Neighbourhood: Little Italy
Address: 500 Corydon Ave
Phone: (204) 284-6666
With every change of season, the setting of Confusion Corner Bar & Grill always remains befitting. The distinctive brick eatery sits at the gateway of Corydon Avenue, a hopping destination in the summer. Its second-story patio is a major draw because of its aerial view and high-tech retractable awning. During winter, the brick, slate and wood decor of the dining room, coupled with a sleek wood-burning fireplace in the middle of the room, evokes the feeling of a ski chalet deep in the mountains.
The restaurant targets hip, young professionals, cleverly capitalizing on a demographic that loves a good time. Top 40 beats pour out of the speakers; sexy black-clad staff offer casual service; and Executive Chef Ryan Martin maintains a menu (which changes with the seasons) that balances contemporary preparations with comforting favourites.
As expected from a restaurant known for its lounge and patio, appetizers are well‑executed. Herb-crusted goat cheese is a fun DIY canapé. Break into the ball of battered chèvre and spread it on a crostini. Add meatiness with a slice of sautéed portobello mushroom. Drizzle it with raspberry compote to heighten the flavour for when you pop the morsel into your mouth.
Hefty lumpia rolls are a subtle variation on the spring roll. The Filipino specialty has a minced pork centre, which offers textural contrast to the crispy, flaky wrapper. A house-made sweet chile sauce cools the seasoned meat.
A delicate seafood risotto is artfully presented with a skewer of three juicy scallops standing tall in the bowl. The luscious beurre blanc rice is mixed with parmesan, enhancing the creaminess level. Crunchy bits of asparagus and the acidic burst of grape tomatoes add relief to the weighty dish. An even more impressive bowl is the cranberry Dijon chicken penne. El dente noodles are bathed in a sultry mustard cream sauce. The sweet zing of sautéed cranberries mixed with subtle sour notes of Dijon give the pasta a fresh personality.
The entrées are anchored with stick-to-your-ribs meat and potato fare, but Chef Ryan’s careful attention to flavours makes these standards stand out. As promised, bison short ribs fall off the bone, leaving behind no trace of gristle. A deep red wine jus brings dimension to the brawny dish. A pair of French-cut pork chops is an eye-catching presentation. The fine crust of green apple, hazelnut and honey offers an irresistible candy quality that draws the meat’s juice to the surface.
If you have room after devouring the substantial portions, the kitchen prides itself on fresh house-made desserts. The rustic hot fudge brownie mimics homemade baking, complete with chewy corners from the pan.
Confusion Corner Bar & Grill is open Mon-Thu 11:30 am-midnight; Friday 11:30 am-1 am; Sat 11am-1 am; Sun 11 am-11 pm.