Tuesday, December 09, 2008
For all you whiners out there who think that I complain too much about this food disaster area that is Ottawa, here is an example of why I would say that I would have nothing to say about the food, where I am going.... HK vs Ottawa is not another city, country or planet... it's another universe man.....!!!
Chicken Wings served in a Michelin Starred restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel, Hong Kong.
as for commenting on HK restaurants..... well when they are like this.... I am beyond commentary....
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
of course I shall not be writing about Hong Kong restaurants, but anyone interested in food travels in Europe can check out my opinionated opinions at:
I would rate Ottawa as one the worst cities in the world, that calls itself international, to eat in. And the foodies, the least knowledgeable... Anne DesBrisay has an easy job....
2008 11 18.
PS for all those cussing about my 'racist' comments, I guess you have never read Hemingway...... and I am a chink..... and a proud one at that... but the human condition is not race based......
Saturday, November 01, 2008
New find in Toronto... if any of you are willing to travel.... At Eglinton and Mt Pleasant.... called oisi oyster..... see www.oisioyster.com.....
Just to show I have nothing against chinks who run jap restaurants... this is one run by a chinese guy, where they know how to do raw! Raw beef, fish (and they have toro, saki belly and uni...), lobster, even raw pork, if you ask...., oh yes and oysters..... and that's only the sashimi... the sushi rolls are pretty interesting as well.... and it's run by a chinese, as in chink..... lol.... so u see, I am not biased... just the chinks in Ottawa are too concern about milking the margins..... think it is actually against the Confucian philosophy on ethics and profits..... but that's another story...
ciao ciao... r
Indians in Ottawa, and other resto.... (Benitz, Fougeres, Navarra, Sans Pareil, Oz Cafe, etc ........
see rest of this site for my comments on the various indian resto's in Ottawa.... (there are a few... but changing....)
I know Indian food (ten years in India) and it sucks here.... big time...., in Ottawa..... (too much acclimatization to the Ottawa psyche....).... see comments on Ceylonta, etal....
And .... I also know Spanish and Portuguese food having lived in the region..... and Lebanon.... etc... so for all u anon guys... go lick a tree....
and much about french food... which is the only cuisine to negotiate the straits with the chinese .....
I will not write on Fougeres, Sans Pareil and Benitz Bistro ... as I do not find it worth my while.......... mediocre at best.... Sans Pareil has lost its Belgian-ese, Fougeres was uninspiring... rabbit dry, lamb indifferent and the rest... OK... and benitz... well a real disappointment.....
and Navarra, too cosmetic and superficial and probably a little too expensive for real 'world' diners.....
there is no hope for Ottawa... and I am glad I am leaving.....
Oz.... u can never get in....
2008 11 01
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Wanted to let you know that I shall be leaving for Paris the 3rd of Nov, via Montreal and Ottawa; and then leaving Paris for London the 10th and visiting Oxford... (I had suggested that I had friends there when el was considering LSE)..... probably going to have a pub lunch on remembrance day in Oxford, same day there...lol... and steak and kidney pie and Cornish pasties....ughhh; returning to Ottawa the 12th.
Probably catch a play in London... for a change, heard 'wicked' was playing.. and some curry!!! maybe fish and chips, although the last time this was really bad...; and hopefully will have some fun in Paris in Nov... a rainy and cold month when the airfares are cheap.... or cheaper...... yes, I shall go to some museums and sites, but looking forward to the cheese, for us lactose intolerants, probably an exciting adventure, and the brasseries (Lipp, Dome and Coupole), and cafes in the Quartier Latin..... Ste Germaine and St Michel. Believe impressionism at Rodan, L'Orangerie and Quay D'Orsay are also must sees... and some great 'open markets', but don't know if the weather will cooperate. Book stores... FNAC on rue moutard....lol.... it's all about food, isn't it?
If you have suggestions, let me know. I shall be eating at Senderens on the 4th, a three star restaurant giving up its stars and getting into a big debate with respect to 'who owns the stars' and 'whether the chef can give it up'. The chef, Alain Senderens is one of the original 'inventors' of nouvelle cuisine and have restaurants all over the world, including HKG, NYC, London.... It used to be called Lucas Carton, when it was three stars... I think he/restaurant probably became more famous because of that.....hahahahaha.... Now rated as 2 stars.... of course the chef doesn't own the stars.... E$150 for table d'hote.... ughhhh, but have to do it....
Only Italy left I think... no,... haven't been to Germany for Oktoberfest... hear the Germans hate it... and the Nordic places.... raw herring... ughhh..... have a relative in Switzerland and another in Sweden, but.... not close.....
love u and since u guys are in Tor. anyways, no sense leaving any more info.....
Friday, October 10, 2008
See comments in Benitz, etal, Suisha Gardens, etal, and Chef at Chez Eric, write ups/sections of this blog, but I thought I would provide my comments on the 10 best chefs in Ottawa who are competing in this cook off, of presumably hors d'oeuvres.....
