This weekend was a busy one! P and I were supposed to take a class this weekend and had booked a babysitter, but the course was full so we decided to do something else that was in the agenda – re-do the kitchen floor. My Dad and P ripped up the old, crappy floor (worst floor ever) last weekend. This weekend was all about installing luxury wood vinyl. We got it done pretty quickly – although P thinks it took too long.
Anyways, back in July we were supposed to have a ‘date night’ and had booked our babysitter. But – P’s Mom died that week so we cancelled. It was our anniversary on the 4th and because it was a school night, we just went to Boston Pizza with Max. I decided last weekend to book us into Sidedoor Contemporary Kitchen, a restaurant we had wanted to visit for quite some time. The reason why we wanted to go to Sidedoor was because of executive chef, Jonathan Korecki. Chef Jonathan was one of the chefs on Top Chef Canada Season Two. We really liked Jonathan’s style; asian flair with lots of character. He always wears a bandana (that he makes himself) and he is very down to earth. On Top Chef Canada, he placed in the top three many times, won two challenges and got to the finals. I *may* have punched the couch and cried a little when he was eliminated (I still disagree with the Judges on that one).
Sidedoor is located in the Byward Market of Ottawa, where most of the city’s great restaurants are (other great place is Westboro). Reservations were easily made and we were seated right away when we arrived. The restaurant is pleasantly decorated, including having chandeliers made of clear bottles! Our table was on one of the raised sections, so I could watch everything that was going on.
Sidedoor is a bit different than your usual restaurant. Rather than ordering an appetizer, entree and dessert – it is more tapas style where you can share a dish rather than order individually. The restaurant is known for its tacos and homemade donuts, items that I was definitely going to try! Our waiter (Simon) was really nice. I was concerned after reading reviews that the service was going to be bad, but that was not the case at all. All the waiters and hostesses were nice, polite and very knowledgable.
We ordered two tacos to start: spicy beef and Chinkiang Pulled Pork. You got two tacos each, so it was perfect for sharing. I tried the spicy beef first and it was absolutely delicious. Every bite presented a new flavour and the beef melted in your mouth. The Pulled Pork had a nice spice to it. I liked the spicy beef a bit more, P liked the pulled pork more.
After the tacos we ordered the grilled beef lettuce wraps and the son-in-law egg. The grilled beef lettuce wraps were ‘make your own’ with lettuce, pickled vegetables, cilantro, thai basil some sort of magical sauce and grilled beef. The grilled beef was tender and cooked perfectly. When you piled the picked vegetables and herbs and assembled a wrap – it tasted so good! You could easily change the flavouring of the wrap if you assembled your wrap a different way.
The Son-in-law egg – oh my.
The son-on-law egg is a deep-fried in tempura batter egg put upon a small bed of rice. You basically crush your egg, grab a little bit of rice and enjoy. I do not really like eggs all that much, but I devoured this one! It was amazing! When it was brought to the table, you kind of did not want to eat it because it was so pretty. If you ever go to Sidedoor you MUST order this dish!
After that – I was starting to feel a bit full so we nixed the idea of getting a ‘larger sharing plate’ (the egg and grilled beef were considered small) and decided to order the Bajan crispy fish tacos. They were still very tasty, but I think I really enjoyed the meat on the first two tacos more than the fish.
Dessert was next and we decided to go to town and select not just one or two donuts, but the donut sharing platter. I also call this dessert “the flight of donuts”. We were given seven donuts to share. The donuts are made fresh on site and are really the only dessert on the menu (besides sorbet for I’m guessing the gluten free crowd). On the platter there were two donuts of: cinnamon, olivia dark chocolate, and white chocolate with cranberries. There was also one of the chef’s special donuts which was a hazelnut, creme filled one. The chef’s special donuts rarely repeat apparently. The cinnamon one was your standard cinnamon donut and the olivia chocolate was different than your usual chocolate dip because of the use of dark chocolate. The white chocolate cranberry was amazing and my favorite donut. Paul liked the hazelnut one the best.
So – when did I met Chef Jonathan? Well – the washroom at Sidedoor brings you right next to the kitchen that is totally open. You get a really cool glimpse on how fast the chefs work at preparing your meal. The couple of times I had to use the washroom, I took a glimpse inside the kitchen. The first time I caught a peek of Jonathan, he totally looked at me. I giggled (yes, I’m 12) and went back to my seat. When I went to the washroom at the end of the night, P asked the waiter if Jonathan would come out and see us because I was a “huge fan” (yup, colour me embarrassed). Of course, I did not know this, so when I was ready to go, I just said “lets go”. When we were heading down the stairs, he was right there. Of course I was all shy and just standing there with my mouth open like an idiot. P went to shake his hand and then so did I. I said we had a great meal and that we always wanted to meet him. He said thanks and said to come by again and that “actually, I live right over there” pointing to the kitchen. Really cool! I get way too excited about meeting chefs…
So that was our meal at Sidedoor! We paid only $100 (plus tip) for our meal – which included 3 taco dishes, a small sharing plate, two egg dishes, an entire flight of donuts and two glasses of wine. At a top-end restaurant that is pretty good, I think! I was completely full at the end of the meal – so full that I think my extreme fullness made me sick that night (or something didn’t agree with me – but not food poisoning as that experience is completely different). I guess I have to learn to not eat all the donuts next time!
Check out Sidedoor Restaurant if you ever come to Ottawa! You will not be disappointed.