Articles Tagged ‘Murray Street’

DESBRISAY DINES: The Dish List of 2014

Dish List

In Anne DesBrisay’s inaugural year as Ottawa Magazine’s restaurant critic, she witnessed dramatic openings, chef shuffles, and shuttered restaurants. And she ate plenty of amazing meals. Invariably, every dining-out experience sees some standout dishes (and some that fail to impress). So it is DesBrisay’s job to steer eaters in the right direction; she is that friend who guides you through the menu with helpful nods that result in a satisfying meal. This list brings together some of those suggestions. Some have been on the menu for a long time. They’ll likely never be completely bumped off (looking at you, Les Fougères) for fear of facing fan outrage. Others are more seasonal treats.

They may be on; they may be off; they may have been tweaked a bit. Some plates are complicated don’t-try-this-at-home triumphs, and other tastes are as humble as well-made pie. Read it as you would a tourist guidebook — if you’re here, order that — and, because menus change frequently and some of these dishes are no longer offered, they are ones to look for should they appear on a specials board or a tasting menu. Herewith, the dishes DesBrisay suggests you take for a spin when you’re next noshing at one of these fine establishments.

See the full list >>>

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ANNE’S PICKS: Anne DesBrisay waxes poetic about pulled pork — and Murray Street’s brunch

Solid goodness: Oozing out of the pancake, a wildly rich filling of barbecue pulled pork, baked beans, and aged cheddar cheese.

Here’s a brunch pick for you. Or, more precisely, “That Weekend Thing” at Murray Street, with its Mission Statement of  “Pork Fat: we put that #%$# in everything!”

Indeed they do. Come hungry and come keen, ’cause if you’re looking for cool riffs on the bacon and eggs breakfast and have no interest whatsoever in seeing anything green on the plate, Murray Street delivers with unabashed enthusiasm and no shortage of heft.

This is brunch that will stick with you all day. Maybe all week. This dish in particular — a pulled pork “potaco” they call it because the taco shell is fashioned with potato. Oozing out of the crisp and gooey rosti-like pancake, a wildly rich filling of barbecue pulled pork, Murray Street’s baked beans, and aged Pine River cheddar cheese. On top, a smoked tomato relish and on the side a dollop of sour cream. Canadian comfort food at its very finest.

The post-brunch plan was to work it off with a long, hard skate. Plan B was to have a nap. As luck would have it, the canal was closed.

Cost: $15

Open: Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 

Murray Street, 110 Murray St., 613-562-7244.

Best Restaurants of 2011: #9 Murray Street Kitchen Wine Charcuterie

The Murray Street Reuben includes Don O’Brien beef brisket on Rideau Bakery rye with in-house sauerkraut, in-house pastrami, le Clos St-Ambroise cheese, pickled onions, and spicy mustard-mayo. Photo by Lalonde.

It’s not just the giant pig’s head theme that makes me feel that Murray Street is an unnaturally macho environment. It has always struck me as a place where boys feel most welcome. That and the $30-plus main courses (lunches make more sense at $16) are what drive me nuts about this place. Let’s just get that out of the way.

No one else has embraced the locavore and snout-to-tail cooking crazes as seriously as chef Steve Mitton. If you’re thinking you want to gather up a bunch of mates to feast on parts of a pig once reserved for the compost, Mitton is your man. His dedication to connecting Ottawa eaters with the food that is grown and raised all around us is admirable. This year he aimed to expand the reach for his farm-to-table proselytizing with Murray’s Market, a nearby takeout shop and lunch counter where customers had access to many of the raw ingredients used in the restaurant. Unfortunately, though the restaurant remains as popular as ever, the Market lasted but a few months, closing up shop in October.

The restaurant’s Canadian cheeses and unusual charcuterie offerings make for some of the best noshing in town. I watched a pair of well-heeled lunching ladies clink their wineglasses as they surveyed their selection of artfully displayed smoked duck breast, seven-year-old cheddar, and elk terrine delivered on a large wooden cutting board. Clever boys’ clubs know how to charm the ladies.

