Posts Tagged ‘restaurant’

Table 40 (@Fraser Cafe) Rockcliffe

Table 40 is probably the most affordable table d’hote in the city. It’s 35$ per person for 3 courses. Not only that but it’s A LOT of food. you aren’t even supposed to be able to finish it, and when you don’t (you won’t) they’ll pack it up and send you home.

The idea is family-style meals. Harvest tables and food sharing. You will share a table with strangers, and you’ll share your food with your friends.

I thought you would actually share your food with strangers and I was ok with that, but turns out Ottawa isn’t ready for that (I assume) so you only share with the people you arrive with.

Table 40 is located next door to Fraser Cafe and the whole space is filled with 4 tables (one long table along one wall, and three shorter tables sticking out from the other wall. There’s a small bar at the back with about 4 seats.

In the entrance way there is a small lounge area, and we got our first taste of communal meals while we were sitting waiting for our table, and another group joined us on the couch. They obviously weren’t shy either and three of us squished onto the small couch.

Although we didn’t end up eating with the other group we had a nice chat. It really set the mood of the evening, with a casual and friendly atmosphere.

The place was bustling and we weren’t seen immediately however it was all good since we were in good company and comfortable (if squishily) seated.

The first course was an asparagus soup. It came in a copper pot on a plank. we were each given a bowl with peas and croutons in it, and there were pea shoots served on the side. Serve yourself/build your own soup, and it as excellent.

Our server was very friendly as were all the waitstaff that came by our table.

Our main was also served on a plank and was huge. The idea is actually that you won’t finish it, and we didn’t so we left with a doggy bag. The main was supposed to be ribs but we actually got brisket and and pulled pork. Both were excellent and hte onion rings were to die for. I actually wasn’t able to eat any of the bean salad that was served with it but had some the next day and it was really well balanced, with corn adding texture and sweetness.

Dessert was a strawberry crisp. All strawberries, juicy and flavorful. It’s great to be able to actually taste the fruit instead of just tasting water on those GMOs that we get from Cali.

The whole experience was excellent. And although it seems people in Ottawa are afraid of sharing tables, I hope this catches on. Although we were sharing a table with another couple, the table is large enough that you really didn’t intrude on each other’s conversations (although you could if you wanted to). And they seemed to be in the habit of always leaving one seat empty between each group, so you actually have more space than you would if you were at some restaurants in the city (at the Manx the tables actually touch each other sometimes, and in Boston at Aquitaine I sat at a table where I had to go sideways and lift my butt up above the table to get in, and I’m only 130lbs – luckily no one was at the next table to get a butt in their face)

the one thing I will say, is that in my family the TV was off at dinner (actually we didn’t even have a TV most of the time but if we did, it wouldn’t have been on during meals). I realize that Family dinner in America has gone downhill and that they wanted a casual atmosphere but the food network is really distracting and it’s hard to watch without volume. I say lose the TV’s.

Great experience, try it out!

Fraser Cafe on Urbanspoon

The Burg is Blowing up!

The ‘burg is blowing up!!

After last months opening of Alphasoul cafe, and the long-awaited/dreaded/etc opening of Bridgehead, this week two new restos opened on Wellington in the hood.

Back Lane Cafe (beside GT – see review below)
and Burnt Butter (Beside KFC) (review coming soon)

Other big moves:

York Street Entertainment is apparently opening a restaurant where Cozy’s was. A bar? A wanna-be high-end restaurant? Not sure the burg is ready but I’m obviously biased.

Ben Baird (of the Urban Pear)’s wife is apparently also opening something in the hood. Not sure what the story is here (collaboration? Retaliation?) but I’m excited (for the food)

Also of note: KFC is no longer. the neighborhood chains are closing and the franchise seems to be sticking to mall locations. This would be an amazing spot for a licensed patio (I’m imagining Ronnie’s Local in Kensington) but I think it would be a hard sell for winter since there’s no seating space. My ideal would be if the Hintonburger moved in, in further collaboration with the Elmdale – Amazing?! YES, like the Grilled-Cheese – Ronnie’s collaboration:

Juniper kitchen and wine bar, Westboro

We visited Juniper, finally, after having lived in the hood for about 2 years. I’ve been meaning to visit but haven’t had the chance. The place just looks so cool…like a car dealership (which it was).

We had the kick in the pants we needed, in the form of a free date night that was not already tied up with other plans. The place is huge, but I always recommended making a reservation. We made the res the night before by phone, but they have an online reservation system. The res got lost but they had room anyways and there was not problems.

We were seated by the window (most of the seats are by the window) but the windows are well insulated and the tables right next to them so it wasn’t cold until a draft started coming up from the vent on the floor. Still not uncomfortable though.

The place is huge, and not terribly loud. They use tablecloths and have a lounge area of padded benches in the middle so that helps to soften the sound a lot. Also the tables aren’t terribly close to each other, which is a nice change, though I understand that it’s also a luxury that a lot of restaurants cannot afford.

