There’s so much in store for you at SMITH this summer, so let’s jump right into it.
Nothing says good times at a socially appropriate distance like one of the city’s largest patios. At SMITH, which is situated right in the middle of The Forks, al fresco opportunities abound, with options for shade, sun and lounging ‘til your heart’s content.
High tops, low tops, love seats, you name it -- SMITH has it. All of the outdoor seating provides ample space from your fellow patrons, while the newly extended patio now offers a whole new area on the sidewalk on the west side of the hotel. The whole scene is awash with plant life too, providing a pretty complement to your dining or drinks experience.
New sips for summer
SMITH’s cocktail program always adheres to a gold standard. Over the years we’ve fawned over many drinks here, like the smoked Negroni (they barrel aged the gin in oak), the Manitoba Fashioned (made with Northern Harvest Rye, maple syrup and housemade bitters – it’s on the current menu too!), while they’ve always made perfect margaritas and Moscow Mules that are served the way they were meant to be - on the rocks and in a copper mug with plenty of mint.
That said, all the new libations we tried are showstoppers too.
Tequila fans will rave about The Pink One, which almost looks too good to drink. The colour comes naturally from strawberry syrup which buttresses the smooth Cazadores reposado tequila, while lemon juice and bitters bring that sour balance. The edible stars on top (they slowly dissolve into the drink, being made of sugar) add that extra flair. Another Instagrammable new drink is the Prairie Rose. It features Winnipeg’s own Patent 5 Gin, rhubarb syrup, lemon and Canadian rose water, all topped off with Canadian prairie rosebuds.
Gin enthusiasts can go for the Gin Vibe, composed of Beefeater, blue curacao (for that retro hyper-coloured look), or the terrifically tart tall Negroni (“with bubbles”) made with the additions of Prosecco and soda for extra bubbles that rise to the surface of the substantial highball glass.
Rum is also an obvious choice for a hot day, and SMITH’s Jungle Bird balances its sweetness (they use Plantation five-year) with bitter Campari, caramelly demarra simple syrup, and sweetness and acidity from pineapple and lime juice.
The dish on new dishes
There’s also plenty of new items vibing on the food menu too. Wednesday through Saturday is a great time for dinner to try out chef Barry Saunders’ treatment of local fish and meats. His beast and catch specials have recently featured a beautiful medium-rare flank steak paired with buttery potato pave (both dressed in umami-forward beef reduction) and broccolini. Last week’s surf was a 6 oz salmon (hard sear on the presentation side, perfectly set in the middle) on a bed of quinoa with chewy shiitake and beech mushrooms, roasted cherry tomatoes and asparagus.
On top of this, all our favourites are still there, including the buttermilk-fried half chicken with ranch, the SMITH burger with its maple bacon, and all those primetime sides like Bothwell mac n’ cheese, beets with crème fraiche and dill, and crispy truffle fries.
If you're just doing snacks and drinks, the cauliflower fritters are divine. The heaping portion of cauliflower is done in a non-greasy tempura-like batter, while cutting through is a zesty lime yogurt and plenty of cilantro. That legendary pounded cheese is always ready to bring some salty indulgence to your table too, to make your drinks sing that much louder. (Seriously, we've never not ordered the pounded cheese to start; it's that good.)
The most important meal of the weekend (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) is back on too – which is an added treat when you can eat your eggs outdoors. The Red Flannel Hash has housemade corned beef mingling with crispy Yukon Golds and local beets, all of which is topped off with two Vita eggs. The Benny is a hit too, with a buttery hollandaise that’s always on point.
There’s also plenty of lighter items along with a menu of lunch fare on at that time too.
Live Music & pop-up parties
Starting on Friday, July 17, SMITH will also play host to some great local musicians whose sweet sounds will accompany your dining experience. On that night check out Pale Ryder, then kicking off your Friday's moving forward will be Sean Burns (July 24), Copper Moon (August 7), and Jess Rae Aire on August 14.
And speaking of hip happenings, did you know that outside of SMITH, Sparrow Hotels has also recently took over the restaurant/catering operations at the Winnipeg Art Gallery? (The Group also runs ERA at theCanadian Museum for Human Rights, and The Wood Tavern and Pauline at The Norwood, while we'd also like to add that Inn at The Forks has also been making donations to The Main Street Project every month during the pandemic).
As part of this, this summer they are teaming up with the WAG to present the Rooftop Retreat Pop-Ups. Most nights will feature food from SMITH along with a cash bar (featuring SMITH cocktails) and some great performances from local artists like Jaywood (July 16) and Sweet Alibi (August 6).
You can find those full details here.
Great for groups
Finally, are you and the work crew (or the fam?) looking for a meeting space that goes above and beyond? SMITH has numerous options – including the Solstice Room, The Cabin and The Library Table – all of which provide ample seating space that is social-distance approved.
For inquiries, head to firstname.lastname@example.org.