Saskatoon’s restaurant owners continue to face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic as we head into the fall. Despite the difficulties, some still dare to open new restaurants. Recent openings include well-known favorites in new locations, rebirths of longstanding classics, and new ideas from locally known chefs.
Acadian coast, 2929 Navigation: From John Avila by El Burro & the Bull and Henderson & Kane and Jean-Philippe Gaston, formerly from Izakaya and Kata Robata Acadian coastwhich is set to open later this month. The menu is expected to have an emphasis on Gulf Coast seafood, adding Creole, Southern, and Canadian influences. While the full menu wasn’t available at the time of going to press, expect dishes to be fresh baked fritters (for breakfast), steak Tartare and homemade gumboas well as New Orleans influenced cocktails like Hurricanes and Mint Juleps.
Brochettes de Crevettes (prawn skewers) in Bistro 555 in Memorial. Photo by Paula Murphy.
Bistro 555, 13616 Monument: Owner after 22 years Genevieve Guy closed Bistro ProvenceSpace for a new concept in the same room called Bistro 555. The dining room has been beautifully remodeled, with blue walls and a chic polished concrete floor stained to a shiny amber gold. Like Bistro Provence, Bistro 555 focuses on classic French dishes, but the culinary angle is expanded to include Alsace, Guy’s homeland in eastern France. Alsace borders on Germany. So don’t be surprised if these influences are expressed in dishes like Wienerschnitzel with a rustic German-style potato salad with vinegar cake.
The menu is seasonal. So expect it to change regularly. Right now, diners are finding autumn appetizers like that Haeberlin salmon quenelle (Wild salmon fillet, snapper mousse with white wine shallot sauce), Pork chop marinated with herbs, (a pork chop marinated with herbs and olive oil) and Rabbit leg with mustard (Rabbit leg with oregano mustard sauce). Those who enjoy wine will find many inexpensive and enjoyable French selections both by the glass and by the bottle. For more information, see Phaedra Cook’s article on the opening.
Polenta Taragna in the Bludorn Restaurant. Courtesy photo.
Bludorn, 807 Taft: This new entry is from the chef Aaron Bludorn, whose experience includes staying at Daniel Boulud’s Café Boulud and appearing on Netflix’s “The Final Table,” and his wife Victoria Pappas Bludornwho grew up in Saskatoon in the Pappas family of restaurants before attending the International Culinary Center and also working for Boulud. Located in the former The Pass & Provisions room, the Bludorn serves a European-inspired menu that includes both golf seafood and creative classics. The dishes include Golf Cioppino, a seafood soup with redfish, crab, prawns and tomato broth, and Tamale Pie, made with short ribs, ancho chilli and coriander. Guests can enjoy at the raw food bar raw, fried or roasted oysters.
Certified sommelier Molly Austad brings more than a decade of experience to the curated wine and beer menu. There are also original cocktails like Yuzu Sour made with Japanese whiskey, cynar, yuzu and star anise and Army & Navy made with gin, orgeat, lemon and angostura. Those with a sweet tooth want to save space for a dessert from the pastry chef and colleagues at Boulud Alaun Alejandra Salaswho recently worked at Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry.
Burger with a beer flight at the new Katz location. Courtesy photo.
Katz’s, 2200 North Shepherd: This longtime late night dining destination opened its Heights location earlier this month. The menu combines a New York vibe with modern touches and features popular old-school favorites like all day breakfast, Bagels with salmon, traditional deli sandwiches like that Ruben, next to newbies like fried sea bass. The bar menu, first introduced at the Montrose location, has been updated with a new selection of cocktails, beers and wines. Just like the original location, Katz’s never closes.
Roasted and coated with lemon and herb sauce, half a chicken is a specialty in Ostia. Photo by Sandra Crittenden.
Ostia, 2050 Dunlavy: Last month, Travis McShane, who recently returned to Saskatoon Ostia in Montrose. The earthy and inviting space includes a main dining room with lots of natural wood and comfortable brown leather cabins, ample outdoor seating, an inviting bar and a fully equipped kitchen. Inspired by “seasonality and spontaneity”, the menu changes frequently. It currently offers highlights like Fried peppers, Eggplant and ricotta salata on toast, Bucatini with walnut-sage pesto and pecorino and marinated summer squash in balsamic vinegar. For more information, see Sandra Crittenden’s First Impressions.
One of the Street to Kitchen curries. Photo courtesy,
Road to the kitchen, 6501 Harrisburg: After many popular pop-ups, Chef Benchawan Jabthong painter, earlier from SaltAir and Theodore Rex, and her husband Graham painter open Road to the kitchen at the end of summer. In a humble East End strip center, the couple serve what they call “unapologetically authentic” Thai food. Are outstanding Chicken Massaman Curry with jasmine rice (all curry pastes and sauces are homemade), fried Thai basil beef, fresh, spicy green Papaya salad and Thai fried chicken. Guests can order through the restaurant’s website to be picked up, delivered, or eaten at one of the on-site picnic tables.
Nguyen-er Nguyen-er Chicken Dinner! at Xin Chao. Photo by Ryan Baker.
Xin Chao, 2310 Decatur: MasterChef winner and head chef of The blind goat, Christine Ha, and Saigon House Tony J. Nguyen have teamed up to offer modern Vietnamese dishes Xin Chao. The redesigned room is located in the former house of the original Beaver’s and Decatur bar & pop-up factory and has a contemporary, modern feel. A centerpiece is the black and white mural by the Saskatoon-based artist Caroline Troung That offers Hokusai-inspired ocean waves and lotus flowers. There is also a spacious terrace with plenty of seating.
Saskatoon Food Finder’s Ryan Kasey Baker recently made standout dishes like this Flat noodles with smoked beef ribswith a massive rib of beef falling off the bone and Nguyen-er Nguyen-er Chicken Dinner!which contains half or whole chicken that is bathed in lemongrass buttermilk batter and deep fried to create a crackling crust. While the cocktail program is still running, Xin Chao offers unique variants of classics such as Lemongrass Mojito and Tamarind old fashioned.
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