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Friday, February 25, 2011

The Black Tomato Ottawa

Location: 11 George Street, Ottawa, ON K1N 8W5, (613) 789-8123

I've been traveling to Ottawa for work for over 5 years now, and this is what I've learned:  Don't trust websites that say this is the best "Japanese food" in Ottawa, or best "Lebanese food" in Ottawa, because it's very likely that there's ONLY one sushi restaurant and ONLY one Lebanese restaurant in Ottawa.    It's sort of like telling your only sibling that they are the best sibling you've got.  That sibling just wins by default!!!    Well in all fairness, this isn't entirely true because we did see 2 sushi restaurants in Ottawa.  In any case, while researching what to eat in Ottawa, sometimes I just came to that consensus.

Throughout the years, I've always came back to my favorite haunt in Ottawa.   That would be The Black Tomato in Byward market.  It is housed in a wonderfully old building and has great atmosphere and music.  It's changed throughout the years, this time, I think it expanded into the lot next to them.  However, they always supported local farmers, their dishes were simple but delicious, and other then sometimes being very busy during dinner time, I've always enjoyed having dinner with a friend or companion whether or not it's at a perfect dimly lite table that made everyone look more attractive, on the patio, or at the bar when I was eating alone.  Best of all, the prices were reasonable, Lunch was between $10 and $17 dollars, dinner was anywhere from $12-$25.  The food always came out piping hot and fresh, the salads were crisp.  They cooked food like they cared.  Here's what we ate:

Fresh knotted buns with sesame seeds (complementary) with whipped herbed butter
The butter didn't taste like anything, but the knotted bread was hot and fresh out of the oven, fluffy and chewy. I always look forward to this starter.

Trillium Meadows wild boar and Maison du Gibier bison simmered in Big Dog Porter with roasted potatoes

This was absolutely delicious, while there was more wild boar then bison, this stew was exactly what I needed after a long weekend of very cold days and nights.  The stew was flavorful, the Big Dog porter definitely made the dish thicker and more flavorful, the potatoes were a tad more undercooked that I'm use to, but still delicious.  The slices of toast that came with the stew were amazing, just a little crispy on the outside, moist and fluffy on the inside, it was basically a larger version of the knotted bread starter.  What a steal at $16!  Most restaurants I've been to in Toronto/Montreal/Quebec City charge an "exotic" markup for game meats.  I will definitely get this again.

Lyons Family Farm smoked BBQ chicken served open faced with red onion & Glengary Lankaaster house-smoked gouda

Nick ordered this dish.  This smoked chicken was divine, I had no idea chicken could taste like that, it was lightly smoked and sweeter, even though I think the caramelized red onions and the BBQ sauce did help with the sweetness.  Nick thought the Gouda cheese was too mild for this sandwich, he felt the sandwich overpowered the cheese so he couldn't taste the cheese.  I thought it's a nice pairing as that means the cheese wouldn't over power the wonderful flavors of the chicken and the caramelized onions.  The salad was pretty standard, though I thought they poured too much olive oil on it.  The potatoes were the same slightly underdone that what we are use to (we're not use to crunchy potatoes), but they were still good.

Peanut butter Pie $5

This tasted exactly like peanut butter with whipped cream and cream cheese. It was a nice dessert, but it wasn't as mind blowing as I thought peanut butter pies could be.  Frankly I thought putting whipped peanut butter and melted lindt chocolate on to my french toast (recipe HERE)  but this pie was still tasty and a great end to a really nice lunch.

Overall, I would always come to The Black Tomato again.  They don't have an extensive menu, but what they do have they try to do well.  I definitely will go there again.  :-)

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