Thursday, 24 March 2011

Friends, Manitobans, Countrymen...

It's not often I go to Winnipeg more than once a month, but this was my second trip in March, the first one being just two weeks ago for a planning conference.  This time it was to see Emilie-Claire Barlow perform at the Park Theatre.  Though there was no dress code to see the show, I thought that wearing a suit was in order.  With my wearing a suit, I decided to take the opportunity to try a fine dining restaurant for dinner before going to the show.  I'd been meaning to try Amici (Italian for "friends") for a couple of years, and at last the opportunity arose.
Though the restaurant had a regular menu it also had a few daily specials on offer, but with only the Italian names of the dishes written on the insert I was grateful for the helpful staff to give me detailed descriptions of the specials.  With that I opted to go first with one of the appetizer specials, Mussels in White Wine Sauce with Peppers.  Two kinds of peppers were used, red bell peppers and peperoncini, also known as Tuscan peppers.  Bits of shredded basil added a fresh angle to all the flavours of the dish, and the broth was quite delicious.  I liked the use of peperoncini as, having been pickled, it added a sour touch to the dish to help enhance the appetite.
For my main course I ordered Carre d’Agnello Arrosto, or Roasted Provimi Lamb Rack with Herb Crust and Root Vegetables.  The ends of the rack unfortunately weren't medium-rare as I requested, but I suspect it had to do with three sides of the bone being exposed to heat rather than just two like the inner two bones.  Fortunately the meat was still tender enough all around.  The carrots, celery and parsnips were roasted nicely, and the sauce was delectable.
A side plate of vegetables also accompanied the dish, a move that reminded me a bit of when I went to a couple of fine dining establishments while in Australia.  The vegetables included string beans, beets, pureed sweet potatoes and, my favourite in this dish, a bit of leek and sundried tomato frittata.
For dessert I opted to go for one of the lighter dishes, Meringa con Limone e Lampone, or Layers of Crisp Meringue filled with Lemon Curd and Raspberry Cream.  The crispiness of the meringue made it slightly difficult and messy to cut down into bite-sized pieces, but at the same time that crispiness made each bite playful, mellowed a bit both in flavour and texture by the lemon curd and raspberry cream.  The lemon curd was slightly stronger than the other flavours, but not by much.

Amici was another Italian restaurant in Winnipeg worthy of a visit.  This is another relatively small restaurant, but perhaps because of its downtown location, and with it being a weeknight rather than a weekend, it wasn't as busy as I expected it could've been.  Also, if Amici's price range is a touch too high for you, the owners also run the Bomolini Wine Bar downstairs which offers food in a more casual setting.

Name: Amici
Address: 326 Broadway, Winnipeg, MB
Cuisine: Italian
Price Range: Lunch $15-$30; Dinner $20-$75
Accessible: No

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