Beaujena’s french table

Neighbourhood: St. Boniface
Address:
302 Hamel Ave
Phone: (204) 233-4841
Entrees:$39-$49; lunch $10

Once exclusively a fine-dining gem tucked away in residential St. Boniface, Beaujena’s French Table, a passion project run by Chef Randy Reynolds and his wife Beaujena, is expanding its palate, so to speak. By night, it remains a romantic date-night destination featuring modern interpretations of French and Mediterranean cuisine. By day  Beaujena’s serves up lip-smacking sub-style sandwiches — served wrapped in foil, no less.

A savoury-sweet pickerel po’boy features a crisp-on-the-outside, flaky-on-the-inside pickerel croquette, densely layered with a sweet cranberry slaw and  potent tarragon mayonnaise. The decadent death by bacon, one of Beaujena’s summer food-truck hits, boasts succulent pork belly, juicy thick-cut bacon and confectionary apricot mayo.

Dinner offers the choice between a five or seven-course prix fixe surprise meal. The menu, which changes monthly, is absent from the table, offering the added thrill of anticipation. Ample time is given between dishes to savour and  enjoy; allow at least four hours for the seven-course meal.

Beaujena’s is the kind of place you’d want to spend an evening. Warm and inviting, the intimate 24-seat eatery is decked out in bold royal blues and punchy oranges. The décor recalls Van Gogh’s Sunflowers; summer’s biggest bloom shows up everywhere, from bursting vases to bejeweled napkin holders.

Spongy onion flan bathed in a smooth cheese sauce spiked with pink peppercorn sets the tone for the meal: rich and flavourful. The silky lemon potato soup is zesty without being tart. A tender cod fillet is spiced up by a light breading with notes of nutmeg and cinnamon that really sing.

Tender gnocchi in tomato-basil sauce serves as a bed for the meal’s pièce de résistance: brawny beef meatballs packed with slivers of mushroom and Danish blue cheese that burst with tangy flavour.

A substantial slab of tourtière follows. Buttery crust gives way to perfectly seasoned beef while the pairing of vinegary artichoke salsa verde offers a refreshing counterpoint.

The palate is cleansed by a simple salad of radish, cucumber and tomato in a fresh mint and Dijon vinaigrette, before the meal is capped by a dark-rum tiramisu, warmly spiced with nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon.

Beaujena’s French Table is open Wed-Fri 11:30 am-1:30 pm and Fri-Sat 5 pm-midnight.