Our youngest spent this past summer in Montreal with the goal of becoming more proficient in Canada’s official second language, so she was the perfect lunch date to accompany me to Promenade Café and Wine at the historic corner of Rue Tache and Boulevard Provencher in St. Boniface.
As we ordered, she told me tales of the poutineries in the Plateau area of Montreal and one place in particular which was open 24 hours a day and served over 30 varieties.
Once I started thinking about poutine I couldn’t get it out of my head and just had to have it. I also wanted to sample something a wee bit new, so I chose poutine topped with tourtiere meat. The tourtiere recipe I’m familiar with is a combination of ground beef, pork and veal seasoned with cloves and sage. This version used bison tossed with cloves, all spice and paprika and was rich and savoury. The fries themselves were thickly cut from what must have been huge potatoes, because they were as long as the width of my hand. They were topped with both squeaky cheese curds and shredded gruyere cheese that added a smoky tone. The piping hot gravy (the high temperature is a must, so that the cheese melts), included a taste of red wine and French herbs.
Bekah selected the Reuben, another staple from her time in Montreal. She said the meat was abundant and that the chef had used Montreal smoked meat (which was her preference) as opposed to corned beef. The proportions of sauerkraut, cheese and dressing were just right, she said — but her yardstick was that the juices ran down her arm when she took a bite. A tossed house salad accompanied the sandwich but she could have chosen the daily soup.
Promenade is well-positioned for much success with a gorgeous view overlooking the bridge, the historic Forks and the amazing Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
Owner Shawn Brandson is no stranger to St. Boniface, having once owned Provence and also provides the food service for Fort Gibraltar (the home of Festival du Voyageur). I’m anxious to return for breakfast and the special-tasting menus that Shawn and his chef create on a regular basis. To that end, I’ve reserved a romantic table for two with the best view in the house for my husband’s upcoming birthday (please don’t tell him — it’s a surprise).
Kathryne Grisim’s foodmusings.ca blog was named best local blog in Uptown Magazine’s Best of Winnipeg readers’ poll