Page 1
Arctic char with wheat berries, seaweed, cep and chaga vinaigrette
No. 93

Deer + Almond has Big Plans

At Winnipeg’s first lockdown, chef Mandel Hitzer decided to use the time and a government loan to renovate his dining room at Deer + Almond. That took two and a half months. With the reopening and return of indoor dining, he introduced a more refined service, finessing his plating style. Then came a second lockdown and, finally, a reopening with 50-per-cent indoor-dining seating capacity. In that, he saw another upgrade opportunity. “I didn’t want to work so hard to do our usual 15 to 17 à la carte dishes for half the customers,” Hitzer recalls. “So, I thought, Let’s do a tasting menu.” And why not? This well-travelled, widely experienced chef had been wanting to create one ever since he launched the restaurant nine years ago but had worried that Winnipeg was not quite ready. Now, the city had evolved — and also had nothing else to do. “There’s no sports, no shows, no entertainment.” A great time to enjoy the dining experience, especially one that launches with venison tartare with shiso, and crispy pickerel wing, and then progresses to a bowl of overlooked local treasures (whitefish-caviar-topped smoked goldeye in crayfish broth) and four more courses. The tasting menu–only service launched in February. It has been very popular, increased the average cheque and simplified food ordering and costs. And it has enabled Hitzer to drop takeout, too. “When I do something,” he notes, “I do it big.”
—StaffPhoto Credit: Deer + Almond

News and more

Sign up to our newsletter