110 Murray St., 613-562-7244,

CITY BITES LIVE: The Art of Living according to Joe Beef (a dinner party of sorts) Feb. 27, 6-9 pm

Making their first appearance in Ottawa, Joe Beef's chef-owners-turned-authors are the guests of honour at our Joe Beef-inspired dinner

If you’ve been tuned into the food, restaurant, or cookbook worlds lately, there is one name on everyone’s lips: JOE BEEF. The larger-than-life duo of David McMillan and Frédéric Morin, co-owners of Montreal’s beloved bistro, are our guides to The Art of Living According to Joe Beef. Their cookbook (of sorts) — like their restaurant — serves up a dose of nostalgia alongside a modern vision of a world  in which you’d eat foie gras breakfast sandwiches with maple mustard at 7 a.m. or 7 p.m.. Lucky for us, these guys are great cooks, inspiring storytellers, and wonderful company.

On Monday Feb. 27, Fred and Dave will hop aboard a train (of course! See Chapter 3 for Fred’s top train itineraries) from Montreal to Ottawa to join us for a one-of-a-kind dinner party in their honour. Ottawa Magazine and City Bites has partnered with Urban Element for another spectacular City Bites Live event, an evening dedicated to eating, drinking, and talking with our mouths full.

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Ottawa’s Top 10 Restaurants

Dining has moved into a new era where respect for culinary tradition and home cooking collides with vanguard ideas. This season, the best meals are coming out of kitchens where the chefs excel at experimenting while keeping it real.Food editor Shawna Wagman’s Top 10 Restaurants List.

Photography by Lalonde

What do ideas taste like? We eat them all the time, though we may not be aware of it. And it is the city’s chefs who are the ambassadors of these new food ideas. Consider how many dots, foams, farms, towers, and trios made it to the plate the last time you ate out. The kitchen-as-laboratory movement — a maelstrom of ideas — continues to fire the imaginations of cooks and eaters across the globe. When elBulli, Spain’s temple of the edible avant-garde, served its final meal in July, chefs Marc Lepine of Atelier and René Rodriguez of Navarra took note and replicated its recipes a month later via multi-course tribute dinners. Who would have guessed 10 years ago that Ottawa would be plating on par with the most cutting-edge kitchens on the planet? Forget predictable French gastronomy. Dining has moved into a new era where respect for culinary tradition and home cooking collides with vanguard ideas. The only rules now are that there are no rules. It seems to me that the very idea of food is up for interpretation — and reinterpretation.

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NEWS FLASH: Another farewell letter…this time it’s Murray’s Market

After just six months in business, Murray's Market (known for its fresh meat, charcuterie, and cheeses) has closed its doors. No more meat cones (shown). Photography by Shawna Wagman

Today, chef Steve Mitton sent along the following press release to announce the closing of Murray’s Market.

After a great six months in the Byward Market, we regret to announce that Murray`s Market is closing its doors. Owners Paddy Whelan and Steve Mitton still firmly believe in sustainable living and will be upholding this tradition at Murray Street Kitchen/Wine/Charcuterie, now in its third year of business. The restaurant, located at 110 Murray Street, will continue collaborating with local suppliers including O’Brien Farms, Goldstrike Farms, Cayer Farms, Rideau Pines Farm, Bearbrook Farms, Pingue Prosciutto, Seed to Sausage, Montforte Dairy, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese, Fromagerie Presbytere, Glengarry Fine Cheese, Perth Pepper and Pestle, Mrs. McGarrigle’s Mustard, Forbes Fine Food, and many others we have had the pleasure of meeting along the way.

Unfortunately, our hard work, perseverance, and dedication to the local cause were not enough to maintain a business like Murray’s Market. We can’t thank our loyal customers enough, and want to insist that while going local wasn’t sustainable for us, it can be for you.

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The Meat Cone at Murray’s Market

The charcuterie cone or "meat cone" is a fun way to sample several of the house specialties

With so much charcuterie under one roof, you know you’re gonna be thirsty. So it’s a relief to see a large water dispenser front and centre (atop a stunning antique stove) when you walk into Murray’s Market, the new-but-looks-like-it’s-always-been-there shop on Dalhousie Street. And it’s not just water — it’s water with floating sliced strawberries and mint leaves. Nice touch.

