Early last week, Susie Erjavec Parker sent an email about an upcoming upcoming social media event at Mr. Mikes Steakhouse Casual. I hadn’t heard of Mr. Mikes, but I’m always up for an sort of blogger event, and the fact that their grand opening had been posted in the Manitoba Food Bloggers Facebook group made me even more intrigued. So, I emailed back my intention to attend.
Mr. Mikes is a family oriented business. They have a great appreciation for their roots. For their people and for the communities where they set up shop. In addition to being an opening event for the restaurant, Mr Mikes used the opportunity to raise funds for Winnipeg Harvest.
Mr Mikes is located up on McGillivray, just of Kenaston. My experience of bus travel up in that area, is that it is never easy. So, I left myself a little extra time to make it. It turned out, that all things considered, even with my Grant bus being a constant stop or so behind the bus I hoped to transfer to, I still ended up being at Mr Mikes by 5:30 for a 6 o’clock start time.
One reason that this wasn’t an issue was that it was an “all hands on deck” night for the restaurant. That means that even though some of the little details were being worked out before the event started there were still plenty of staff on hand to make sure that I was welcomed and made to feel at home.
Mr Mikes is a high-end steakhouse similar to The Keg or Rae and Jerry’s. The difference is that it is a high end steakhouse with an attitude. The place has a youthful vibe about it, but at the same time it offers top notch quality when it comes to the food.
Before taking my seat I was given a quick tour of the restaurant. One side is the bar, which is called the Lodge. It’s a cross between Browns Social House and Across the Board Game Cafe. There are plenty of TVs for watching the World Cup and once hockey season returns, Jets games. There is also a quite nice selection of board games for those who don’t want to watch sports. On Friday night there was also a giant Kerplunk and a giant Jenga game set up. I didn’t get pictures of either.
On the other side of the restaurant is the dining area. There is a good selection of tables and booths. The kitchen is at the back of the restaurant. You can’t see into it, but you can watch the expediting area at work. There is also a fairly substantial patio area, that wasn’t in use on Friday, or today, when I returned.
For the opening event there were four drink stations set up. The first featured martinis, the second set up with cocktails, the third with their bowls, and the fourth a wine station. You can find descriptions of the various drink types on their menu page. there was also a station serving sliced roast beef with chimichurri.
One advantage to arriving early is that I got first crack at the stations, without having to wait in line. I started the evening off by trying the Appletini. This was a very enjoyable drink. The glass was rimmed with cinnamon sugar, and this brought a sweet finish to the drink after the initial tartness and sour of the apple liquor.
I had figured the evening out to be rather smaller scale than it was. There must have been a couple of hundred people come through during the course of the event. It was a while before any of my food blogging friends arrived. I was seated by myself, but was joined by the manager of the Winkler Mr Mikes, and her husband. Yes, much like Johnny’s Java preceded the third wave coffee boom in Winnipeg. Mr Mikes opened in Winkler before Winnipeg.
Just after they joined me, Rebecca Hadfield, longtime blogger here in Winnipeg showed up, and later Peg City Lovely’s Natalie Bell arrived, and just as I was leaving Susie showed up, along with a couple of her kids. During the evening their was a series of presentations made and thanks offered by the franchise owners. Among the people thanked was Sid Reimer of Lakeview Insurance. Lakeview is my insurance broker, and Sid is a member of the Mennonite Church where my brother Cameron is one of the ministers.
Throughout the evening servers circulated throughout the room giving samplings of a variety of items that Mr Mikes serves. The few pictures I took weren’t up to my, admittedly low, standards, so I’ll just mention a couple of the standouts. the Sirloin with Lobster Mac and Cheese, The Stuffed Shrooms. and the Potato Skins. There were two or three dishes that featured various cuts and all were well prepared.
There was one other thing about the night, and that was that it didn’t leave me with an idea of what a meal from Mr Mikes was like. So, with today being my day off, and Mr Mikes official opening, I decided to go back and order myself lunch.
Mr. Mikes Lunch
Again, I relied on the bus to get me there, and again I found myself arriving earlier than I expected. Fortunately, even though the lunch hour rush wasn’t over, there was a seat easily available. The restaurant never got quite full while I was there, but there was a constant stream of people arriving and leaving the whole time I was dining.
As I said, this is a higher end restaurant from a price point, but I decided I would order more on what I wanted to try than on price. So, I started with an appetizer. The Roman Table Bread which comes with a Marinara Sauce. For my entree I went with the Smuggler’s Cove Sirloin, which in addition to the sirloin, features Shrimp and Scallops. It comes with vegetables, a couple of onion rings, and a side, I went with the Garlic Mashed potatoes. Since It was my day off I added the Antler Ale produced for Mr Mikes by Granville Island Brewery.
The bread was nice and chewy, with a good, garlicky flavour. The Marinara sauce was also very enjoyable. It had a nice little bit of saltiness to it, that went well with the cheesiness of the bread. Plus there was lots of it. Even piling it on every bite of the bread there were still a few forkfuls left, when the bread was finished(but not once my fork was finished).
When I ordered my steak, I asked for it rare. I wondered what I would actually get when the steak arrived. However, when I cut into the steak it was indeed rare. Rare and very delicious. Well-seared and well-seasoned. The vegetable that came along with it were nice and crisp and the potatoes were also good, and perfect for sopping up the juices from the steak.
I skipped the dessert options, because the meal was more than filling enough. As I said this is high end food and priced accordingly. My bill including tax and tip was just over $60.00. However, a couple of things to note. I didn’t order the most economical meal. Second, the pricing is in accord with places such as The Keg. Third, there’s more than simply the food to a dining experience. At Mr Mike’s the service was over the top. Yes, it is their opening day, but service here is clearly a high priority. I even noticed it in little things. For example, when a table needs wiping so they can free it up for the next customer, they take the drinks menu from it’s stand and lay it on the table as a sign to the bus staff to make sure it gets wiped promptly. That shows great attention to detail.
I admit, with my budget, Mr Mikes will be a treat restaurant. However, it will be my first choice when I want to treat myself to a good steak dinner. This is a good addition to Winnipeg’s restaurant scene.