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Comfort food on the menu

Capital Grill's downtown location offers fresh take on familiar fare

Opinion

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/11/2018 (581 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The original Capital Grill in Charleswood is a popular neighbourhood joint, as well as a destination spot for fans of elevated, well-executed comfort food. Chef Wayne Martin has expanded to offer a second location downtown, which will be good news for diners looking for fresh, refined takes on some classic bistro dishes.

The taste

Capital Grill on Broadway
275 Broadway
204-416-1144; capitalwinnipeg.com

Go for: fresh, thoughtful takes on comfort food
Best bet: Oh, those truffle fries
Small plates: $9-17; Mains: $17-34

Capital Grill on Broadway
275 Broadway
204-416-1144; capitalwinnipeg.com

Go for: fresh, thoughtful takes on comfort food
Best bet: Oh, those truffle fries
Small plates: $9-17; Mains: $17-34

Monday-Sunday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

★★★★ stars

 

STAR POWER

★★★★★ Excellent
★★★★ Very Good
★★★ Good
★★ Mediocre
★ Substandard
No stars Not recommended

Familiar menu items often get a boost from a thoughtful touch. Cauliflower soup gets subtle complexity from miso, while a nicely dressed salad of baby kale is finished with a mix of dried and fresh blueberries and nutty, toasted Manitoba hemp seeds.

The truffle fries use Kennebec potatoes. Many spud aficionados say these white tubers make the best french fries, and the Capital’s version makes an excellent case for this position. They’re beautifully crisped up and offer lots of flavour, augmented with the umami undertow of truffles.

Popcorn shrimp, which can be the worst kind of bar-food cliché, are kind of adorable here, the little shrimps fat and juicy and just lightly breaded.

Small, round, delicate crab bites are tasty, served with garlicky mayo, but it’s the accompanying, second-billed apple salad, bright and tart, that almost steals the show. I would gladly eat a whole plate of that.

The fish and chips at the Capital Grill downtown are outstanding, offering crisp and light batter with none of that gluey undercoating. (Phil Hossack photos / Winnipeg Free Press)

The fish and chips at the Capital Grill downtown are outstanding, offering crisp and light batter with none of that gluey undercoating. (Phil Hossack photos / Winnipeg Free Press)

The fish and chips are outstanding. Halibut is tender but firm, and the beer batter is impeccable — crisp and light and with none of that gluey undercoating. As accompaniment, there are more of those very good fries, as well as coleslaw that’s creamy but could use a bit of zing.

The pickerel is also good, with two nice pieces of fish, the mild flavour complemented with smoky bacon, delicate corn kernels and browned gnocchi, all brought together with a buttery lemon thyme sauce.

Steak frites is another classic done right, starting with a nicely marbled piece of angus beef, served with asparagus tips and rich, wild mushrooms and wrapped up with an unfussy red wine reduction. The accompanying fries, dusted with herbs and parm, are terrific.

The bucatini with pesto and veg features pasta with a nice slight chew, but the basil cashew pesto is a little underwhelming.

Truffle fries are beautifully crisped up and offer lots of flavour, augmented with the umami undertow of truffles.

Truffle fries are beautifully crisped up and offer lots of flavour, augmented with the umami undertow of truffles.

The pizza was also a slight letdown. The arugula and prosciutto option is tasty and bountifully generous with layers of prosciutto, but the mozza and tomato sauce feel a bit standard and the crust a little too bready.

The dessert menu offered just two options the nights we were there, but both were pretty near perfect. A little lemon tart combines mellow curd with a tender shortbread crust, while a spongy-moist sticky toffee pudding is resonantly dark and deep, the caramel flavours offset with vanilla bean ice cream.

The space, just renovated, is warm and good-looking in a Nordic kind of way, with white chairs and blond wood and a few hits of red. Service is welcoming and professional, though diners should know that the downtown lunchtime can get busy.

The ambience at Capital Grill’s Broadway location is warm and good-looking in a Nordic kind of way, with blond wood and a few hits of red.</p></p>

The ambience at Capital Grill’s Broadway location is warm and good-looking in a Nordic kind of way, with blond wood and a few hits of red.

alison.gillmor@freepress.mb.ca

Alison Gillmor

Alison Gillmor
Writer

Studying at the University of Winnipeg and later Toronto’s York University, Alison Gillmor planned to become an art historian. She ended up catching the journalism bug when she started as visual arts reviewer at the Winnipeg Free Press in 1992.

Read full biography

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