RIVIERA

Ottawa Magazine - - CENTRETOWN -

In a build­ing that once housed the Cana­dian Im­pe­rial Bank of Canada, Riviera’s high ceil­ing, mar­ble wain­scot­ing, and art deco trim­mings can­not go un­no­ticed. The bar run­ning the length, half the space be­hind taken up by an open kitchen, leads you to be­lieve the joint is putting on the ritz even fur­ther. But ca­sual is on: most din­ers dress down. Nev­er­the­less, in a city dom­i­nated by ca­sual fine din­ing, in­clud­ing sis­ter restau­rants El Camino and Dat­sun, Riviera stands out.

Ser­vice is high-end too — wait staff are not only knowl­edge­able but help­ful and per­son­able as well.

Mix­ing French, Amer­i­can, and Ital­ian cui­sine, chef Jor­dan Hol­ley of­fers such dishes as ice­berg let­tuce with bagna cauda and lamb shank with sorghum (the new quinoa). Also no­table is chicken Kiev, a breast with a per­fectly deep-fried bread­crumb crust. One cut of the knife, and melted but­ter with pars­ley drib­bles onto the mashed po­ta­toes.

Pre­sen­ta­tion is no­table: afore­men­tioned mash is planted with car­rot nubs. Slices of the ap­pe­tizer coppa (cured shoul­der of pork) are sim­ply over­lapped on a plat­ter and served with mostarda, Ital­ian sweet fruit mus­tard. Let’s hope the light, ten­der gnudi (Tus­can gnoc­chi) in a pea-cream purée re­turns spring­time. I’d like to die and go to heaven once again.

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