First of all, the really bad ones that I would not care for:
Ben Baird @ Urban Pear
Arup Jana @ Allium
Steve Wall @ Whalesbone
Ones I have not tried with comments:
- Stev George, @ Olivea in Kingston.... not able to try, if they have to get someone from Kingston, says something about the chefs in Ottawa.
- Yannick Anton @ Signatures... since this is a teaching hospital, would not want to go there unless the chef is cooking and chances are he won't be....
- Pat Garland @ Absinthe... have not been, but have not heard good things about him and am loath to try, considering my standards...
- Mike Blackie @ Perspective ... @ hotel brookstreet.... have heard good things, but a hotel restaurant... can't be good and it's way out in the west end....
- Matt Carmichael @ 18.... I have heard lots of things about him, but not all of it good and given his work habits.... and I tried to get him a number of times in reservations specifying him in particular... and that he is a disciple of Susur, who is truly a hero of mine... as opposed to Vardy... I will leave to serendipity to make an appointment to eat at his place....
And finally the two that I have been to but have caveated as so so, in the respective sections herein...
Benitz @ Benitz
Charles Part @ Fougeres.
So..... that gives a good idea of what I think of the bistro cooking in Ottawa and will probably not bother with this cook off....
2008 10 22
PS.... fougeres won.....the best of the best in Ottawa.... I guess so..... going to give up on the others then.... I thought the food at fougeres was OK at best....
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Went to these four places recently and wanted to post something before it became stale-dated.....
Royal Treasure... forget about it... this is a regular haunt of mine that has raised it's prices twice in recent months and it is just not worth it.... Szechwan sucks and the rest is Cantonese stir fry..... I used to go here all the time... like every day....but other than the sour and hot soup and the large singles plates.... it’s the pits...
Allium is an avoid.... terrible food, surprised it is actually on a list of 'chefs' in Ottawa to eat at...
Fougeres was a disappointment... and I did not have high expectations.... the sommelier sucked and the food was at best country style cooking.... and relatively expensive because of the reputation.... I would pass on this one, although it was after many years that I found the occasion to go again recently... as in a couple of days ago....
Benitz, I was there in the past week and I was really disappointed....I shall write more, but it would appear that Derek was drawn between the two kitchens and was not present, in mind, the night I was there…... the wine, a malbec…… was fine…., but did not really go with the food….. and some of the food items were either too bland, as in the rabbit… or too ‘tick’… as in the soup, and duck confit…..
To be fair, I will write more on the details of Fougeres and Benitz... but the other two, AVIOD.....
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Just to confirm, we have an 8:30pm on Sat the 4th at Fougeres and we shall turn up at your place around 6pm, instead of 5pm.
I also have a reservation at Benitz Bistro on the 2nd for Thelma and I have been assured that Derek Benitz will be cooking that night. Also that they have opened a place next door called ‘b side wine’, which is a tapas wine bar type place where the evening chef is Tim Smith and Darryl at lunch…. I wouldn’t go there myself, but I just wanted to mention this as this is the same idea as I had very early in 2006 after I came back from Spain…. And the dishes are $10 a piece… so that would be around E4 a plate… relatively expensive and also I am not sure that a Canadian trained chef can do good tapas! Also I am not sure at all that Ottawans have the same ‘eating habits’ as the Spanish, with their special ‘tapas’ dance that they do before dinner…..
Will let you know how the Benitz trip goes……
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
and of course it's a whole lot cheaper..... in HKG..... A decent meal at a known restaurant with specialized foods will cost $20pp.... in Ottawa it may well be $80 if you're lucky enough to find the specialty.....
2008 10 22
actually the Vietnamese food in Ottawa, say at Viet Palace, is better than some of the places in HKG... and the prices are comparable... therefore expensive in HKG. Ottawa, because of Marion Dewar's project 2000, welcomed many viets here and most of them can cook....
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
This is poorly written and disjointed, but the spirit is here and I will edit later rather than delay publishing….
Although I try to stay with Ottawa restaurants, because of the lack of decent ones, I have started to try new recipes at home…. (and you all know how much I dislike cooking at home…)
Carlo Rota’s Great Canadian Food Show for a love of food….. NB scallops and lamb, NF berries, cod, cod tongue and cheeks….. other shows are mediocre at best…. Especially the one on Domus and the ‘freshness’ of Ottawa groceries…. Quebec City show was not bad…
And the one with Ken Roth’s Glenora distilleries in Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton, I think, the only place in North America to distill single malt whiskey is good from the single malt perspective, but really shows how little the Scots and by implication the English Canadian knows how to cook or eat! The shameful destruction of wonderful organ meats like kidney and liver, with wonderful lamb and other ingredients, drowned in scotch or malt whisky and stuffed into an oversized sausage called a haggis is a terrible waste of food…. I have had haggis in Ottawa before and well, to be very polite it’s an acquired taste, but to find out that it has such wonderful ingredients… it is wonton destruction of great ingredients…. And deep fried all else, the Scots cannot cook!
Point there was to lead into my comments:
But have to go to Jeff Alford for a combination of travel and food….. especially as an ‘outsider looking in’…..