We were served by Phil (as he introduced himself) or Paul (as the bill stated). Whoever he was, he was super friendly and had lots of answers.

I highly recommended you check them out for dueling chefs, perhaps alongside another one of your favorite chefs/restaurants. Tickets are 200$ but it includes gratuity, food and cocktails, and apparently a lot of the food and produce was sponsored, in order to allow more of the ticket price to go to charity.
http://www.duellingchefs.com/

I’ve wondered from time to time why Juniper doesn’t seem to appear in the press much, and I think it’s really because Ottawa is a small town, and it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. I really feel that restaurants that get lots of press are the ones that are owned by people who know people.

So don’t base your next restaurant pick on the one that was featured in Ottawa Magazine, get out there an try something new!

Overall Juniper is a good splurge, with entrées in the 30-40$ range. A great place for cocktails in the lounge (I assume that’s the purpose of the wide open space in the middle) and a good option if you hate having to wait for your table at the door and in the way (like in most restaurants).

Juniper Kitchen & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Petit Bills Bistro, Wellington West

Well, this post has been in “draft” mode for about 6 months or longer.

PB’s is a “Newfie Bistro with a French accent” (or is it French bistro with a Newfie accent?). That line is a bit kitchy isn’t it? But it works. The Christmas displays are OVER the top, I mean, the whole she-bam, with Santa climbing up a ladder decorating the tree and a train that whizzes around it. When you go in there, you know, IT IS CHRISTMAS!

I love this place. It’s cozy and inviting. The owners, brothers Terry and Randy are ALWAYS there at the bar (one or the other, rarely both) and they know their seafood.

The menu is heavy on the seafood, but it is good. The chowder and the lobster poutine seem to be their “signature” dishes, and both are excellent. The wine list is heavily-VQA oriented, which I love, and they also have my favorite local K-beer on tap.

As always, I recommend sitting at the bar or in the lounge area. You get a more “real” restaurant experience, with the action at the bar and the kitchen within sight

If you haven’t been, check this place out

Petit Bill's Bistro on Urbanspoon

Hintonburger @ the Elmdale

I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed the Elmdale. It’s the cornerstone of Hintonburg, a real watering hole and one of the only “Taverns” left in Ottawa. What’s the difference you say? Well, from what I understand it just means they can sell alcohol but don’t have to have food. Yet they do: pickled onions and chips.

and now: Hintonburgers!! Amazing!! You can order a Hintonburger and it will be delivered to your table at the Elmdale from down the street every half hour! Now that is what I call SERVICE. Not to mention Sharing (and we all know that Sharing is caring right?)

So have a Hintonburger, have a Kichesippi, and enjoy some local talent (Local Ivan is playing next Friday). Now THAT is what I call a true Ottawan experience

Hintonburger on Urbanspoon

Tennessee Willems not Williams, Hintonburg

Finally got the phone number posted! Sorry for the delay!

As is the case with most new restaurants, Tennessee Williams didn’t open on time. Perhaps this helped build the suspense. I know I was waiting impatiently for it to open. When it did, however, I was too busy with Christmas/travel/family to go.

So last night, the first “date” night since before Christmas we decided to go.
“Should we make a reso”
“I doubt it, the place is brand new and hasn’t even made it into the citizen”

Fortunately, Adam decided to walk the two blocks and stick his head it to make sure we could go. Turns out they WERE Full on a Wednesday night! we had to push our supper to 8 because the only other option was 530. Lesson learned.

The menu is simple. three salads, less than ten apps, and about the same number of pizzas. They also have traditional entrees. We tried all the salads, the smoked mackeral, three of the pizzas and the lasagna. The lasagna had a rustic tomato sauce with a bit of kick. It’s also vegetarian but rich with goat cheese and bechamel.

The arugula salad was epic. I don’t normally like arugula but it was young arugula so not bitter, the house dressing was tasty, and it was served with warm button mushrooms. A great contrast of flavours, textures and temperatures.

The pizzas are creative and interesting. We tried wild boar, the Helen (named after the ‘helen’ of the Melrose groceteria, as well as the Bianco.

I was very impressed will all of the food and the prices (All of our entrees were under 20$). Service was friendly and casual.

The usual quirks with a place that has just opened, such as running out of matching glasses, which was no big deal at all. The wine list is shortish but has a good variety of old vs new world styles. Only two beers on tap and NO booze, like at all. not even vodka or Gin. I find this mind-boggling, but being a server I know that in actual fact most people out at restaurants drink wine or beer. I don’t sell a lot of spirits at all, but I just always expect them to be there when I’m out! So this is your warning: no cocktail aperitifs or after dinner digestifs.

I am super happy to have this great new place in our hood and hope the place continues to do well.

Tennessee Williams
1082 Wellington St (beside the Elmdale)
Hintonburg, Ottawa
613 722 0000

Tennesse Williams on Urbanspoon