Review: Deseo Bistro
696 Osborne Street
The Albert location closed due to a water main break, but Scott and Alejandro are opening up a new location on Osborne Street.
We - supper club(e), that is - may have broken some records with our inappropriate
banter discussion this time around. Between the stories about watchful pets during orgasm and how to lay down the law with a new boyfriend, I was reassured that my absence from Winnipeg had not dulled our witty rapport. It’s a probably a good thing that the restaurant wasn’t full that evening.
Deseo’s first location was a lovely surprise in the punk rock venue of the Royal Albert Arms. Weathered window frames, Tyndall stone, dark woods, and fresh touches of fruit and flowers all helped to create a little getaway. Hopefully, the design taste will carry over to the new venue.
Service, in general, was satisfactory and fairly pleasant but unremarkable. It’s a delicate balance of being attentive and professional while also being personable. I’d say we got “girl next door” with water refills and not necessarily a polished service that the surroundings and menu seemed to suggest.
At supper club, we started the meal with two appetizers, the bean fritters and the prawns. Both were good, but the bean fritters were the better of the two, which is quite a success with only one vegetarian amongst us. They were crisp and flavourful and paired with lovely sauces (salsa verde and spicy mayo). The prawns on the new menu have a different preparation, but ours was a special with some citrusy zing.
Our mains drew mixed results. Kerri loved her bean and potato hash (now pepper or mushroom and potato hash), finding it filling and packed with spice and heat. Carolyn also happily indulged in her sweet breakfast for supper choice of Spanish toast, covered in caramel, chocolate sauce, and cinnamon cream. It seems that breakfast is an easy winner at Deseo. Colleen and I were less impressed with our mains. Though Colleen enjoyed her steak, the value was just not there in this skimpy dish of greens and steak chunks. My dish, on the other hand, might have been just a personal dislike. I ordered pork cheeks, which were served on cream of wheat - wanting to try something new. I found the softness of the fatty pork cheeks and the creamy base to be much too similar in texture, offering little interest while eating.
For dessert, we tried all three offerings. Each had their interesting twist, but the flan was probably the most successful in execution, while the flourless chocolate chili cake seemed to have been prepared much earlier and been refrigerated (tasting a bit hard and cold). I’d had the chocolate on an earlier visit where it went over far better at the right temperature.
I sampled the Sloppy Jose sandwich on an earlier visit, as well, and thought it was delicious - prompting the second visit with supper club. Nicely oiled and grilled, the sandwich was a perfect combination of flavours and textures. It has a nice filling of pulled pork rubbed with adobo, slaw, and pickled peppers.
Overall, worth trying again at the new location.