Neighbourhood: Assiniboine Park
Address: 55 Pavillion Cres.
Phone: (204) 938-7275
Housed in the Assiniboine Park pavilion, fine dining destination Terrace Fifty-Five looks out onto picturesque lawns stretching in all directions. The location’s stunning tableside views have attracted the city’s movers and shakers for years. Wow! Hospitality Concepts took over the venue in 2008 (former home to Tavern in the Park) and hired Chef John Scarcella, a veteran Wow! chef of Pasta La Vista, to create a contemporary seasonal menu focusing on Canadian seafood and regional ingredients.
Subtle changes have been made to the atrium-like dining room since Terrace Fifty-Five moved in. New to the space are chocolate-brown leather booths that line the perimeter. Another addition is a blown-up photo of a lily pond across the back wall, which thoughtfully mirrors the terrace’s summer pond. There is a romance about the room thanks to slim, almost candle-light wall sconces, along with vases of fresh-cut flowers on every table and strings of fairy lights lining the outdoor terrace.
For a refreshing Canadian seafood starter, opt for sterling salmon tartar. Presented in a bowl made of smoked salmon (which was later devoured), pieces of smooth pink flesh are minced with onions and parsley to create a fresh, invigorating taste sensation. Spoon the mixture onto crustless white and brown toast triangles, or a piece of house-made baguette for a base. Slivers of cucumbers marinated in rice wine vinegar and topped with a dollop of citrus marmalade are pleasant palate-cleansing accompaniments.
On the opposite end of the taste spectrum, trendy sliders offer zippy flavour and contrasting textures. Two soft-as-a-cloud fluffy buns are each speared with a sweet pickle. Pulled strands of Manitoba Berkshire pork marinated in tangy barbeque vinaigrette provides a little zing. The enjoyable crunch factor comes from a topping of coleslaw and thin-cut fries on the side that crackle with each bite.
A long list of entrées identifies a couple of house favourites that demonstrate Chef John’s flair for luxurious seafood creations: lobster pot pie and déjà vu. In the former, a deep-dish ramekin is filled with rich brandied cream sauce topped with flaky puff pastry crust. Glorious sweet morsels of lobster swim in the mixture alongside seasonal mushrooms (hand picked by the restaurant’s Chef de Cuisine in summer months), onions, carrots and celery. Déjà vu is light in comparison with smooth, squid ink noodles bathed in butter sauce tinged with lime and crushed chiles. Plump shrimps, scallops and salmon infuse a subtle taste of the sea, while a heap of crunchy fried and battered leeks crowns the dish.
Vegetarians can choose from a few options, including satisfying goat cheese crêpes. Subtle tangy parcels of Québec goat cheese, leeks and mushrooms are wrapped in a soft, crêpe blanket and drizzled with tomato sauce and parmesan.
Keeping with the decade’s popular trend of upscale comfort food, tenderloin country stew is executed here to perfection. The stew’s rich, thick gravy is loaded with garden vegetables and slices of tenderloin that practically dissolve. A crumbly smoked gouda and herb biscuit can be used to sop up every last drop of gravy.
End the meal on a sinful note with chocolate raspberry deception. This devilish dense cake has an unusual earthiness from the beets and a mild chocolate taste. A sweet candied beet chip, crème fraîche and tart raspberry coulis garnishes create unique flavour dimensions not usually found in desserts.
Terrace Fifty-Five is open Tue-Sat 11:30 am-11 pm; Sun 10:30 am-2 pm and 5 pm-11 pm.