Been reading Alford’s book…. Hot sour salty sweet (HSSS) … got the idea from Martha Stewart
Tried ‘your fav noodle’ for breakfast.
But deconstructed it to veggies, meat, noodles and sauce…
The sauce is the key….
It is very much like all other Asian noodles, like cha chuan mien…. (chinese spaghetti sauce, no tomatoes, with brown bean paste and minced pork)
It is fine when combined, but you need to know that it can be de-constructed… and that the sauce is a basic ingredient… it becomes less exciting then…..
And the primary secret in south asian cooking is the garlic and scallion roast …. I think to prepare the sauce and took some out before adding the dao ban jian (I used hot DBJ rather than the basic black salty one…)… etc… and it is a basic condiment in south asian cooking…. It goes with everything and certainly makes this noodle of your’s ‘superior’ rather than just ordinary…
I have seen this condiment in keao suie..… it is a very traditional Burmese dish used in eastern Indian, Burma and northern Thailand… basically a curry chicken coconut sauce over noodles… (your ‘Chiang Mai curry noodles’ or thai ‘khao soi)….. which you also have a recipe for… I have not tried but I think the secret in the sauce there is the red curry paste, which I shall buy and try… but the condiment of fried garlic and onion is a standard that went with that when I was in Burma….
I have a recipe from Charmaine Solomon’s Far Eastern Cookbook and a lost traditional recipe from my ancient brother’s Burmese (called panthee kowshwee) servant, circa 1800, but have not been able to try… I shall do so soon and report….
The store purchase red curry paste turned out great… and beats blending the individual ingredients…..
I don’t think your book really covers this, although you address the ‘stuff’ the locals put on, which is quite true… but short of doing your circuit, I cannot critically object to your analysis….
By the way, the deconstructed Thai ‘guaytio ladna’ (‘our fav noodles with greens and gravy’), turned out great… but for one person… deconstructed is better….!!!
The net link…. http://www.hotsoursaltysweet.com/ … although they have not deemed it appropriate to share some of these recipes out of context… which I agree with….. but that’s a shame as we all need net access to recipes…. After we buy the books…. Mangoes & Curry Leaves (MACL)….. India; and HSSS… South East Asia, are the two of the best books I have read on cooking in the region…. Although very short on details but good for context…
Kowshwe….. or Khao Soi (northern thai) in Alford’s HSSS.
The operation was a success, but the patient barely survived… lol.
I got the sauce and taste right, but after deconstruction, the chicken was not browned enough and probably should have use bone in rather than breast meat and the veggies were missing… though the deep fried accouterments were great…. Didn’t use the correct noodles, but that’s just the starch component and as long as it’s au dent…..
To cut the story short, the Holy Grail reference was that this was one of my brother in law’s favorite dishes as a child… he was Bengali and had a Burmese servant. Anyway, I loved it when I went to live with them in India….. Like my father’s cooking I suppose. When we went to England for our honeymoon, one of the requests was to get the recipe from him so that we could do it when we came back to Canada. For whatever reasons (being polite here), my ex never made it and the recipe was lost forever….. Just sort of like the Holy Grail story, eh? So it means a lot, that after all these some 40 years… that I am able to reconstruct at least the sauce of this dish and the flavour of a long lost treasure……
Found a recipe from Jeff Alford’s HSSSS that does not require a blender but uses red curry paste and fish sauce……
And Jeff…, Thanks for the Memories…..
Thursday, August 21, 2008
After reading Jeff Alford and finding that the chinese restaurants have priced themselves out of the Ottawa market, I thought I would try some Vietnamese restaurants that serve non street food…..
There used to be a Pacific Village many years ago, which folded, that had decent dishes outside of your noodles, wraps and rice dishes, but they gave it up, the matriarch who was the chef/cook retired… I still see gramps walking along the canal on the odd occasion….. I eventually migrated to New Mei Fung…. which had moved from Somerset to its expanded location on Booth. Apparently…. and I haven’t been back since they raised their prices in 2004 and 2006,… the restaurant has a new owner… so the cook/chef, also the mother… though much younger than the one at PacVi, is also gone… so…. the food…. I don’t know….
Anyway, the point is that with the Alford book exciting my taste buds and the price of chinese dishes rising… I thought I would give Viet Palace a try… Had been there once several years ago for beef brisket noodle soup… to try their viet green papaya salad and sweet and spicy fish…..
The restaurant has a full menu, but does not have great tasting food, but it is more classy than the usual viet pho place and they have interesting presentations. Tried the green papaya salad with shrimp, which was ok… didn’t know they had a more traditional one in the vegan section with no shrimps (there were no shrimps in mine either, think they were the small dried shrimps chopped up….) and their curried lamb with coconut milk… which was actually quite nice. Lunch for one with no alcohol came to $25. About average for this kind of meal these days. I have to go back and try their sweet and spicy viet style fish… and probably their quail and jackfruit and other exotic things….. Expect dinner would be in the same price range….
Sort of like a Yangtze of viet food…. Would definitely go back if it wasn’t eating just for one…. It would also take me a lifetime to go through their menu like the one at Yangtze… so….
