OCCO Kitchen 4240 Innes Rd., 613-834-1200

Ottawa Magazine - - INDULGE -

The green, white, and red flag that brands this 200-seater in Or­leans is not Ital­ian, as we had first thought. It is, in fact, the New­found­land Tri­colour, and the green, white, and pink (as it hap­pens) is the of­fi­cial flag of the Star of the Sea As­so­ci­a­tion. Who knew? OCCO is the acro­nym for the no-non­sense-sound­ing Or­leans Cater­ing Co., run by East Coast chef Mark Steele. The wall art — paint­ings of white clap­board houses, rag­ing sea, light­houses — should have tipped us off. So, too, the menu: no veal saltim­bocca in sight. In­stead, burg­ers, tacos, salt cod frit­ters, fish and chips, seafood chow­der. OCCO Kitchen is a big generic-look­ing space, mostly brown and grey with some orange, some barn­board, and mod­ern brick ac­cents, filled in with dozens and dozens of ta­bles. The dishes that most im­pressed were the com­fort clas­sics — the beer-bat­tered cod, the ter­rific frit­ters, the shock­ingly de­li­cious pogo sticks with Seed to Sausage cheese curds and jalapeno smok­ies served with house ketchup and seedy mus­tard. And, of course, the burg­ers. “OCCO is known for its burg­ers,” we’re told, and these did in­deed tick ev­ery Re­ally Good Burger box, right down to the house-made ched­dar cheese buns. Try the Hamre, topped with gua­camole, smoked ched­dar, and can­died ba­con, on a squishy cheese bun. The wine list is con­cise, the craft beer list is longer, and both are all-On­tario. I wouldn’t say OCCO is worth cross­ing town for, but to find good food in Or­leans is a rare and happy treat. Burg­ers and mains $14–$28. Open Sun­day to Thurs­day 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fri­day and Satur­day 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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