Food and Wine

Best New Restaurants 2013: 3. Hooch Bourbon House

For better or for worse, the name Danny Mongeon has become synonymous with horse. The ambitious cook first served horse tartare as part of the tapas menu at Brut Cantina Sociale in Hull, where he came out of the woodwork as its opening chef. When he launched his new venture, Hooch, in the summer, some of us waited for the horse to appear. And it did. The meat is served on homemade brioche and topped with a golden quail egg yolk. It’s an appetizer at dinner or a late-night snack (Hooch stays open until 2 a.m.) to accompany a long list of bourbon and cocktail options. This is Rideau Street, after all, a corner of the ByWard Market where drinking trumps dining; it takes a lot of guts to try to turn the tide. At first glance, the menu reads like a greatest-hits album of restaurant trends — Southern molecular raw-bar gastro-tavern, anyone? The decor, too, mimics others more than it should, yet something pure and original shines through. Whether serving chicken and waffles, burgers and poutine, or Mongeon originals (smoked mackerel terrine, scallops paired with crackling, or a mushroom po’ boy that’s better than any authentic Creole cousin), this is food that hits a bliss spot rarely experienced elsewhere. Diners would be wise to look past its unpolished service and tattoo-parlour view to see Hooch for what it is: a diamond in the rough. 180 Rideau St., 613-789-1821


Best New Restaurants 2013: 3. Hooch Bourbon House

  • Gin
  • St. Germain liqueur
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Lemon juice
  • Basil
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