2008 08 26...
Vietnamese are secretive people... think I said this elsewhere on the blog... but the more I know the more I feel this way..... maybe it's the immigrants on project 2000 and their children.... or it's the nature of their land... don't know...
anyway, went back to this place for a full meal, albeit at lunch time... had their ‘ca kho tieu’... or ca kho to’ on their menu... item 120 I think, which is their sweet and spicy fish.... on the menu it says special sauce, so ask for it in viet.... it was fabulous... best stew hot pot fish I have ever had.... don't know if it's as they make it in viet, but heck it was well done at this place…. had their papaya salad from their veggie section and honestly I couldn’t tell the difference between this one and the one with shrimp... ok to so so..... this plus rice and beers, came to $45 all in.... not bad for a stuffing good traditional viet meal..... you be the judge and check it out... it has a full menu and well, is pretty ok as a viet place to eat… the cooks can cook... not great, but can cook.... and if you ask for the specialties cooked in the traditional ways... you might get lucky... like Yangtze....
tried their ‘thit bo kho’ here 5 years ago on the recommendation of the matriarch at Pho Bo Ga and it was again pretty good.... middling, not as good as Pacific Village was... but don't know where to get this beef stew noodle dish anywhere in Ottawa these days.... they don't make it any more, either because it has be made in bulk, the beef stew part... and portioned out... or there is no demand… shame Ottawa… And they also used to make banh xeo... a viet crepe, but no more and ‘muoc tuoi’, squid with ginger and garlic... hot version... which is also not made any more.... so if interested... let me know where we can get this stuff that seems to have disappear once again into the Ottawa underbelly of food in-appreciation... or 'ottawa non foodies dot com'....
had drinks... so price doubles.... theory still works....
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
I re-read DesB’s article.
The chef at Eric’s is Che Chartrand and is not the same chef I am thinking about. Chartrand was probably just a cook at Beckta’s and Par’fyum learning from the master. The chef I was thinking of is Stephen Vardy… bit of a rogue and renegade he was one of the most creative and capable young chefs to have been working in Ottawa…. Believe he has left for
There are websites that track famous chefs….. and Vardy was one of the 5-10 real chefs in
Based on Des B’s review of Eric’s, I wouldn’t even bother to visit. Appears the only thing Chartrand can do is cure duck which is really just not cooking, it is made before hand and can be done at home at much less… (Terrine also mentioned, is a pre-prepared food…) And to drive so far…. it’s like that fish and chips place that Bill and I came up to visit when you bought your TT… so so….
There is another vegan place I visited when I was up there visiting Lynda, my
Thursday, July 31, 2008
I shall use this post to do a compare of the new Korean restaurants in Chinatown…. i.e., on Somerset between Preston and Bank….. I know about Joy.... but ….
There are only three…, I don’t consider Seoul House to be a new Korean in Chinatown as it is well established and the food is just plain poor… and the sushi….
SooRa, Bulgogi (BG) and a yet to be named place across the street from Bulgogi in the NW corner of the block with Chu Shing on it…. another spot that cannot keep restaurants going… as is BG’s, whereas SooRa is in the old Chuck Brown’s location….
You will see details on Bulgogi in another part of this blog.
Went to SooRa for lunch and the impression this time around was that it is a place that is trying to be ritzy with the prices to go along with it. In terms of value for money, Lunch was $20, vs. $15 for BG and $10 for Arum’s. For essentially the same components in terms of food….
I would say it was a little expensive… and the comments from waitress Erin (lunch everyday except Fridays… she is cute but married to a ToiShan guy for god sake!), were that comments from initial customers are that people in Ottawa like their food with more salt, msg and spice than normal… and the food in Korea is plainer in terms of soy/salt/msg, but more pungent. I just said… do you want to compete for the real connoisseurs or the general public!
Anyway, for $20 (tea was $3 more) you don’t even get a lot… but the Kalbi ribs, i.e., meat, was pretty impressive… as in tasty and very good quality cuts…(chef does his own),…. so much for Ottawans wanting more soy… and I eat a lot of salt. I will try another traditional meal of ‘rice with tea’ next…. sounded fascinating. Pork Bone Soup, shabu and table BBQs will just have to wait for a compare with BG….The soup and kimchi had more bonito flavoring in it than BG’s… some might like that more, as in the Jap palates. The green salad I have commented on before….they also had little binnies, or potato pancakes, but I think ‘Chicken Boy’ near Korean Gardens does this much better…. They don’t have sushi yet…no fridge in yet…. and they are planning some tradition kaisaki style Korean dinners… which I am looking forward to. This is besides the other stuff mentioned in an earlier related post.
All in all, so far, just a nice traditional, but expensive Korean place that might stray from the ‘right’ way, due to local tastes… ‘too much pastiche here’!!! They have only been open 1.5 months and already have a feel that they should adapt… like the Chinese restaurants…. They have cooks from Korean… my suggestion is to stick it out and stay away from the competition…. And take the less trodden path to authentic Korean food….
