We went there this afternoon, a party of 12. Arrived at noon and got a table easily. Indeed, it never filled up very much.
The service was pedestrian. My glass of wine never arrived at all, and while a companion was ordering his drink the waiter simply wandered off to do something else. The plats arrived in two shifts: half the table had nearly finished by the time the rest of us got their food. They also seemed to run out of dinnerplates halfway through the meal.
Another surprise was that although we were the first table to be seated, after the very first order of the onion ale soup we were told the kitchen was out. Whether this meant that Ottawans eat onion soup for breakfast or that the one bowl was leftover from yesterday, I'd rather not speculate.
The entrees were generally tastier than the plats. I had a good crabcake which was enhanced by a fantastic sauce with capers. The baked brie and the warmed tofu salad were also delicious.
The plats were less exciting. One problem was that the servings are all immense, American-sized compared to the smaller ones I'm used to from Montreal. By the time we got to the plats, we were full -- despite having not had breakfast that morning.
My pad thai was mediocre, and I actually had to salt it (quelle horreur!). The scallops were perfectly cooked, though I could have done with more than one prawn.
One problem with the list of plats, I felt, was that there were few options for people such as myself who don't eat pork. Bacon sneaked into rice and potato cakes, and so on. I admit to ignorance in not realising that agnoletto is a kind of pasta, not a sausage, but couldn't pin down the waiter long enough to ask. On the whole, though, there are few non-pork options for those wanting something more than a sandwich or salad.
My review looks like a long list of complaints, so I should add that the mammoth entrees were indeed quite delicious. If I ever return to Ottawa I shall go back to the Black Tomato, but I'll stick with ordering two entrees. Or just one, given the size of those things.
Thanks again to those further down the board who responded to my query about Ottawa restaurants, and I hope this helps any future visitors to the city.
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