Thursday, April 29, 2010

Benny’s Bistro


Why oh why must this restaurant be so far away from my work? In a way I guess it's good, it saves me from eating lunch out every single day. And when I do finally make my way over there, it's so worth it. I make it sound like they're off the beaten path. But it's actually me who is. Right down in the heart of the Byward Market, this gem is a must for lunch.

I had been raving continuously about the food to one of my coworkers until he finally said, what are we waiting for? Let's go! So we did. And now here I am, drooling over my keyboard as I type.

Luckily the menu isn't huge, or I'd have a helluva time deciding. I still did anyway. Torn between the sweet soy braised pork belly sandwich with pickled vegetables and curry aioli, the pan roasted Lake Erie pickerel and the seared scallops. My coworker Scott helped in my decision making by ordering the pickerel. Then at least, I'd get to try two of the three. I finally decided on the scallops.

I was in awe when my meal arrived. A row of firm, fleshy seared scallops lined the plate. Parallel to these golden beauties was a thick slice of double smoked bacon that acted as a slide from the tower of salt cod gnocchi, grilled King Eryngii mushroom and fava bean salad to the roasted chipolinni onion at the other end. The rich moistness of the salt cod gnocchi made each morsel fuse together, almost like a fish cake. I swear it was my favourite thing on the plate. Curly slivers of pickled beets and deep green leaves added a rich punch of colour to the overall ocre hue of the dish.

Before my first bite, I had food envy looking at Scott's golden crumbed Lake Erie Pickerel filet. Perched on a soba noodle salad with sweet soy braised Shitaki mushroom and pickled daikon radish, this fish was cooked to a fork flaking tenderness. A pool of mild dashi stock was the ideal sauce for each ingredient.

Upon presentation of this visually striking pear tart (they bring a plate displaying all the desserts), we couldn't help but place an order. The sweetness of the velvety filling in this generous dessert was underpinned by hints of tartness from the slivers of pear. A gelatinous shellac gave it a glamorous sheen. What a way to end a marvelous lunch.

I can't thank Scott enough for treating me, and of course the other Scott. Chef Scott Adams, whom without, we wouldn't have had such a sensational lunch experience.

Benny's Bistro on Urbanspoon


One of Ottawa's Real Foodies said...

This looks awesome. I still remember the first time I went to Benny's Bistro. June 7, 2007. My lunch buddies couldn't stand my moaning and still tease me about that.

Shari said...

One of my favourite places too! Great shots of the dishes!!

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