Barnsteiner's: The Winterlicious Experience 2024

2024, Jan 31    

Brussel Sprouts
You’re often not loved but can be made better.

The cold weather is back at least for a little bit so that means it’s time for Winterlicious. The food industry is generally in a lull at this time and the program lets you eat your way across the city at a prix fixe menu.

That menu consists of lunches priced at $20/$27/$34/$41/$48$/$55 while dinners cost $25/$35/$45/$55/$65/$75. With over 200 local restaurants participating you’ll get a chance to taste a bit of anything you were curious about.

Barnsteiner’s came up as it’s labeled as “Modern European” cuisine and the menu looked interesting.

$55 Dinner (Plus taxes and gratuity)


  • Dairy Free Wild Mushroom Soup (fresh herbs, white truffle oil)
  • Heirloom Beet Salad (organic greens, crumbled goat cheese, toasted hazelnuts)
  • Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad (romaine, parmesan, crisp bacon, croutons)
  • Smoked Trout Tartar (shallots, chive, crme fraiche, cucumber, crostini)

Main Dish

  • Seared Mediterranean Sole Fillet (parsnip puree, salsa verde, artichoke, sicilian olives, tomatoes)
  • Risotto Arrabbiata (pulled chicken, green peas, corn, shaved parmesan)
  • Roasted Black Angus Striploin (garlic mash, wild mushroom ragout)
  • Wiener Schnitzel (breaded veal scallopini, potato salad, chive, cucumber)


  • Cranberry White Chocolate-Walnut Bread Pudding (rum caramel sauce)
  • Warm Chocolate Cake (raspberry chocolate ganache, candied hazelnuts)
  • Lemon Creation (candied lemon zest, cookie crust, fresh raspberries)

A reservation was made over the phone on the day of the visit with no issues. Once arrived they had no reservation as the hostess fumbled through their list of reservations while quoting reservations. These are not the same thing obviously but when the name was not found they seated us without issue.

Given the small size of the dining room the ambiance was loud and poorly lit making reading the Winterlicious menu a challenge.
We opted for 2 5oz glasses of wine. One red and one white, the white originating from New Zealand. This is where a bit of confusion on my part started as I ordered the white and the server mentioned the winery name in a very heavy German accent. So heavy that I did not even understand what he was saying at first.

Those wine prices are eye raising as the cost of a 1/2 litre at another Winterlicious venue that was frequented was roughly the same cost yet provided nearly three times more wine. There’s a markup and then there’s gouging. Their full bottle prices will make your eyes roll.

I ordered the following:

  • Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad (romaine, parmesan, crisp bacon, croutons)
  • Wiener Schnitzel (breaded veal scallopini, potato salad, chive, cucumber)
  • Lemon Creation (candied lemon zest, cookie crust, fresh raspberries)

My guest ordered:

  • Dairy Free Wild Mushroom Soup (fresh herbs, white truffle oil)
  • Roasted Black Angus Striploin (garlic mash, wild mushroom ragout)
  • Warm Chocolate Cake (raspberry chocolate ganache, candied hazelnuts)

My brussel sprouts salad came and I immediately noticed that something was off. I thought it was a strong nutty flavour at first until my second bite and I noticed the now overturned brussel sprout. This little vegetable and every single one was completely black. The “chef” burned them all!

The taste was so overpowering I had to separate them all in an attempt to save the dish. I was able to save most of the greens but once in awhile you’d get a sleeper piece of romaine lettuce with a little bit of sprout on it and it would ruin the experience.

The salad itself was nothing to write home about even if the brussel sprouts were cooked properly. The parts that were not singed beyond repair were coated in an unflavored dressing while the bacon and croutons were nowhere to see. I sure didn’t taste them either.

The main dish came and I was hoping for something to cleanse my palette from the terrible appetizer. The wine and water seemed to do the trick on that front. The wiener schnitzel made an appearance with two very thin breaded pieces along with potato salad. The schnitzel was not enough for a main course but at least they provided a lemon wedge in an attempt to add some flavor to the otherwise, once again, bland meal. The potato salad wasn’t anything special either as I don’t particularly like it anyways.

This is where it all hit me.

Half-way through the meal my stomach started feeling sour. Was it that awful burnt salad? Salad is almost always a safe bet yet here we are. My stomach is rejecting Barnsteiner’s Winterlicious menu and I eventually have to find the nearest restroom.

Managing to hold on, the “Lemon Creation” is served. I caught a whiff and it made me gag. At this point I’m not eating anything else. Matters of the body are my greatest concern.

I get up and wander around to the front as I don’t clearly see any restrooms marked. Quickly I’m shown where it is and I attempt to turn the handle to meet this point of respite. The door is locked as I jiggle the handle and then it dawns on me.

Is this their only restroom in the entire restaurant?

In a fever dream induced state that I’m sure was caused by those damn burnt brussel sprouts; I realize that it is the only one. Forced back to the table I sit and wait until I see someone walk from the general direction.

Success, I get up and into the restroom. At first I surprised as it is small but usable. The cleanliness on the other hand was a disappointment. Urine all over the toilet seat and 1/4 of a roll of toilet paper with no extra rolls anywhere to be seen. At least that got me through.

There’s nothing more satisfying than finding a toilet when you need it, even in less than ideal conditions. I voided myself like I’ve never seen before and feel much better. Thanks so much Barnsteiner’s!

I walk over to the sink and find no taps. A huge stainless steel looking sink so I figured it was motion activated. You know, with the pandemic still fresh in my mind. This isn’t the case. A small faucet off to the side was the trick which I mistook for the soap dispenser. Silly me, the soap dispenser is a generic one you purchase from your supermarket sitting on the side. I wash my hands and dry them on the cheap disposable newspaper-like junk provided by their dispenser and I’m out of there.

Barnsteiner’s was a real bust.

The prices are absolutely not worth what is being served. A true disappointment that I will never be making again.

If you cannot make a salad you shouldn’t be in the restaurant business.