Now, back to the meat.  It’s the raison d’être of this Murray Street off-shoot located just around the corner from the restaurant that shares its surname. It’s impossible to miss the ethics-driven message — see recycled materials, locavore maps — behind said meat. This is pure Canadian farm product, much of it local to the Ottawa area.  Steve Mitton, the man behind the counter with the meat-crazed look in his eyes, is on a first-named basis with the farmers, which gives customers, by extension, the feeling that they know Dan (the beef farmer) and Barb (who raises the heirloom breed piggies).

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FOOD BUZZ: Steve Mitton abandons plans to become Master Charcutier as he preps to open Murray’s Market in May

Chef Steve Mitton's new locavore food shop Murray's Market is scheduled to open in May. "My plans to become a Master Charcutier--it's not going to happen," he says

When I ran into Murray Street’s Chef Steve Mitton in Toronto a couple of weeks ago, he was a man on a meaty mission. In addition to attending Terroir where he had the opportunity to hang with his culinary mentor, Fergus Henderson, the UK’s godfather of Nose to Tail Cooking, he had lined up apprenticeships (or “stages” as they are called) at a couple of the city’s most renowned butcher shops including Sanagan’s Meat Locker in grungy Kensington Market and Olliffes in the posh Rosedale neighbourhood.

“I’m going to get my hands dirty, hone my skills and hopefully get some ideas about take-home meals,” said Mitton, who announced last November that he will be turning over the reins in the kitchen at Murray Street in order to set up a second meat-lover’s Mecca around the corner on Dalhousie Street — a combination gourmet take-out food shop, butchery, artisan meat and cheese deli/lunch counter. The new Murray’s Market (a partnership with Paddy Whelan who co-owns Murray Street) is currently under construction and scheduled to open in early May.

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FOOD BUZZ: Learning about locavore fever, umami, and architecture at Toronto’s Terroir

Terroir, the annual hospitality industry symposium drew 500 foodies together to contemplate the pleasure of dining and the future of food in the digital age. Photo Credit: Alexa Clark and Ger Olsen

On Tuesday, I spent the day gabbing and noshing with the who’s-who of Toronto’s foodie world — chefs, farmers, food writers, and wine folk — nearly 500 people who gathered at U of T’s Hart House to participate in the 5th annual hospitality industry symposium, Terroir. One of the subtle but reoccurring themes was this nagging issue of what to do next with the local food movement. Or as Globe & Mail columnist Mark Schatzer, asked in the newspaper yesterday: Has eating local become annoying?

It’s a provocative question. But it’s one that was barely touched upon during the breakout sessions and keynote talk that I attended.

So-called “eating local” — the term, alone, drives a farmer friend of mine batty — is undeniably the single strongest and most-enduring food trend of the last decade. And it is Terroir’s attendees who are driving the local food movement in this province. So when it comes to local, organic, seasonal, and sustainable food, who could be more keenly aware (and loathe to admit) that these words are getting tired, watered-down, and even abused. As UK Chef Fergus Henderson, the godfather of nose to tail eating, put it in his keynote speech, The Pleasure of Dining (a self-described quiet rant): “It’s the stuff we’re all trying to strive for…The ambitions are right, but it’s all gone very wrong.”

I was disappointed that the symposium didn’t delve more deeply into this conundrum, but the organizers are no doubt aiming to keep the tenor positive. The purpose of this gathering, after all, is to inspire industry insiders and to share ideas about where things are going. So here is what I gleaned about what restaurant patrons can look forward to in the future:

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WEEKLY LUNCH PICK: Murray Street’s serious take on grown-up mac and cheese

If ever there was a time for rib-sticking fare to warm our bellies and thaw out our frost-bitten digits, it is now. On one particularly frigid day last week, I set out in search of quintessential comfort food: macaroni & cheese.

The Place: After one limp and lacklustre cup of cheesy ridged noodles scraped out of a cafeteria-style stainless steel pan (sorry Serious Cheese, not serious enough), I made my way to Murray Street in the Byward Market. A few minutes after being seated at the bar at I overheard a woman, who was also dining solo, placing an order for mac ‘n’ cheese. “It’s the same thing I had last time,” she tells her server with a sly grin, “I’ve been dreaming about it.”

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