Friday, 22 February 2013

Bistro 7-1/4

The open kitchen, surrounded on three sides by a kitchen bar for ten (10) diners.
My November 2012 visit to Bistro 7-1/4, a play on its address (725 Osborne St.), was actually my second visit to the restaurant and the first since its early 2012 expansion.  I'd first explored it the previous summer and had the pleasant opportunity to dine at the kitchen bar, giving me an uninterrupted view of the chef and sous-chef working in the small open kitchen.  Unfortunately, I had forgotten to bring my camera with me (sacrilège!), so I made sure I came back again camera in hand.  This time, I was unable to sit at the kitchen bar, but I got to see the expanded side of the restaurant.
The bar.
The bar and the expanded dining area.
The open kitchen, the decor of the place and the charming helped bring about a relaxed atmosphere.  The place was filled with the aromas of the cooking, the clinking and shaking of drinks being made, and the cacophony of lively conversations between diners.  This is one of several restaurants in Winnipeg offering French cuisine or at least French-inspired cuisine, but Bistro 7-1/4 also takes liberties in the use of ingredients not traditionally found in French cuisine, such as curry or sesame oil.
Bread with unsalted butter, sea salt and house-made tomato jam.
While waiting for my main course to arrive, I was pleasantly surprised by the house-made tomato jam that came with the bread.  Its flavour in terms of intensity was about midway between sundried tomatoes and tomatoes prepared for bruschetta, and it was just enough acidity to whet my appetite.  I also appreciated how they provided unsalted butter, allowing one to add salt to one's desired taste.
Veal with pan-seared tuna, sauteed kale, roasted potatoes and citrus cream sauce.
Bistro 7-1/4 has quite a selection of Moules et Frites (Mussels and Fries), as well as a variety of small and large plates.  However, for the main course I ordered a special of the evening, veal and tuna.  The veal cutlet rested on roasted potatoes and a citrus cream sauce, and was topped by slices of pan-seared tuna.  Though I did enjoy the tuna and the veal, I actually had a greater impression surprisingly with the sauteed kale.  I enjoyed how they were slightly creamed and tender coupled with a nutty flavour.
Coconut dark chocolate pudding with toasted coconut and lime syrup.
Coconut dark chocolate pudding with toasted coconut and lime syrup.
For dessert, I was wooed by the the coconut dark chocolate pudding with toasted coconut and lime syrup.  I appreciated the mild level of sweetness and the contrasting textures between the coconut and the pudding.  However, I could only detect a faint hint of lime occasionally.  Otherwise it was a light and delicate ending to another pleasant meal.

Bistro 7-1/4 was definitely overall a very good experience, my only regret being that I was unable to get a kitchen bar seat this time.  Reservations are recommended, especially for the kitchen bar seats, as this place can get pretty packed on a weekend.

Name: Bistro 7-1/4
Address: 725 Osborne St., Winnipeg, MB
Cuisine: French
Price Range: $30-$50
Accessible: Yes

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