon finds rich, stewy flavour in its mix of meaty portobellos and cremini ’shrooms, served over a creamy polenta. Riffing on barbeque pulled pork, a novel pulled jackfruit sandwich replaces pig with the exotic South Asian fruit, which packs a spicy punch.
Beyond technique and precision, French cooking, at its heart, delivers pleasure in abundance. This proves to be true when plated at home from take out containers too. And, picking up a hearty meal means you can have dessert even when you don’t save room—that’s a silver lining easy to support. So keep calm and order chocolate terrine. It is slightly bitter, rich and light, absolutely perfect, in not-so-perfect times.