Posts Tagged ‘Byward Market’

Play Food & Wine, Byward Market

I haven’t been to play for a couple of years so I was excited to check it out. I love the wine wall immediately when you come in and they have a really solid system for coats (basically a coat check where you get a number).

I always find the service there friendly, and there dishes are always on point. We started with almost all the cheeses and the spicy chorizo, which isn’t that spicy (and I’m someone that doesn’t like any spice), but the mustard it’s served with is HOT. The menu is meat heavy but like at Beckta if you give them some advance notice they will hook you up.

Each plate has a suggested wine pairing, which I assume is available by the glass (though I didn’t check). If you’re ever there late at night be sure to grab their wine and cheese flight – it’s a cool way to try a few cheeses and wines (although this is a classic pairing, it’s actually a bit of a complicated one so It’s fun to see what they come up with).

Everything we had was really well balanced with great plating. My only complaint (of course there is something) is that the server couldn’t pronounce Auxerrois for his life. I know it’s not the easiest word in the world, but we live in Ottawa, where everyone SHOULD speak at least a little bit of French, and not being able to pronounce French words is a bit shameful, especially as that wine was being served by the glass, so it’s not like some obscure 200$ bottle that no one orders – it’s the first wines on the list. I also think that if you can’t pronounce a word, you should avoid saying it, especially if someone else said it first correctly (not me, someone I was with). So basically it seemed as if he was correcting the guy only he pronounced it EX-er-waw. It’s like nails on a chalkboard.

Great meal & service. Try the pudding.

1 York Street (at Sussex)
Byward Market
(613) 667-9207

Play on Urbanspoon


Fatboys Southern Smokehouse

I love Murray Street in the market. It has a great Market feel, but it’s not as crowded and touristy. You don’t go there unless you know to go there.

The classics of Chez Lucien, the Rainbow & Benny’s, as well as Murray Street, Navarra, and Domus. Murray Street has everything!

So I’m super excited that Fatboys Southern Smokehouse is moving in. We’ll see what
Mike Ziola, Steph Legari, Stephen Murphy, Les Richenhaller, & Shawn Dawson come up with next month!

I haven’t yet ventured to The SmoQue Shack on York Street, so I’ll have try to hit them both up for some southern love, and do a full compare.

The Smoque Shack on Urbanspoon

Murray Street

Went to Murray Street last Friday after work. Usually I sit at the bar, and the service from Jeff, the bartender is always friendly & prompt. Their wine menu is what initially attracted me to the spot when it first received the VQA award. I always like to check out the VQA places because part of the award is listing a variety of ontario VQA wines, and as far as I’m concerned “variety” should include different bodied wines, wines from different regions, as well as the more obvious different grapes. So I go to VQA-awarded restaurants to see if their list meets my criteria, mostly to see if they’re representing ANYTHING from anywhere other than Niagara…like PEC…and Murray street passed my test (although nothing from the glass but perhaps I’m being too persnickety.)

anyways, on this occasion we were celebrating a birthday, and one person was late (I won’t name any names). This person was greeted at the door in the usual friendly manner I have come to expect at Murray street. And this person was given a glass of water. But this person was NOT acknowledged beyond the glass. No “would you like a drink or a menu” So this person had to wait until the server came over the quality check the food, at which point this person asked for a menu. This person received the food menu, but not the beverage list. REALLY?

So this person had to wait until the server came back to ask about the food menu in order to ask for the wine menu…yes, even though this person was ordering food, the server still did not think to ask if they wanted a drink, or to see the list.

needless to say this person waited about 20 minutes to get a drink.

I will admit that our table turned into a bunch of campers. We were the 2nd or 3rd last table to leave, and for that I apologize, but I do not forgive! I’m a server too and even if I’m not that happy about what a table is doing to my night, I still greet them and ask them if they want the menu! The table was probably 3 minutes into their main courses so it’s not like someone was ordering a main when everyone else was finishing desert, and besides, it was only a starter that was ordered. This person knows restaurant etiquette, in my opinion.

The food was all amazing. The service was lacking for the last half of the meal but I’ve been there enough to know that was perhaps an odd occasion as I’ve never had that problem before. I had the most amazing caprese salad ever. I don’T know what they did to the EVO, but it’s was SO SWEET, but not too sweet. I could have had a tad more buffalo mozza but with the pile of oil in the bottom of the plate (which I soaked up with the bread, it was that good), I’m sure my waistline didn’t need it.

Murray Street on Urbanspoon

The Courtyard – The market, Ottawa

I recently attended a wedding at the Courtyard in Ottawa. This is only my second time there, and the first was for a job interview. I was taught a wine class by the former chef, who now owns an amazing restaurant on Rochester st. I digress. I have very little experience of this restaurant.

They seem to do a lot of weddings at the Courtyard. When I say I attended, I have to admit that I arrived after dinner. I was originally invited to the wedding, and due to some complications and changes I ended up only coming after supper.

It is a bit awkward to arrive at a wedding after supper. I immediately found some people I knew and said hello to them: 2 guests, the bride, the bride’s mother, and the maid of honor (who happens to be my best friend & the bride’s sister).

It was a small wedding and not too many people were dancing, so we set about dancing to encourage others to follow suit. My bf gave me her drink and ran off to get herself another one (it was open bar). I actually was handed 2 drinks before I had to actually go the bar to fetch my own. I went. I waited. The bartenders were wiping glasses… finally I got a drink.

I went back to the dance floor and a few minutes later the bride came over and told me that the bartender had just asked her if I was crashing her wedding and should I be removed. Really? I clearly knew and was talking to people when I was at the bar, on the dance floor etc.

Anyways, this distressed me less than the fact that the older of the two bartenders was chewing gum in the most obnoxious fashion. Mouth open, jaw jutting, noisily chewing gum. Seriously? It was vulgar. The staff also made no attempt to helps the bride out on her big day once all was said and done. The food was alright although the little smoked salmon apps that were laid out on some sort of a cracker were a bit soggy.

the location is beautiful, and it was nice having the entire upstairs to ourselves, but I wouldn’t hold an event here. It seems almost like a franchise in the way the staff doesn’t seem to care at all. I think they’re too big for their own boots.

(613) 241-1516
ByWard Market/Lower Town
21 george st
Ottawa, ON

Courtyard Restaurant on Urbanspoon