March 14th 2012
New restaurant at the U of W will impress you enough to want to return
599 Portage Ave.
I have a little giggle every time I walk into Elements, the restaurant located in the gorgeous University of Winnipeg science building - and that giggle is because of the name.
Yes, there is a giant periodic table of elements emblazoned on the side of this building, making it one of Winnipeg’s most recognizable landmarks.
I’d visited the restaurant before, but only for drinks and snacks, never for a meal. Having been to Elements in the late afternoon and early evening I was usually one of the few people there, so I was pleasantly surprised to see it near capacity over the lunch break.
My friend had procured a table located around the corner from the entrance (at which, during arguably the windiest day of the year, we weren’t at all affected by the cold).
I didn’t see much of our server for a while, but when she appeared she was attentive and polite.
With a rotating menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Elements offers a wide variety of dishes, with nothing terribly “average.”
This is both a blessing and a curse.
On one hand, it definitely sets it apart from a lot of average, over-salted restaurants in town (chains or otherwise) that offer the same boring old sandwiches and wraps, while on the other it has virtually no “basic” meal to start out an uninhibited newcomer with a nervous stomach.
I opted for the whitefish club sandwich while my friend had the pad peanut, consisting of egg noodles, cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts, peanuts, cilantro and green onions.
I was envious of his meal - when my sandwich arrived it had no top on it, making it quite difficult to eat.
Opting to use a knife and fork, I wasn’t able to fully enjoy this “sandwich,” having to cut it into parts.
The combination of whitefish, back bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, tartar sauce and Elements’ homemade mustard was quite nice, but my salad was about as bland as roughage gets.
I was hoping for the warm spinach salad I had heard raves about, but other patrons had beat me to the punch, as they had run out of spinach that day.
Not being one that consumes carbonated or caffeinated beverages, I usually stick with water, and as usual, I was left with an incredibly small water glass. It’s one thing to put out tiny water glasses and refill them, but I had to ask after watching coffee be refilled twice.
I wasn’t all that impressed by my first meal at Elements.
Still, I’d like to return to the restaurant and give it a second chance, as the classy little place is doing something different.
This article appeared in Volume 66, Number 23 of The Uniter, published March 14th 2012.