DUG & BETTY’S ICE CREAMERY
Neighbourhood: St. Boniface
Address: 309 Des Meurons Street
Entrees: $8 – $14
An age-old query it is not, but if ever there was any wonder what would arise at the intersection of French bistro fare and artisanal ice-cream offerings, Dug & Betty’s Ice Creamery delivers the answer with aplomb. The brainchild of chef Fern Kirouac, father of St. Boniface mainstay and cross-street neighbour Inferno’s Bistro, this bistro-parlour hybrid has occupied the intersection at Marion and Des Meurons since summer 2019, transforming a once-overlooked squat blue building into a vibrant summer stop for a Parisian-inspired bite or quick cone.
No menu item encapsulates Dug & Betty’s aptitude for wedding casual cuisine with refined flavours quite like the French onion grilled cheese. Savoury caramelized onions layered between two slices of oozing swiss cheese pairs ingenuity with a sophistication that comes with serving one of the city’s finest bowls of French onion soup steps away. Opt instead for the Caprese sandwich and be met with a fresh bang of tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. Cucumber and radish add a crisp crunch while pesto spread provides a nutty zip.
Traditional French cuisine is alive and well in each spoonful of the creamy seafood bisque. Mussels protrude from a creamy broth that hits all the right oceanic notes. No spoon can enter without returning bits of chopped shrimp. If seeking turf rather than surf, chunks of Manitoba bison with a jalapeño kick are surrounded by beans, fennel, celery and other chili mainstays in the bison chili.
One bite of the broccoli pancakes is revelatory. The crisp exterior of these fritter-esque rounds protects an airy interior mixture of broccoli and cottage cheese. Distinctive and delightful on their lonesome, a dollop of skyr, the Icelandic answer to Greek yogurt, and drizzle of sumac and cumin infused honey tops this soon-to-be-crowned classic.
No stop is complete without a cool treat, ordered inside or at the curb-side window. Unique small-batch flavours are cone-ready. The Dashing Dug and Bad Betty sundaes, named after Kirouac’s basset hounds who also lend their names to the restaurant, are another cool meal-capper. But an artisan cookie sandwich affords eating ease. The Fog & Oats tickles the brain by packing London Fog tea flavour into an ice-cold snack, while the Muppet-blue Cookie Monster packs nuggets of cookie dough ice cream between two crumbly chocolate biscuits.
Dug & Betty’s is open daily, 11 am to 10 pm.