2008 08 29
Had the ‘pork belly’ table top cooking at Soo Ra and it was terrible… they also had a problem with their table top elements for cooking, as they are trying to get a liquor license and the gas feeds were not up to code, so they have all been disconnected for 4 – 6 weeks. So table top cooking consists of pans on top of tables with no exhaust… who would want to do this!!! The restaurant stinks!
The waitress without giving out this info said pork belly was smoky and would we like it cooked inside the kitchen, so we said yes and it came out absolutely miserable!. So hands down Bulgogi is better again because, as I said, the ingredients are better... and for table cooking you do it yourself anyways… so crowds…. move to Bulgogi… at least for the next 4-6 weeks….
Of course we also had the cold noodles, which is not available at BG and the pancakes were not much better and the spicy beef stew was so so….. So besides the Kalbi and the other stuff mentioned above… SR is having troubles….
Waiting for the new one on Somerset…. Bring on the competition…
Kwon’s Chicken House for best pancakes….
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I am willing to moderate a discussion on what constitutes GOOD COOKING.
A Good Cook
1) does not waste
2) knows how to use "leftovers"
3) is a teacher or an artist or both
4) knows the difference between cooking and eating
5) understands quantity vs quality vs value
6) shows us something we don't know
7) able to make leftovers taste good rather than depend on the 'freshness of ingredients'
8) understands the difference between looking good and tasting good.
This following discussion constitutes an interesting perspective of what it's about.....
It is a debate between my son and I… you can guess at the names… but the perspectives are interesting… on ‘Give it up, Anne’… on this site….
"C'mon dad! Ceylonta is a great place. My wife and I really liked it.
I think you might be getting caught up in the "it's not authentic so it isn't good" problem that most restaurant reviewers (and critics in general) get caught up in.
I would argue that 'ethnic food' in a foreign country (if we can even say that) is more about pastiche than it is about bringing you the 'taste of India' or an 'authentic Chinese experience'. But that doesn't make it any less meaningful (or less tasty). Food, like culture, is not some static thing that exists outside of time and cultural-historical context. It is constantly changing, becoming better or worse as the case and tastes may be.
In the cultural context, we might look at selected middle-eastern, Chinese or some Indian communities that live here in
Hahaha... yeah, that makes some sense."
And my response….
"Well, since you made a comment and such a thoughtful one, I would have to respond.
You have to tell me why you think Ceylonta is a 'great place'? I know how much you know about Indian food and how much spice you can handle. And I only base my comments on the food. I think the ambiance and other aspects are more subjective.
The food at Ceylonta, at the original location on
Pastiche! I had to look the word up. Although I agree there is some degree of transformation, both by the local input... eg, 'chinese canadian food' or thru evolution... eg, 'fusion food, pan pacific, etc', it is true that it does not make it less tasty, but to whom? I do not look for a potpourri when I go to a specific restaurant. I go to Ceylonta, for instance, to eat South Indian food.
Your temporal argument is really quite academic as is your point vis a vis culture.
I feel the food experience should be something that the restaurant brings you in such a way as to exhibit the particular ethnic culture and brings it to life. It has to excite. The gold standard right now in
As for your point comparing authenticity to power and control over what is right and wrong, that is a societal constraint, not one bounded by creativity. Fusion food came about? The $150 hamburger vs. the Works are just some examples. Would I eat a $150 hamburger, certainly, if it has truffles and foie gras in it. But I tried the Works' $20 hamburgers and while it is superior to
As for an authentic chinese experience, there are so many restaurants in Toronto nowadays, that have gone beyond that already, with chinese restaurants creating new dishes that are 'cross-cultural', ‘non traditional’.
In fact, although a few years ago, I would have said the viet soup was better in Ottawa than even Toronto, because people there was trying to find the margins, the level of viet food in Ottawa has gone steadily downhill. That is why I am agonizing over the quality of the
So is the food authentic? I am not arguing that it should be, simply that if a restaurant wants to represent a certain regional cuisine, then it should not stray too far, but in the name of experimentation and creativity, there is certainly room. But this is absent in most
Therefore, my point is that if as consumers, we don't complain enough, we will never get the quality and standard of restaurants that we deserve. And Ceylonta is pretty low on the totem pole. But alas, perhaps I complain too much. If nobody cares, then we will continue to be treated badly and even regress, like the chinese food in
But when someone like the respected Anne Desbrisay supports this mediocrity, she should just stay out of the ethic arena."
Posted by Richard to Eat, Drink, Ottawa at 5/26/2008 11:45 PM
Posted by Richard at 11:21 AM
Friday, July 25, 2008
Have to go there more often to really give a decent comment, but a first blush is that they are way too expensive and use a lot of mayo and cream to bring out the flavour of their rolls. So for those with egg or lactose allergies..... forget it.
Otherwise, they have a half price sale a half hour before closing, which in the Glebe, is 10pm everyday, except for Sunday, Monday and Tuesdays, when it is 9pm.
