By Gloria Hong

Crispy Quinoa Crusted Shrimp. Seared Ahi Tuna Tataki Salad. Flank Steak with Lobster Sauce. No, this is not the new seasonal menu from your local bistro. It’s from Milestones. I’ll say it again – this is the Chef’s Menu from Milestones.

I admit it can be hard for foodies to look beyond the stigma of the dreaded “chain” restaurant. One might think of frozen proteins and packet sauces. And that would be fair for some chains. However, Milestones has been working hard to put out plates that would rival those of any chef driven restaurant.

Committed to getting the food right, Milestones has brought on Chef Jason Rosso (Distillery Restaurant Group, Recipe to Riches) to add a strong dose of credibility to their food story. “Jason gave us permission to cook again,” explains Milestones COO Mark Findlay  at a recent tasting dinner to celebrate the new menu.  Milestones is a client of SW+A, however they are not a direct client of mine. I was invited to this dinner as a food lover and am appreciative of the experience.

Made with quality fresh ingredients, the dinner introduced its guests to the new seasonal menu and really made you re-evaluate your perceptions of chain restaurant dining.

Chef Rosso has been on a cross-country tour training chefs in each kitchen on how to execute these dishes. And from what I’ve tasted, there is not a bland note in sight. Using aggressively seasoned sauces and ethnic influences, I have to say I’m glad Milestones is moving in this direction.  On a side note, the Spicy Thai Basil Noodles is a personal favourite – a fragrant bowl of warming goodness.

Milestones biggest challenge is going to be to get customers over the mental hurdle of “chain restaurant food”. Once they get them into the restaurants and ordering the dishes, the food will speak for itself.  I challenge every foodie to be brave and try something counter-intuitive! Eat well and let me know what you think of the Milestones menu.