Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Janine Bratt’s Taste Bud Bistro at the Art Gallery of Windsor

Janine Bratt’s Taste Bud Bistro at the Art Gallery of Windsor

Located inside the Art Gallery of Windsor, entry to this delightful riverfront bistro is accessible from the front without entering the gallery. There is an outdoor patio with comfortable wrought iron chairs for al fresco dining, and 14 foot windows inside the restaurant that also highlight a stellar view of the Detroit skyline. The dining room is minimalist with comfortable black chairs with white-clad tables that create an attractive domino effect against a dramatic raspberry coloured wall. The wall is enhanced by a blackboard featuring the menu. On the tables are small pitchers of perfect pink hydrangea blooms.

Chef/owner Janine Bratt, a 2006 graduate of the Stratford Chef School and a former chef at Caldwell's Grant in her hometown of Amherstburg. Bratt spent three seasons refining her skills at Rundles in Stratford. Bratt also spent time at Oliveto in Oakland, California; The Sooke Harbour House in Sooke; Fresco Restaurant in Kelowna; Café Boulud in New York City and Capo Restaurant in Calgary.

Bratt initially opened Taste Bud Food which features catering for small to large parties, as well as ready-to-heat lunches and dinners in the heart of Walkerville in 2009, and the Taste Bud Bistro was conceptualized the following year.

Taste Bud Bistro crafts innovative dishes using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients from Essex County farms and producers. “Customers love when I can come out and talk to them about their meal and about the farmers, and artisans that contributed,” says Bratt. The restaurant’s casual fine dining menu consists of a minimum of 25% locally sourced ingredients. Bratt’s chooses local products because of their superior freshness, quality and flavour. Bratt also places importance in supporting the local economy.

On a recent visit to the Bistro our charismatic server, Lauren, suggested a seasonal salad of raspberries, baby spinach, goat cheese and pecans. Also on offer was a delicious salad of white beans, crisp green beans, arugula and sweet cherry tomatoes.

Pickerel Nicoise is served with a julienne of potatoes, green beans and diced tomatoes. The pickerel was perfectly cooked in a lemon scented tempura batter that did not mask the delicate flavour of the fish. Vegan summer rolls were fresh and served with a gelatinous and fiery sweet chili sauce and accompanied with fresh mint picked from Bratt’s father’s herb garden.

There is a page dedicated to local vintages on the wine list, and we chose a crisp and elegant, CREW (Colchester Ridge Estates Winery) Sauvignon Blanc 2009 VQA, from Lake Erie’s North Shore on Lauren’s recommendation.

For dessert the chocolate mousse was stellar, served with Chantilly cream and toasted walnuts. House-made lavender ice cream was fragrant, subtly floral and refreshing. A frozen mint-lime cheesecake served with warm rum sauce was perfect for a hot summer afternoon.

The coffee is superior. The service was attentive, gracious and warm.

401 Riverside Drive West, Windsor, in the Art Gallery of Windsor
519 560 3665

The lunch menu is served from 11am till 3pm Wednesday through Sunday. The dinner menu is served from 5pm-9pm Thursday and Friday evenings. The Bistro is closed Monday and Tuesday.

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