Spot­light on Cit­i­zen, plus re­views of Er­ling’s Va­ri­ety, OCCO Kitchen, and Suther­land

Ottawa Magazine - - NEWS - By Anne DesBrisay

Cit­i­zen 207 Gil­mour St., 613-422-6505 Cit­i­zen is the sec­ond project for the for­mi­da­ble chef-res­tau­ra­teur team of Marc Do­iron and Lori Wo­j­cik. Their first is the seven-year-old El­gin Street restau­rant called Town. This sib­ling has slipped in around the corner from Town, on Gil­mour Street, with a con­fig­u­ra­tion that al­lows for the Town kitchen to be length­ened and shared. The room is bright, white­washed, with de­sign touches that are rus­tic, re­fined, quirky, and charm­ing.

As is the mod­ern way, the menu has a snacky sen­si­bil­ity. If you know the food served at Town, you’ll rec­og­nize the same fo­cus on big flavours, ec­cen­tric-sound­ing com­bi­na­tions (that work), and pretty plates. Do­iron trained as a pas­try chef, and his plea­sure in de­tail, colour, and form is clear. But un­like the cui­sine at Town — mod-Ital­ian with some lib­er­ties — the in­flu­ences on the menu at Cit­i­zen are more global, with a de­li­cious fo­cus on veg­eta­bles.

Start with a cock­tail — they’re done well here. And maybe with a plate of sweet dates stuffed with smoked blue cheese, sashed with ba­con, brushed with cayenned honey, and smoth­ered with al­monds. Or you could start with broc­coli: the kitchen sets the charred spears, show­ered with manchego cheese and scat­tered with pick­led grapes, in a shal­low pool of Ajo Blanco. Think broc­coli isn’t your thing? Try this ver­sion. Or go for roasted heir­loom car­rots, which are set in a pud­dle of goat-cheese sauce and ringed with an Oz-green swirl of slur­ried pesto; they are cu­ri­ously (and win­ningly) paired with to­biko, can­died man­darin, and shards of black se­same brit­tle.

While there’s a bit of meat in a roasted-egg­plant dish, it’s the veg that is the star. Dredged in punchy spices, it’s ac­com­pa­nied by a cous­cous salad stud­ded with pome­gran­ate, pick­led jalapeno, and braised lamb. Yo­gurt cools it down, and gre­mo­lata — with pre­served lemon — gives it a big fin­ish. What else? Falafel with beet hum­mus and a pick­led beet salad, heady with cloves. And scal­lops crudo “cooked” in lime and ap­ple, anointed with brown but­ter, and cov­ered with a brunoise of green ap­ple and hazel­nuts.

Go for pud­ding chomeur with spiced ap­ples for dessert. Or more of those good cheesy dates.

Cit­i­zen might have a ca­sual feel, but ser­vice has a fine-din­ing sen­si­bil­ity. Servers know the food in­side out, of­fer solid wine knowl­edge, and seem a happy crew.

Small plates $6–$16. Open from 6 p.m. Thurs­day to Mon­day.

Pretty plate A car­rot dish with goat cheese sauce, se­same brit­tle, and can­died man­darin is em­blem­atic of chef Marc Do­iron’s fo­cus on bold flavour com­bi­na­tions — that work

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.