Domus Cafe in the Byward Market, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Lisa had the day off from work on Friday so we decided to get out of our little village in northern New York and drive across the border to our nearest large city, Ottawa, Ontario. The center of commercial and culinary activity (Quebecois would give me an argument here) is in and around the Byward Market downtown. We have been going to Domus' moderately sized, retail store for kitchen items for years. The shelves are crammed with fascinating, inventive gadgets which end up crowding my kitchen shelves and drawers. Foodie fun!
The upscale restaurant can be entered thru the main entrance off Murray Street or thru a curtain from the retail store. Go to the restaurant first since you will find little space for storing shopping bags amongst the tables. We were seated in a front corner two top with a nice view of the street activity. Our waitress was pleasant and professional throughout our stay. She recited from memory a list of about eight specials, with descriptions, not on the menu. Impressive but it would have been nice to have that written out for perusal. Lisa chose the fritatta special and I, the wild mushroom soup and smoked fish chowder, also specials.
Bread baked on the premises with tampanade flavored olive oil for dipping was served immediately. The mushroom soup was a reduction finished with cream, olive oil and a dollop of chevre and chives served in an unusual bell shaped bowl. The chef must have started with a peck of the fungi to get the reduction to have an intense mushroom flavor. The chevre melted into the puree for a nice finish. My chowder was also cream based and loaded with smoked trout, salmon and whitefish along with corn and potato cubes. A delicate flavor in the chowder base offset with the smokiness of the fish chunks.
Lisa's fritatta was unusual to us. Instead of the typical deep dish egg mixture imbedded with meat, cheese or vegetables, this fritatta was a round, flat, omlette loaded on top with small mushrooms, matchsticks of fried chorizo and chevre. It was accompanied by mesclun mix and a raspberry chutney.
The bill without tip came to $58 Canadian which is now at par with US dollars. If you are in Ottawa and looking for an upscale dining experience based on Canadian products, I recommend Domus restaurant and I recommend a visit to their retail store for foodie fun. Look in the back of the store for the rack of items on sale.