Posts Tagged ‘wine’

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

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 entrĂ©es 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