They usually run out at about 29min to closing; and at half price, the average cost is still 50c a piece, for mostly maki rolls, with a nigiri or two thrown in! That's expensive. Cheap is as in
Two new restaurants besides
There is also Seoul House, but that place although run by a Korean family, tries to be more Japanese, as in their Korean food really sucks…. The name is quaint. I used to go there regularly when it was the only Korean/Jap place in Chinatown and dropped $300 there for lunch for two, 6 years ago, with a babe from
SooRa (SR)…. I stand by my comments about Bulgogi, their ingredients and kimchi are still the best in
SooRa has decent Korean chefs. The cooking is pretty good in that it tastes good, not because of the ingredients, but the method. The soy sauce and kimchi were still pretty low quality, and you don’t get that green tea or miso soup, the ‘side dishes’/kimchi were especially poor, one being just a green salad…., but the menu is certainly more exciting.
I will do a head to head with Bulgogi and the other new one when I get a chance. I have been to BG for their pork and beef ‘cook at the table’ dinners and the price is certainly comparable. I must say the beef at BG was pretty badly marinated…. (used dark soy instead of light soy) but I have also said this about their squid and octopi before… they are not that good at the cooking part of the equation….
SR also has the cold noodle soup amongst others, like pork bone soup…. very big in Tor right now…, and a better variety of choices, but no booze license yet and the owner just 5 months from Korean… guess I forgot to ask North or South… but he apologized for not speaking English well, which surprised me….. said that they will also have sushi starting next week… the restaurant is only 1.5 months old. The décor is nice and prices comparable to BG. They also have a tatami room and Korean style hot pots. And interesting combo dinners. I had the grilled fish and beef marrow, bone and brisket soup… it was pretty impressively cooked… the fish (mackerel) was nicely grilled with a teriyaki coating, the soup in a separate pot tasted pretty ‘thick’. The kimchi was not great and they had a sweet potato soup (instead of the usual miso) that was ok. $20 for a meal…. About the same price as BG… expensive for
We leave the comments on the survival of BG till I have tried the ‘compare’ between all three new Koreans in
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Well the real McCoy is nothing like the ad. It stinks and the meat patty is as bad as ever. For $10 with a drink and fries, it's something to avoid. Stay with Harvey's.
Actually, I really like Arby's roast beef sandwiches and make a point of stopping in Kingston on the way down to Toronto. Of course, there are no Arby's in Ottawa.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Was watching CTV and know how much my son likes Beef Tartare and Sushi and generally raw stuff…. (I know where he got his cravings from….). So I thought I would comment, in case he reads this....., on the Wellington GastroPub’s beef tartare.
It would appear that the beef tartare, served as an appetizer, could be eaten as a dinner. If the chef… and elsewhere I have commented on his cooking abilities,… is accurate in his representations on CTV today as to the ingredients of the tartare, I would say that this is the place to try it… definitely! I think it would be the tenderloin; egg yolk only; and truffle oil that would make or break this dish. As Chris Deraiche (chef) says, it is pretty simple to make at home…. , but who the hell wants to buy all of the ingredients….and do it at home….. Especially the truffle oil…. (Oooopppss I forgot for a moment that I was in
I will be sure to give this dish a try… just hope that Deraiche is there when I order…. Maybe I should ask when I make my reservation, whether he is working that night…. (TIC… as in Tongue in Cheek!).
The food is ok (as in less than 50% 'marks wise’) at this place, but the ‘organization’ works very well……. see elsewhere on this site for those comments.
My response to Deraiche’s question as to why anyone would want to eat this stuff....., it’s like why the Japs eat blowfish… and mmmmmhhhh…, because it tastes great! especially in
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Elsewhere on this blog, I have given this place faint praise for the food, as in cooking, wait staff and atmosphere (the ingredients were horrid). Well, I have been back today and the ingredients have improved, but the cooking has gone downhill significantly, the wait staff has deteriorated and the prices have gone up!
(I am also planning a piece on what constitutes a ‘good restaurant’ and my basic premise is that the COOKING has to be good… the other stuff like fresh ingredients, love of the food, can be replicated at home (see DesBrisay’s article this weekend); and the atmosphere and wait staff… well, if you had enough money, it can all be done… the difference is in the cost benefit analyses. I pay for good cooking and well…. there is not a lot of it in
All this to say that this place, Tucson’s, now is on the list of avoids because it sucks... no matter who the blues groups are that are coming through.
I had a ribeye and mash, their 'special potato’ for the day. The ribeye was nice enough, ingredient wise, but it isn't too hard to do steak. The grill was obviously not hot enough and I had to ask for it to be put back on the grill to sear (and make the grill hotter this time! … nicely, of course). See, I like my steak
The potatoes were awful and tasteless. Pretty hard to screw up mash! … And the veggies... please, ... all restaurants cooking snow peas, for god sake... take the strings out of them... it's like those viet restaurants that would not buy the more expensive bean sprouts without the tails.... it really depreciate your food!!!
The steak was $30! And the beers were $12. Plus tax and tip for lunch... a $50 bill, for one! For that kind of price.... I expect more... much more.... It's like Gordon Ramsay says... if you can't FRIGGING cook meat on a Barbee... you shouldn't BE in the business....
