Neighbourhood: Assiniboine Park
Address: 55 Pavilion Cres
Phone: (204) 938-7275
A landlocked restaurant with an evolving name has found its sea legs, so to speak, with a captivating parity of land and aquatic proteins.
Terrace in the Park, formerly Terrace Fifty-Five and Tavern in the Park, occupies the solarium of iconic Winnipeg landmark, the Assiniboine Park Pavilion. The dining room is horseshoed by a lush vista and overlooks a romantic terrace (hence the name) and twin pergolas, the sole survivors of a fire that levelled the original structure in 1929.
Fine bones such as these demand little embellishment. Fresh cut flowers and chocolate-coloured banquettes, installed by WOW Hospitality when it took over the space in 2008, fit the bill.
Chef Simon Resch riffs off the lofty and light setting, on each elegant, understated plate. The ambitious chef worked closely with local suppliers on a menu that defines the restaurant’s identity: fresh seafood.
Resch intelligently uses Asian tastes to highlight aquatic proteins. This approach peppers a group of ‘medium plate’ offerings we found well suited for sharing; scallop ceviche with lime, Thai chile and sesame oil or yellow fin tataki with Thai basil, ponzu and ginger paste. Nods to Mediterranean, Latin American and French cuisines are seamless and contribute dynamic pacing to the lineup.
A house take on oysters Rockefeller has half shell beauties topped with an umami explosion of crab and miso cream cheese baked golden under a panko flake crust. The pinnacle is the finish, a small rush of oceanic brine.
Mussels, from the cool waters of B.C.’s Quadra Island are lush, sweet and huge. Each supple fold of the yonic mollusks harbours silky tomato butter sauce and bits of roasted red pepper.
From the land, roasted butternut squash soup with goat cheese cream glides over the palate, teasing with robust specs of superfine espresso.
If you’re not yet a chicken liver convert, let this pan-fried rendition be your gateway dish. Presented over robust balsamic and red wine reduction, with bite-sized tomatoes that burst with welcome acidity, the dense morsels have a crisp crust yielding to richly bitter meat.
Terrace in the Park is open Mon-Sat 11:30 am-final dinner seating; Sun brunch 10:30 am-2 pm; dinner 5 pm-final seating.