RUDY’S EAT & DRINK
Address: 375 Graham Ave
For the past decade, Rudy’s has been downtown’s destination for pre- and post-event dining, with its location in Manitoba Hydro’s sleek building placing it within strolling distance of Jets games and concerts. Décor updates have been made since it opened: the video wall flashing 1950s advertisements is no longer there, interior colours have changed and a massive outdoor seating area was added a few years back. Yet the subtle juxtaposition of modern and retro décor and the energetic vibe remains intact.
Adornment aside, Rudy’s magnetic appeal comes from its dedication to pumping out classic comfort dishes with precision and flair. Chef/owner Michael Schafer is responsible for this winning formula, having been a significant contributor to Winnipeg’s culinary scene since opening Sydney’s at the Forks in 2005.
Even before this year’s trend watch, Rudy’s has been serving up nostalgia, upgrading timeless classics. Stodgy 1950s vegetables are long forgotten here. Instead, find cauliflower bites enlivened with romesco and pickled onions, and crispy-fried Brussels sprouts with miso-roasted pearl onions, licoricey fennel seed and some mystery magic sauce called gyu mayo imparting loads of umami.
Beyond veggies, the menu tempts table sharing. Try the escargots laden with garlicky parmesan butter and untraditionally piled onto jumbo portobellos.
Creative salads expand the comfort food repertoire past carbs. Chicken salad takes inspiration from Thailand, mixing in julienned fried carrots and rice noodles with chili lime dressing. Soy ‘caviar’ pearls add a playful pop to this cold dish.
Those who equate summer with eating grilled meats will be rewarded here too. Beef tenderloin is charred, meltingly tender and amped up with a kicky shallot and ginger reduction. Mac ‘n cheese, perhaps the ultimate comfort food, is deep fried, slathered in mornay sauce and topped with mushroom ragout.
Even the dessert menu harkens back, with vanilla crème brûlée or deep-fried bread pudding. Both deliver the special satisfaction of being just what you were craving.