The Ottawa Food Scene: Well Seasoned with a Pinch of Salt…

Yes, yes, yes, I am on a restaurant review rampage these days! Of Ottawa restaurants that is! The King and I have eaten out more often than usual lately and I feel I should share the experiences. We have stumbled on a few “misses” which I was quick to write about, hoping to save any of you from wasting your precious money on subpar joints. But we have had the pleasure of eating at a fair number of really, really good restaurants in recent months. This city has enough to offer to keep many of us happy, there is no need to frequent less than stellar establishments! Ottawa may be not be the Mecca of gastronomy like New York or Montreal but per capita, it sure offers a wonderful array of great restaurants: good food is up for grabs in many categories, from “fast” food to pub grub to fine dining. We are so lucky because even if this is a small town it is BIG on culinary celebrations!!

So why have I not blogged more frequently about our weekly visits since we go out so frequently? Well, the reasons are either the lack of photos or if I actually remember to snap a few shots, they are often of very poor quality pictures. In our world of Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, an image is worth a thousand word: we feast with our eyes first isn’t that right? My photos lack proper luminosity and I apologize for that. As well, writing a full blown and engaging review is rather time consuming. It is not that I do not enjoy taking the time to write reviews, it is more an issue of lack of time!!! A good chunk of my writing  is devoted to recipes, which then leaves me short on time when it comes to write restaurant reviews. Having said that, I experience as much joy cooking in my kitchen as I do going out to dinner so how can I share both passions on my blog and still manage to have a conversation with the King from time to time? Ha! I think I have come up with a solution. Instead of writing a frou-frou text about my experiences, colourful in adjectives, superlatives and imagery, I have decided to simply get to the point! Ok, I do not promise to never, ever  write colourfully frou-frou texts anymore but I will try to make my restaurant reviews easier to digest quickly (ooooo, the pun!). Following the nouveau chefs’ trends of “deconstructing” recipes by presenting each component of a dish separately on a plate where each item is its own entity, easy to identify and plated in such a way that it not only shines on its own but marries well with the others. So my “deconstructed” restaurant reviews will mostly present themselves as list of  “ingredients” which make (or break) a dining out experience.

For you the reader, I am hoping you will be able to find the info you need quickly and efficiently without having to read a novel on the subject. If you enjoy this new format, if you find it useful, if you have an opinion, please let me know because ultimately, I hope to make your experience perusing through my blog as enjoyable as possible. Now on with the first deconstructed review!

Salt

345A Preston St. Ottawa, ON K1S 1V6
Sunday through Thursday  from 11am – 11 pm
Friday, Saturday  from 11am – 1 am
Parking: surrounding streets or free underground parking (please have restaurant validate parking voucher)

Ambiance and décor:

  • Deliciously urban chic: lots of bling, plush seating, soft lighting
  • Live entertainment in the lounge area on select evenings. On the night we attended, we thoroughly enjoyed a performance by Jeff Rodgers at the piano

Menu:

  • Eclectic Fusion? I am unsure how to describe the culinary style or movement which infuses dishes with International flavours, sometimes in very unusual yet successful combinations
  • Meats including game, fish, seafood and pasta

Food:

  • Overall: a home run! All our dishes were skillfully executed, presented in a timely fashion, fresh and at the correct temperature. You could taste the culinary team’s pride in their craft.
  • Highlights
    • Cocktails: yummy, yummy cocktails! Interesting selection thanks to the talent of the in-house mixologist
    • Appetizers: Seared B.C. Albacore Tuna won this round. Followed closely by the Salmon Sashimi and the Beef Tongue Rillettes.
    • Mains: Mariposa Duck Confit took the winnings in round 2 and two thumbs up for the Bacon Wrapped Quebec Arctic Char
    • Sides: Parmesan Truffle Frites!!! You MUST order these frites. We ordered twice!
    • Desserts: none were ordered BUT we splurged with after dinner drinks which should count as dessert. Especially the Lemon Meringue Martini: OMG!!! I had 2 helpings.
  •  A bit less enthusiasm was shared by all over the Roasted Bone Marrow (which we expected would crown this course). It was good however a bit salty and missing a touch of acid to cut through the richness of the marrow
  • The boys ordered steak (the girls yawned at their choice…) and they were done well, as they should have 🙂

Service:

Above average: attentive yet not over bearing, extremely knowledgeable of the menu and wine list and able to synchronize proper course timing. We liked a lot.

Prices:

Medium to high end: expect about $100 per person if you opt for the cocktail/wine/three course dinner

Final words: Friends have highly recommended although online reviews certainly had us wondering  if Salt would deliver. Our experience was really, really positive. I would definitely go to Salt again! We particularly enjoyed the opportunity to move to the lounge after dinner and listen to the entertainment. We thought the food was delicious and the dining venue more comfortable than most. One word of advice for women: you will need a sweater or a jacket to cover up as the ambient temperature is set to cool.

Processed with MOLDIV
Dinner at Salt from left to right, clockwise: Duck Confit, Aphrodite’s Abbey Signature Cocktail, Albacore Tuna, Arctic Char, Steak and Truffle Frites, Sashimi Salmon
Processed with MOLDIV
Dessert: Lemon Meringue Martini

 

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