The best ribeye in
Monday, June 30, 2008
Will report more on this place in Chinatown, but if you liked the kimchi at Arum’s, you will find the ex-owner has moved to the
(There are actually two more Korean Jap places opening soon, besides the Seoul House. Can
The reason why the kimchi is so good is that the ingredients are good. And the ingredients at this place are so good because the owner is from
And my opinion is that Bulgogi now makes one of the best in
I am going to try their ‘cook your own’ dinners for two, but split for one… the advantages of knowing the owner…. Lim is her name, and the waiter’s Eddie. Tell them Richard sent you…. Maybe they’ll do it for you too.
Buffet to come soon plus all you can eat ‘cook your own’, which was something very big in
No booze license and they will sell you the kimchi separately if you like and ask. They are thinking of having a small store upstairs in the near future. For a place that has been open 8 months now, they sure move glacially. Maybe that’s a good thing in this time of tumultuous change?
2008 06 30.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
This place has a lot going for it and it shows in the clientèle. Mostly young urban golden triangle dwellers. Been there several times. French toast is great for brekka, sandwiches with poutine for late night dinners. Desserts are creative and fun… and the waiters generally know what they are talking about and pretty non-intrusive.
The only thing is that when it gets busy, it’s a pain in the ass. And it usually is. And don’t drink because the booze is really quite expensive.
All in all a nice local eatery for that quick bite, if they have room. $30 pp all in with a beer, but you can get by on $10 pp if you don’t drink and eat only a main. The sandwiches are $4.99 plus $3.50 for the poutine, which I am told is ‘the best in
Would I go back? Sure, if I wanted a quick meal and instead of
La Roma is one of the originals in
Not bad but I would not write home about it. Tilapia was done well if a little insipid. Manicotti was OK, Carrot soup need more blending, but some like to feel the carrots and sage. Tiramisu was a little too light... needed more body... as in mascarpone.... With a glass of wine…. $80 pp. About average for
Saturday, May 17, 2008
forget it... horrid food... except for jazz night with their weekend steak special for $10.
All else is a failure and I would give it minus marks out of 6.... as with all restaurants in the Glebe .....
It was upstairs... so for anyone handicapped... it's out. Not exactly impressed by the decor and the acoustics was terrible.... and we did not have reservations, but was kindly given a table if we 'could be done in an hour.'.... typically 'Ottawa silly'.... (there's also a story on the people who reserved for 7:30pm ... who were given a better table.... so I don't know...)
The one outstanding feature with this restaurant is that the restaurant works.... in terms of communications.... Everyone talks to everyone... the manager is excellent in ensuring the staff know what the hell they were doing, the wrong wine recommendations are promptly returned... the bus boys talk to the waitresses and they to the owner and then to the kitchen, and then it goes around. Since we were only to have an hour, the food came promptly.... so the kitchen must be informed of the priorities.... Little did they know, we were gourmands.....
That was about the only real plus with this place. Service was ok.... The decor/environ was shit as mentioned above... and the food was so-so.... not very creative at all, but consistent to the level of restaurants that it strives to be... so not bad... And $60/person all in... not bad, but I wouldn't go back.....
We had, ... well what does it matter... the food was consistently good, but not to die for and to remember... pumpkin soup was good... tuna sashimi appetizer was ok, pork belly and pork roast was interesting (both the last two were very very Asian), but pork was a little over done (dry) on the outside and just pink on the inside... belly was good; and then the rib steak... it's better at Prime 360 or Metropolitain Brass, but then that's the only thing Prime 360 can do.... so the repertoire is much greater here. Mashed potatoes with the rib steak was excellent and beans were good.... no dessert or coffee or .... and a glass of wine each... and $60 each (or $120 since there were two of us for all of the above). They do have an interesting wine list and have lots of varieties by the glass and their beer list is interesting.
so that's it... ho hum ... as all Ottawa eateries are wont to....... there is some magic here, but it is all in the organization....
Sunday, April 27, 2008
This Sunday's review of Mambo Restaurante is certainly very useful. The food was shit, so for me she was right on; and as she was, I was also looking forward to this restaurant. Thanks to her review, I shall certainly save up my pennies for Le Baccara.
I don't comment on mediocre restaurants, one way or the other, and I have been to a few in the last little while including: Angelina's on Preston (the Italian Embassy goes there for pizza? maybe, but not); La Favorita on Preston (renewed decor, Canadian style, pizza hut type pizza, love it... skip the thin crust); Works in the Glebe (I like Harvey's better value); Clocktower Brew Pub (nice beers, rushed service and the fish absolutely sucks... reminds me of 1980 pub fair); Pe Nan Wok (generally a miss unless you know what to order...); Siam Kitchen (way past its prime, run by non Thais); Pot Au Feu in Wakefield (nice patio by the rails, lousy service and poaches eggs were ok); Soup' Herbe in Chelsea (service was good but too formal (as in anal), food, all vegan stuff, was nice, soups were great, if it was only not out in Chelsea; it's like the fish & chips place up there, very early on in this blog); The Brig on York in the market (same as Works, except they have a nicer patio and was in the 'centro'); amongst other more forgettables .....
