Address: 75 Forks Market Rd
Entrees: $17 – $72
In recent years, a turn back to traditional craftsmanship, simple preparation of beautiful ingredients and focus on local fare has swept the culinary world, resulting in the now burgeoning arena of regional cuisine with a nod back to nostalgia. Smith is a well-executed mix of Canadian comforts.
The vast space inside Inn at the Forks is a magnet for groups and local culinarians with Canadiana at every turn. Striped Hudson Bay blanket banquette seating, tree stump tables set near hunter plaid lounge seats and deer antler chandeliers transform a corporate hotel into a stylish woodsy cottage.
Trendy dishes are fine-tuned here, melding the country’s bounty with the craftmanship of the kitchen’s mastery. House preserved pickles (on charcuterie) and sauerkraut (with house-made corned beef) pay tribute to Manitoba’s pioneer spirit and traditions. Well executed buttermilk fried chicken sandwich keeps appetites sated for the rest of the day, topped with red onion relish, fresh greens and a spicy aioli inside an airy brioche bun.
Appetizers blend old-school ingredients and preparation with modern favourites and contemporary daring, like duck confit croquettes. Three densely filled potato balls with duck and wild mushrooms are served atop dollops of zingy lemon mascarpone. Sharp pickled shallots brighten each meaty bite.
Entrées served à la carte allow for a mix and match approach toward sides. Pan seared gnocchi laced in brown butter and sage hits a high note, as does a sweet bitter Waldorf salad, blending classic iceberg and radicchio with tart apple and red grape. Caribbean jerk-rubbed lean meat is finished with a smoky corn and grilled red onion salsa and kicky rings of fried jalapeno. Opt for the province’s preferred catch and enjoy lightly pan-fried pickerel dressed in brown beurre blanc and crowned with a generous green onion nest.
Chocolate frosted pecan sponge cake layered with dulce de leche is a perfect capper to a hearty meal, a lingering morsel of nostalgia that tells us we’ll be back.