Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Whalesbone Oyster House

This is one of my absolute favourite restaurants. Everything from the food to the service and especially the atmosphere is fabulous. And the best part is that they're about a 5 minute walk from my house. When they first opened I was so excited, until we had the food. The price was high and the food left little to be desired. Josh, the owner, was a great guy and asked us how we enjoyed our meal. We were honest and not long after they had a new chef. When Steve Vardy started working there they took off and became probably the best seafood place in Ottawa. Steve isn't there anymore but the chefs going in and out have been consistently great. On the menu they've got small plates and big plates. We usually start off with oysters but this time we went straight to the small plates. First, Warm Pickled Beef Tongue with smoked tuna aioli, baguette toasts and chives. The beef was so tender and the aioli to die for. Then, my favourite dish, Salt Cured Foie Gras Tart with pickled shallots, smoked chicken and balsamic – absolutely amazing. Our third plate was a Hand Crafted Ricotta Gnudi with crisp sage, lobster cream and chorizo, this one unfortunately wasn't as good as the others, but still good none the less. And last but not least, delicious Fried Fish Cakes with saffron aioli, crackling and white fish caviar. We ate at the bar, it's a very small place so getting a table without a reservation is near impossible. They also turn the tables over a few times in the night, so if your reservation is early you'll have to be out by a certain time. The bar is great tho, the staff is very entertaining and they'll often have oyster shucking contests and crank the tunes from their vinyl library. This is definitely one of my favourite places and a spot I like to go often, even just for drinks. Small plates range from $7.50 to $15 and big plates from $25 to $30.

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