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Give it up, Anne Desbrisay....!
Other than French and 'Canadian' cooking, you should give up reviewing ethic restaurants....
I am alumni and am tempted to go to your Queen's 'talk', but am afraid I might bust your balloon and create a scene.....
The subject today…. your review of the new Ceylonta location.....
Anyone with any small amount of understanding of Indian cooking, culture and knowledge through living the ‘Indian life’ will tell you that you are way off base... I read your first and last paras and that was enough....
There are no decent Indian restaurants in
Tandoori was brought in by the moguls and Alexander, the western coasts of
It's like comparing Cantonese food with the Mandarin, Shaghainese and Szechwan cuisines.... by the way; there are no real decent Chinese restaurants in
Be that as it may.... it is really distasteful to me that Anne DesB and Ottawans, besides French and Canadian foods.... know little about other cuisines.... why? ... because no one wants to live here and Ottawans as a general group 'celebrates mediocrity' in terms of food and restaurants....
Friday, February 15, 2008
Thank goodness for google? To continue the discussion of national dish, here is what wiki says. I was essentially stuck in the pre 1980s thinking on this, before computers could merge international thinking and change perceptions.
The only error I found was that Portugal’s dish is incorrect... at least pre 80’s when it was porco a la alentejana, a pork stew with clams from a central region of Portugal where you would never think clams existed! Maybe that’s why they have moved it to bacalhau… dried cod fish. Or maybe it was political… in the sense that they wanted to corner the last remaining market for cod. Would I go in and change it… not worth the effort, but….
Sauerkraut is the German dish…. And maple syrup, Canadian… I think we had about half of those on the list. Like Peruvian cerviche, Chilean sea bass… You were also correct in the regional dishes…. But this I think is a North American phenom as they ‘own’ the internet.
Gee I could talk food forever… the Ethiopian chicken and egg is one that requires more study as to why, I think. It tastes like a dry chicken drumstick curry with the hard boiled egg in it, very similar to a Japanese dish….. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Did you know that the Japanese have no word for ‘thank you’ before the Portuguese arrived; and the jap word ‘arigado’ is from the Portuguese ‘obrigado’? Culture and food, which came first?
Friday, January 11, 2008
Had to try the
Other than that, I would say that Habesha had more Ethiopian customers than Blue Nile, so on the theory that the ‘locals’ would go to their favorites, Habesha is the better bet. Shame though, because the décor was much better at
Would I go back? Service was next to nil. Got my bill wrong. And the restaurant was empty. I don’t even remember the address anymore.
Habesha, Ethiopian @ 1087
After watching the ‘take home chef’ do a beef wellington, I was encouraged to visit what might be the food of kings and emperors before Christ. I sound like I am following the Desbrisay trail.... I must admit, I had noticed this restaurant before; replacing a Vietnamese restaurant that I thought was most creative with a real chef from
If you like injera, which is a sour pancake eaten as a bread or staple, then this could be a place for the adventurous and frugal. (Is this the same restaurant that DesB visited?)
The prices are great and I am waiting to go back to try the lamb tripe, and dry beef dishes.... And who am I to judge whether the pharaohs, Caesars, and
I would call them curries, rather than stews... curries without the 'curry' of
I don't know if I sat in an unheated corner, but I am absolutely chilled after a lunch I had there on a very warm Jan day. Do I think the food has a cooling effect, definitely. And wine actually goes with Ethiopians... vis a vis Indian (East) food, which does not go with wine at all......
Cash only!...., but good value, if you like sour pancakes. $20 pp for a meal with a beer/wine. I will write more on the other more exotic dishes, which I am dying to try. To call them stews is indeed a sin. I only saw africans there....
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
As the common indian in Ottawa has stated, this is probably the best value for Indian food in Ottawa, if you are willing to go all the way out to the west end....
Dinner for two, $80, all in, no booze. That's about average for a meal in Ottawa, but this place is actually quite tasty. In line with the Haveli's, or benchmarks in Ottawa. Tandoori and nan, a little burnt, but I like the carcinogens. Beef with spinach... the spinach was excellent, cheese (paneer) with okra, they made that especially for us, was very nice. Pickles, yogurt (raita), rice, roti and that's how it adds up. All pretty ok... the main dishes were better.
The owners have changed, but the food is still pretty good. Par with all of the best indian restaurants in Ottawa..... like the chinese.... the best is a 2/5. It was obviously not outstanding, but I have yet to have an outstanding indian meal in Ottawa.
Saturday, January 05, 2008
Except it is at the old 'Salvatore's' location near Carling, on Rochester.
Somewhere between the Arachnid's and the rest.....
See other parts of site for better valued places... I like it cause it's closer now than ever, despite DesBrisay's claim that you can never get a seat at Nokam's... maybe she takes up too much room....!
I still think Bangkok Thai is the best for value in between the thais and the chinks.