Elements

Neighbourhood: Downtown
Address: 599 Portage Ave
Phone: 786-9237
Entrées: $14-$26

At Elements, food is smart, well executed and environmentally conscious just like its home, the new Richardson College for the Environment and Science complex.

Ingredients are, wherever possible, locally grown and organic. Presentations aren’t pretentious.

Make no mistake, a meal at Elements is far from expected. Instead Elements delivers sassy spins on global favourites.

Opening in late October, the  83-seat breakfast, lunch and dinner spot is the work of Diversity Foods, a partnership between the University of Winnipeg and Seed Winnipeg that employs new Canadians, Aboriginal people and at-risk folks.

Morning through night, Elements’ food gets top marks. This new spot enchants with such charisma and character that we have fallen head over heels.

For starters, a snack of spicy bacon caramel popcorn sets an impressive tone. This chewy, self-indulgent treat masterfully marries sweet and fiery.

Savoury grilled chicken tacos are served open face on authentic corn tortillas made by Winkler company CT Foods. Cilantro lime cream provides a smooth subtle tang atop a vibrant fresh-diced salsa and pickled carrot slaw in this snappy delight.

Shrimp and toast is a feel-good snack. Lightly grilled, house-made focaccia bears a melange of shrimp, mushrooms and spinach all simply sautéed in white wine, garlic, salt and pepper.

Pad Peanut, Elements’ version of traditional pad Thai, delivers spirited zest with notes of lime and ginger. Bok choy, celery and carrots bring a blend of crunch while thin noodles in bold peanut sauce provide a silky bed. A smoked tomato Caesar salad delivers as promised with hickory flavour and just a hint of tomato.

For dinner, faultlessly tender miso-chili glazed pork ribs offer benignly spiced sweet heat. The accompanying wild rice is a chewy medley of rustic delights including pine nuts, corn and julienne carrots.

Elements’ grill adds charred depth to house-made focaccia croutons, and carrots, parsnips and zucchini wedges that accompanied dinner on one visit.

With hints of woody pine, chicken in juniper brine is a sure-footed supper that redefines comfort food.

Fragrant carmelized onions and mushrooms accentuate a simple grilled breast of chicken. Roasted new potatoes and wedges of crisp carrots, parsnips and zucchini finish this satisfying meal.

The house-made cheesecake with whipped chevre, vanilla and lemon on a buttery rich wafer crust is outstanding and without question, some of the best in the city.

The blueberry compote is made in house and offers a subtle kiss of summer—transporting diners to a sunny day picking berries roadside.

Elements is open Mon-Thu 7 am- 9 pm; Fri 7 am-11 pm; Sat 9 am-11 pm.