When my friend, R, called me to have dinner with him and Al at Le Café, I was super excited. I've been meaning to check out the place ever since chef Michael Blackie launched his new menu in early August.
Michael Blackie, former executive chef at Brookstreet Hotel's Perspectives restaurant, moved to the NAC in March 09. He played a huge part in Perspectives being awarded the CAA/AAA four-diamond rating, and has cooked in world-class hotels across the globe (Indonesia, Hong Kong, Mexico, Toronto).
Le Cafe is located inside Ottawa's National Arts Centre, right along the Rideau Canal. The title picture is the view from the terrace of the restaurant.
Our meal started with some bread and three lovely condiments: pumpkin seed pesto, roasted red pepper & sun dried tomato lick, and butter. Half of the butter was sprinkled with sea salt for those that prefer salted butter. The pumpkin seed pesto had a very distinct taste, and was definitely my favorite.
Next, came the watermelon compression amuse bouche.
Watermelon Compression Amuse Bouche
It was so good, we ended up ordering the full size appetizer. The watermelon is injected with tequila lime, and is served with feta cheese and oven dried black olive. I loved the mild watermelon taste with the salty feta and olive. This dish was unique, and I really enjoyed it.
I ordered the Chioggia and golden beet root toss to start. This was accompanied by crumbled blue cheese, crispy shallot pieces, and a sage & garlic balm. I love the pale pink color of the Chioggia beets. Mmmm...love beets.
Chioggia and Yellow Beet Salad
R ordered the seared Digby sea scallops. These. Were. Heavenly! They were cooked perfectly, and I could have easily eaten a few more plates. The scallops were served with tender greens, shiitake soya truffle emulsion, and half of a quail egg.
Digby Sea Scallops
Although normally served at lunch, we requested one of Blackie's See-zar salad. Folks, this ain't your regular Caesar Salad. The tastes are the same, but the visual is not. The crouton is a long baguette piece, and the lettuce is left in its natural long leaf form.
Right before our mains was a pleasant palate cleanser: cucumber, melon, and prosecco. This was mildly sweet and very refreshing.
Cucumber & Melon Palate Cleanser
My main was the potato wrapped Albacore tuna. I ordered the tuna rare, and it was great. Along with the tuna were a blue crab & rice cake, crayfish cosmopolitan, and Chinese greens. The crab cake was neat but I found it had too much of a rice taste.
Potato Wrapped Albacore Tuna
R ordered the 30 day dry aged AAA ribeye. It was served with chevre whipped mash, wild mushrooms, asparagus, and pumpkin apple reduxe. This dish was excellent. I Loved it.
30 Day Dry Aged AAA Ribeye
Al ordered her main from the Rideau Canal festival menu. It was a roasted chicken supreme stuffed with sage and Oka cheese. On the side were carrots and quinoa. The chicken was tender, but I have personally never been excited to eat chicken, so my commenting stops here.
Roasted Chicken Supreme
For dessert, I was a good girl. I ordered the three melon & seasonal berries plate with chamomile tea rain. This dish was exactly as the name implies: melons & berries, nothing fancy. We were told that this dessert was left on the menu for the long standing customers who are accustomed to this dish. I found the fresh fruit refreshing after a heavy meal.
R ordered the Valrhona chocolate soufflé served with crème anglaise and vanilla ice cream. I love Valrhona chocolate!
Valrhona Chocolate Souffle
Al ordered the bread and butter pudding with Appleton’s rum lick, and a nice scoop of pistachio-ginger ice cream. The ginger added a very nice touch to the dish.
Bread and Butter Pudding
Overall, the food exceeded my expectations. My highlights were the Digby sea scallops, and the AAA ribeye.
National Arts Centre
53 Elgin Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada