Mystique? Mystery? Allure? Whatever it is, there’s something about slipping down an alley and literally going through a side door.
It’s this sense of adventure that Sidedoor has been capitalizing on since it opened in 2011. Renowned for its globally inspired small-plates menu, Sidedoor was one of Ottawa’s first upscale Asian-fusion restaurants. Executive chef Ben Landreville continues this focus with tacos inspired by flavours from Korea and Thailand. Mains, too, are infused with Asian touches, with the appearance of a miso sake glaze on cod, grilled chicken dressed in a spicy Thai sauce, and a strip loin enlivened with chili lime and served with rice instead of the usual potato.
Nuts, especially cashews, are a frequent garnish, but they are also the key to Sidedoor’s legendary green papaya salad, which has diners lustfully mining their plate for every drop of the minty, salty, fruity vinaigrette.
In Sidedoor’s hunger for international flavours, Landreville doesn’t eschew North American staples either: russet potato fries — a work of crispy and hearty perfection — and mini handmade doughnuts make an appearance.
Sidedoor is the restaurant where you look at the menu and you want to eat all the food — and since they are mostly small plates, you can get your wish. Whether sitting on the patio in their cobblestone courtyard in warm weather, under the glass atrium with views of Ottawa’s historic buildings, or at a table with a view of the kitchen, Sidedoor is a lively place to dine on adventurous, well-executed food.