Food and Wine

NEW AND NOTEWORTHY: Five more taste-worthy new additions to Ottawa’s culinary scene

 

The 2012-2013 edition of Ottawa Magazine’s Eating & Drinking Guide is a food lover’s bible for everything local, with 80+ pages of restaurant, wine, food shop, and kitchen store recommendations. Look for it on newsstands or order it here.

Sneak Peek: Ottawa Magazine food editor Shawna Wagman provides the Eating & Drinking Guide with her choices for 15 taste-worthy additions to the local food scene. Here, her final five picks for tastiest new entries to the city’s simmering culinary landscape. (To check out the first five, click here, her second five, click here.)

 

Union Local 613. Photography by Doublespace Photography

Union Local 613
Is it too much of a stretch to refer to this instantly well-worn hot spot as Ottawa’s mecca for hipsters? We think not. Ivan Gedz, Matt Fantino, and chef Christopher Lord are the capital’s new restaurant-scene outlaws, triggering the same kind of thrill felt a few years ago when their former bosses ditched the tablecloths and pretentiousness of fine dining and gave us The Welly (a.k.a. The Wellington Gastropub). Unafraid to take us on a ride through some exhilarating and unfamiliar terrain (a menu of post-Prohibition-era cocktails paired with cheesy grits and boiled peanuts for starters), Union has gone whole hog for Southern cuisine and everything it stands for: honouring old-fashioned craftsmanship, staying connected to the past, and building ties within the community. The buttermilk-bathed fried chicken has become the signature dish, served without apology until 2 a.m. 315 Somerset St. W., 613-231-1010.   

Robz
There is no reason to suffer through another uninspiring cold deli-meat sandwich — not now that steakhouse executive chef Rob Johnson is slow-roasting AAA sirloin beef with real gravy, smoking whole turkey breasts, and pulling apart low ’n’ slow smoked pork with homemade barbecue sauce. He’ll build a satisfying sandwich or salad with any of the day’s home-style meats, pairing it with a pickle spear and some coleslaw. The hand-cut fries are irresistible, and homemade soups are a hit. Pulled-beef poutine is not for the faint of heart: fries with homemade gravy and squeaky cheese curds receive a drizzle of Robz’ sweet, tangy balsamic reduction. 1679 Carling Ave., 613-792-1987.

Seed to Sausage
Ottawa-raised Michael McKenzie has become the region’s pied piper of pork (and lamb and beef). Whatever he makes at his salumeria in Sharbot Lake, 130 kilometres west of Ottawa, a trail of chefs and foodies follows, holding baskets of crostini and jars of artisanal mustard. With endorsement from some of the biggest names in the business, word rapidly spread. The charcuterie and sausages are served on many top menus around town, and a wide assortment is available at specialty food shops, including the Ottawa Bagelshop and Piggy Market. Fans also seek out Seed to Sausage bacon at Farm Boy, where it is sold under its private label. 12821 Highway 38, Sharbot Lake, 613-279-2455.

Interior of Supply and Demand Foods & Raw Bar. (Doublespace Photography)

Supply and Demand Foods & Raw Bar
Fans of Steve Wall’s signature flavour-bomb dishes — think tuna crudo with lemon and truffle at The Whalesbone and melt-in-the-mouth chicken liver crostini at Town — knew it would just be a matter of time before we’d see this culinary virtuoso strike out on his own. And that’s just what happened in early 2013. Wall and his wife have created a personal restaurant in the heart of Wellington West that offers a truly fresh and relaxed approach to dining. The emphasis is on impeccable ingredients, properly prepared with a balance of flavours. The simple yet unpredictable dishes include raw and marinated fish and seafood, as well as fresh pasta, meat, and fish dishes. Vegetables, too often treated as garnish, also get their due respect here. 1335 Wellington St. W., 613-680-2949.

Two six {ate}
It has all the hallmarks of the new breed of hipster hangout: the tattooed chef, the reclaimed-barnboard walls, the old-school cocktails, the funky lighting, and the playful menu offering an upscale twist on such trashy kid foods as Pogos and poutine. Words such as foie gras torchon, sashimi, and heirloom tomatoes add heft to a menu that is a giddy mix of nostalgia and Italian classics. Steve Harris is the wizard in the kitchen that never quits (it stays open until 2 a.m. Wednesday through Monday). Together with his main squeeze, Emily Ienzi, he has created Preston’s hippest Italian-Canadian snack-food joint, one committed to nose-to-tail and seasonal cooking. 268 Preston St., 613-695-8200.


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