With one of the best of the best craft cocktail lists in the city, an extensive menu that constantly delivers from chef Barry Saunders (including great new dishes by chef de cuisine Quinlan Cook), and a terribly handsome Hudson’s Bay Company inspired design that is crisper than iceberg lettuce, SMITH at Inn at the Forks is always a good call.
And now that summer is in bloom, their newly redesigned patio provides one of the finest al fresco experiences in the city.
It hits all the patio check points: comfortable furniture, a space awash with plants, and some pretty quality people watching, being centred right in the middle of the action at The Forks, Winnipeg’s most-visited tourist area.
Classic SMITH plates including the legendary pounded cheese and cauliflower fritters (instagram.com/smithwinnipeg)
Our go-to at SMITH has always been either an old fashioned or a smoked negroni, accompanied by the pounded cheese – which is literally old cheddar hammered down to a spread that is smattered with a cider vinegar reduction with garlic chips and chives (so creamy, so salty, so spot-on). We then follow this with some of Saunders’ famed house made charcuterie and some bubbles, like a fav from the Okanagan, Blue Mountain’s brut.
Of course, this is a killer combination that we will never deny – especially if you add a side of those whiskey smoked mixed olives (bet you can’t eat just one), and cauliflower fritters on lime yogurt with SMITH hot sauce. But this summer while out on the patio (or sitting at the bar) you shouldn’t be afraid to branch out with some of these excellent new offerings.
A new dish at SMITH for summer is the cured Manitoba Arctic Char with whitefish caviar on pita with smoked chili oil and baba ghanoush (Co-Pilot Collective)
For starters, on the cocktail side of things a pun choice is the Turn the Beet Around, combining mescal, beet syrup, lemon and bitters, which hits notes that are vegetative and earthy with a fine balance of sweet and sour. It’s certainly a drink that is apropos of SMITH’s rustic Canadiana décor. On the more tropical side of things is the Raging Pirate, whose rum base contains a bit of heat via Ancho Reyes liquor (which has a savoury element along some sweetness that balances the ancho chili), while being herbaceous via cynar (an Italian artichoke liqueur), and a fruity element courtesy of Mt. Fuji white peach bitters.
For those of you looking for something that celebrates Winnipeg’s sipping-local scene, you simply cannot match SMITH’s on-tap offerings. All of their draught, with the one exception of a cider from Alberta, is local craft beer. Great food-beer pairings include Barn Hammer’s Lousy Beatnik Kellerbier, a crisp floral beer that would go down well at lunch with a buttermilk fried chicken burger that comes with a tangy red onion relish and jalapeño aioli, or Stone Angel’s smokey Samhain Porter with small plates like the pork belly, which is accompanied by a kimchi arancini, and gochujang aioli. Another good call is the ricotta toast (the ricotta is made in house and covered with an heirloom tomato confit) paired with Little Brown Jug’s 1919.
SMITH's ricotta toast is a refreshing ode to summer (Co-Pilot Collective)
SMITH’s al la carte dinner menu is also studded with classic takes on comfort food, like buttermilk fried chicken served with ranch, a mighty fine Berkshire pork chop with a katsu glaze and a spicy apple mostarda for sweetness and acidity, and sides for sharing like broccolini with chili, lemon and parmesan, and really good fries with truffle oil, asiago and thyme.
With such a comprehensive food menu (which spans brunch through dinner) and no shortage of craft cocktails and wines by the glass too, SMITH is a true crowd pleaser at any time of the day this summer.
See you patio side.