Brunch at Star Grill on Portage Avenue isn't just eggs, pancakes and waffles. Dig into a Thai Lime Vermicelli Noodle Salad topped with grilled chicken breast. Every bite of this cabbage slaw and rice vermicelli salad sings with bursts of cilantro and lime.
Star Grill has been in business for 16 years.
It's not located in any of the city's hot dining districts like downtown, the Exchange District or Corydon.
And it doesn't have the buzz that comes with having a so-called celebrity chef manning the kitchen.
This is what it does have: A finely tuned, varied and thoughtful menu skillfully executed and served in a playful and cheery dining room that plays on an astrology theme. It’s conveniently located on bustling Portage Avenue and is also easily accessible from Winnipeg’s largest green space, Assiniboine Park, across from the park’s pedestrian footbridge over the Assiniboine River.
This breakfast, lunch and dinner spot serves house-made burgers, sandwiches, salads and pastas (many with nods to Asian cuisine) and great selection of brunch favourites including sweet and savoury waffles, eggs benedict, omelettes and breakfast pizzas. Cheeses are used generously throughout the menu and add twists to the expected. (Blue cheese burger, anyone?)
Star Grill also uses regional ingredients in dishes such as panko pickerel and bison meatballs, to name two.
The Asian-influenced dishes really stand out in the crowd.
The lime vermicelli salad is a mess of slurpy noodles, crunchy crisp red cabbage, red peppers and roasted peanuts all dressed in a tangy citrus and sweet vinaigrette. Served cold, this filling salad (one of six salads on the menu) makes a healthy mid-day meal.
Meanwhile, Asian hoisin lettuce wraps are a sloppy good time. A half head of iceberg lettuce leaves are the vessel to deliver grilled shrimp, chicken or tofu and a mess of stir-fried veggies in these do-it-yourself wraps. Ginger, soy, lime and sweet hoisin permeate every juicy bite.
The restaurant was opened in 1996 by local business maven Shirley Vlassie, who previously owned several local eateries and now also operates a catering business from Star Grill.
Star Grill is licensed and has a loyal and large following. Weekend brunches are particularly busy. Make reservations to avoid disappointment. Children are welcome but only booster chairs are available.