New Exchange District eatery lives up to its promise

Deseo Bistro on Albert Street serves up refreshing Latin fare

  • Great food and a great atmosphere make Deseo Bistro a great option for couples on Valentine’s Day. – Lynlea Combot

Spanish restaurants are popping up around Winnipeg, perhaps hinting towards the next food trend.

The Latin-inspired Deseo Bistro recently took over the former space of the Albert Diner at 48 Albert St.

Scott Bagshaw, a former chef at Pizzeria Gusto, opened the restaurant alongside Alejandro Mora with the intention of offering up fresh, healthy and affordable food.

The all-day menu is extensive. It offers breakfasts, salads, sandwiches, small bites and big bites, all ranging in price from $6 to $15.

The restaurant lives up to its promise of welcoming vibes and funky surroundings.

The interior is sparsely but quaintly decorated, with weathered tables and an unassuming yet beautiful ceiling fixture made of sticks and twinkling lights.

When I was there each table was adorned with two roses, fitting for the upcoming romantic holiday.

The beet salad with pistachios, queso grande, and shallot vinaigrette was the perfect combination of salty and sweet. My dining partner had the beef short rib, with figs and a vegetable ragout. It was incredibly tender and literally fell off the bone

But, if you take your loved one here for Valentine’s Day, be forewarned that at your food’s arrival you will probably be in such culinary bliss that you will forget all about your significant other.

The beet salad ($10) with pistachios, queso grande and shallot vinaigrette was the perfect combination of salty and sweet. My dining partner had the beef short rib with figs and a vegetable ragout. It was incredibly tender and literally fell off the bone.

A dish I will certainly be coming back for was the crunch salad ($8). The name says it all. The salad skipped the oft-used filler of lettuce greens for a crunchy mix of jimica, celery, edamame and peanuts, all tossed in a refreshing lime vinaigrette.

The only slight disappointment was the tomato soup ($7). The smoky flavour of the charred tomato soup was a bit overpowering, but the fresh cilantro and avocado helped to temper the strong taste.

Instead of its usual place beside the bowl, a piece of cornbread sat in the middle of the soup to soak up the thick purée.

The perfect portion sizes will undoubtedly leave you with room for one of the three desserts on the menu. I tried the flourless chocolate chili cake ($7), which had an unconventional garnish of sea salt and olive oil. It was rich and delicious.

Deseo Bistro offers a refreshing dining experience, a sure departure for the palate. If you’re looking for somewhere to take your loved one on Feb. 14, Deseo Bistro is sure to impress.

Or else just treat yourself and eat your heart out – you won’t regret it.

Published in Volume 65, Number 19 of The Uniter (February 10, 2011)

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