I believe that Winnipeg is a wonderful place to raise a family and was not surprised when I heard the story of Chew owners Kristen Chemerika-Lew and Kyle Lew and their desire to select an alternate lifestyle for their family than the one Toronto provides.
I was also not astonished by the quality of their offerings once I read of their culinary pedigrees. Chew is an excellent addition to Winnipeg’s vibrant culinary scene.
Upon entering the inauspicious storefront, contained in a little retail strip, I was immediately stuck by the warm but simple décor. Our servers were equally warm and accommodated us for a quick dinner even though they were chock full with reservations.
Immediately, a basket of just-plucked-from-the-oven bread was placed in front of us with a ramekin of marrow butter alongside. The bread was yeasty and delicious on its own, perfection when smeared with the butter.
Two enormous, seared sea scallops subsequently arrived with a saffron-infused cauliflower puree and crispy beet chips for crunch. The scallop was crusty on the outside and just barely cooked on the inside, which is exactly the way I like them. My companion would have appreciated them more if they had they been left in the searing pan for slightly longer.
Moving from the tastes of the sea to the deep and earthy flavours of the land, next up were roasted mushrooms. The wild mushrooms were made rich and creamy when the poached egg yolk perched on top seeped through them.
Totally unnecessary, but a delight just the same, were the truffle fries that we indulged in as well. The hint of precious truffle oil elevated the already memorable fries to a whole new level. When we return and I am somewhat braver, I may try the other fries on the compact menu, made from slivers of pig’s ear.
My dinner date returned for lunch the very next day and recommends the beet and fig vinaigrette with crunchy pistachios and halloumi cheese, as well as what she described as an Italian version of a BLT, including delicate, unsmoked Italian bacon. For extra measure, they also ordered a side of pecan-smoked bacon to taste the contrasts in flavour.
532 Waterloo St. (at Corydon Ave.)
Lunch and Dinner Menus, Tuesday to Sunday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Kathryne Grisim’s foodmusings.ca blog was named best local blog in Uptown Magazine’s Best of Winnipeg readers’ poll.