Wednesday, January 21, 2009


We did it.
We went and spent more money on a single dinner than we have since our honeymoon.
Oh, but it was worth it! I can still taste it.
The thing about really good food joints is that each bite is intense. Your mouth dances. So, while the plate arrives, and you stare at the tiny, albeit pretty, cluster of food, it is hard to imagine it will fill or satisfy. But it does. There was much groaning, on my part. And much reluctance to finish the last bite and put an end to the experience.

An award winning establishment. In Frommer's words;
Here is proof that residents of the capital are eager to embrace cooking that transcends the routine beef and spaghetti houses that dominated the Ottawa dining scene not long ago.
. . . All that unfairly ignores the service, by a coed team of such polished skill that they surely have undergone rigorous training -- there is no such group in town to equal them.

Here's what we ate, {and I did not hesitate to ask for a detailed explanation of the mysterious descriptions}:

Gnudi: Naked ravioli/ ravioli without the pasta pocket.
Gastrique: Thick sauce made by reduction.
Miso: Thick paste used for sauces or spreads.

Grana Padano: A hard cheese, much like Parmesan.

When we arrived, the hostess took our coats. When we approached our table, she pulled it away from the seat so I could slip in. She pushed it back. She then pulled out Aidan's chair. Aidan's eyes were wide. He knew right then and there the final bill would be astronomical.

We were immediately approached by an immaculate server with a British accent who held one arm behind his back and bowed slightly when he spoke. He departed with our drink orders only to be replaced by a separate server whose only job, as far as I observed, was to offer bread. How do I explain the bread? The choices were french white, whole grain or rosemary. We chose rosemary every time. The crust was crunchy and the flesh was dense and tangy and amazing. A tiny tray of butter was provided; two rosebuds of whipped deliciousness, one of which was caramelized! It was nutty and sweet and I wanted to scoop the leftovers into my wallet for later. I settled for eavesdropping in on the neighbouring diner who asked how it was made.

Caramelized Butter: Warm the butter to liquid and hold the temperature steady, stirring constantly until it turns a golden brown. Move the pan to rest in an ice bath and, once thickened, whip the butter. Yeah-- sounds super easy. The woman who had asked turned to me, "There, now you will have to make it at home!" I replied, "Actually, what I will do is end up with a lot of burnt butter."

Another fabulous tidbit: The chef offers every diner a supplementary amuse-bouche at the beginning and end of the meal. Or first "taste from the kitchen" was a salmon mouse. As we were paying the bill, four spoons arrived yielding a creamy pudding and strawberry reduction on merengue. Bonus!

I was thrilled by the whole experience.
The cherry on top was a long skate on the canal with my husband, sweetened further by a Beaver Tail, of course.