Sunday, August 5, 2018

Avenue Restaurant

There is a new restaurant in town in one of the most gorgeous buildings downtown.  Dale MacKay, the first winner of Top Chef Canada, opened his first restaurant in Regina, following the success of his three restaurants in Saskatoon.  Avenue, the newest addition to the Grassroots Restaurant Group, has received a very warm welcome from Regina residents; it's getting rave reviews, and is always busy.

We had been wanting to try this restaurant for a while, but we rarely go out to eat in town.  This week we decided to make up for lost time and go twice to really get a feel for the menu.

On Tuesday evening we shared the pork belly press to start:

Talk about good first impressions!  This dish was the perfect mix of sweet and savoury, with a touch of spiciness.  We both absolutely loved it, and were left wanting more.

I didn't find it overly fatty, which was a nice surprise to get from a pork belly dish.  We'll absolutely be ordering this appetizer again in the future.

Christopher ordered the puttanesca pasta.

He really enjoyed it, but thought it wasn't as good as the puttanesca that he had at Little Grouse on the Prairie in Saskatoon, which is also part of the Grassroot Restaurant Group (to be fair, it's hard to beat the pasta at Little Grouse).  What made this puttanesca unique was that it had beef in it, which I've never had in a puttanesca dish. 

I ordered the beef wellington, medium rare as recommended.

It was perfectly cooked, and the pastry was delicious and buttery.  The portion was small, but more than enough for someone like me who rarely orders steak or steak-like dishes.  The asparagus side was very simple, and the horseradish cream on the side was delicious.

Everything on the menu sounded mouth-watering, so we were excited to return to this restaurant.

Last night we got a table in a different section of the restaurant (both tables we had were great, and we're looking forward to sitting up at the bar-seating to watch the chefs sometime).

We ordered three smaller plates, and one larger entree and shared everything.  First up was the local fried asparagus.

This dish is one that should not be overlooked on the menu.  It is flawless.  The asparagus is so crispy, and the lemon, balsamic, and pecorino pair so well with it, that I am convinced even a non-vegetable lover would be won over by this green snack.

The beef tartare was memorable, and the caper flavour really stood out, which we enjoyed.  There was a perfect amount of grilled ciabatta on the side to use as a vessel for the tartare.

Check out that lovely little yolk!

Diefenbaker trout gravlax was next (with pickled potato, deviled egg, dill, crispy capers, and pumpernickel):

This dish was quite good, but didn't stand out as one that we'd order again.

The rotisserie half chicken was fabulous, and the vegetables on the side paired perfectly with it, as well as with the succulent chicken jus.

I was spying on Avenue's Instagram yesterday, and saw that the chef had been shopping at the farmers' market around the corner that morning.  I'm guessing the peas and potatoes in this dish were bought at the market, as they tasted so fresh.

Christopher didn't care that he was in public and in a nice place, he picked up the bones and made sure he got every last morsel of meat off of them.  This was a beautiful dish to the last bite.

On both visits our service was top-notch, and the beverages top-shelf.  We left very satisfied, and eager to return, already talking about what we want to try next time.  I'd say our favourite dishes so far are the pork belly press, and the fried asparagus - must orders for sure!

Next time we visit I think I'll try the lamb sausage, the scallops, the chicken wings, the peas and carrots, pork chop, perogies ... ohhhh my this is getting out of hand; it all sounds good!  Looks like we're going to be hitting this place up many more times.

If you're local, have you been to Avenue yet?  What did you order?
Is there a restaurant in your city you've been wanting to try?

1 comment:

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Yum, all of this food looks amazing. It's always great when a restaurant you are excited to try more than lives up to your expectations. We haven't tried any new restaurants lately. We tend to go back to the same places over and over again. Our favorite is 112 Eatery. We were there last for our anniversary in May and hopefully we will come up with another reason to go back there as I'm craving the lamb sugo!

We don't have cable so I haven't been able to watch the latest seasons of Top Chef on Bravo. That is probably the only show I miss watching! I think they eventually put the seasons on Amazon prime so hopefully they will be available sometime soon so I can binge watch them! I have such a crush on Tom Colicchio. He's not what people consider traditionally good looking but I just love that guy!