Racines opened in Fredericton in April of 2005 and has quickly built a clientele of regulars as well as tourists. It is owned and operated by Chef Thomas Gimblett, a chef in Vancouver for the last twenty years, and his wife Joanne. The fine dining options in Fredericton may leave locals a bit confused, but in my opinion Racines has emerged as the cream of the crop. Racines has had the honor of being a Where to Eat in Canada restaurant for the last three years, as well as being awarded a star of excellence this year. Michelin has also selected Racines among a select few other Atlantic Canadian restaurants to be in its Michelin Green Guide. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll state that I have a personal connection to the restaurant, as my wife is currently a server there. However, that connection will have no effect on this review, nor do I think it has a profound effect on the service or food we receive.
My wife and I made last minute reservations on a Saturday and were lucky to get a table at a time that worked for us. When we arrived we were immediately offered to have our jackets hung up. Our server told us the soup and the special and asked if we wanted anything to drink to start. We opted for water to start as we knew we would have some wine with our meal. We ordered the soup to start: a squash soup topped with a balsamic reduction and maple crème fraîche. It was quite delicious with the squash tasting almost of mango and a little bit of spice.
We ordered a bottle of Chateau Lamothe de Haux Bordeaux (red) and received our meals shortly after. My wife ordered the special of spiced duck breast with sour cherry glaze, poached pear and sage mashed potatoes. She was kind enough to offer me a couple of bites, which I know must have been difficult, as it was amazingly delicious. The duck was perfectly cooked to my taste and the cherry glaze was an excellent complement to the dish.
I ordered the signature dish: the Racines Filet Mignon. It is a Black Angus filet topped with a Stilton herb butter, seared pancetta, and a Madeira wine demi, served with rosemary and garlic mashed potatoes, braised red cabbage and seasonal vegetables. Anyone who has not tried the combination of steak, blue cheese, butter and cured pork, and is a fan of these ingredients needs to run to Racines tonight. My steak came out a perfect medium as I had ordered and the butter was already melting on top. The braised red cabbage was also really tasty, with a flavour reminiscent of mulling spices. My plate cost $29, which may seem a bit high for a last-minute dinner, but it really is a decent value for a Black Angus steak, especially in a city where people spend a similar amount on meals that are brought in frozen to big box restaurants. Overall, this was a great meal at a great restaurant that focuses on local farmers & markets.
Overall Experience: 4/5
For a total of 17 out of 20 stars