Xango (Toronto)


To see Chef Claudio Aprile in real life is a treat. To get to preview Xango’s menu before it opens made the occasion even more special. By being a Toronto Life Insider Member, I had the opportunity to dine at the restaurant before dinner service commences on September 18th and know that Claudio was actually inside the kitchen. My mouth would taste the food his hands touched!



For someone who’s about to showcase a whole new menu, he’s calm and collected. Claudio explains that he loves the opportunity to cook food his own way and with his own flavours. Having dined at his other establishments - Colborne Lane, Origin, and Copetin – Xango certainly differs from the rest and is perhaps closest to Uruguay cuisine, the Chef’s native country.


Of all his restaurants, he felt this was his “riskiest” as Peruvian flavours are relatively under represented and through Xango he hopes to push Torontonians to try new things. While it’s a noble thought, I’m don’t necessarily agree as there are already tons of mainstream Peruvian restaurants (Kay Pacha, Mira, Baro, and Chotto Matte). Plus, being part of the Liberty Group means there’s a lot of financial and corporate muscle behind the restaurant, not exactly risky. Regardless, if it helps expand the culture palette of the city, I’m supportive.

Family style dishes came out in quick succession following the short opening speech. We’re warned that not all these items will make the final menu and that we should vote for our favourites of the evening. Ask and you shall receive. Here are some of the top picks from each category for me:

Starter – The crispy thin tostones topped with black bean and salsa with a drizzle of crema and silky queso fresco was delicious. A quick two bites that works great to warm up the taste buds or for passed nibbles. With a bit more seasoning, it’d be even better.


Raw + Salads – I loved the big chunks of tuna in the ceviche. Along with watermelon, avocado, and daikon, it’s a great dish showcasing the mix of Latin and Asian flavours that’s popular with Peruvian cuisine. And those nori chips, yum! Such a good idea.


Even the simple tomato and avocado salad impressed. Intuitively, I wouldn’t have thought seaweed would work with tomato, but it actually sets off the fruit nicely and the kalamansi dressing adds a bit of acid without things becoming too sour.



Robata – We all swooned over the lamb chops that were cooked to perfection, simply seasoned with sweet chili. This has to be a keeper. Their octopus was also delicious brushed with a sweet soy so the meaty tender pieces has a wonderful balanced smoky flavour.



Large Dishes – Sadly, one of the dishes, the scallop, never made it to our table, despite numerous follow-up attempts. So, if I had to choose between the beef and chicken, beef generally is a top choice.  Like the lamb, the striploin is cooked to perfection – whoever is manning the meat grilling station is amazing. But, the fishy flavour from the encebollado really threw me off and doesn’t work with the steak unlike surf and turf. At the same time, I appreciate Xango’s attempt to push people out of their comfort zone and introduce an atypical combination of flavours. Maybe fishy beef is something I’ll grow to love.



Extras – In my haste to get some vegetables into the system, I forgot to snap a pic of the grilled and wokked gilan. The leafy Chinese green is elevated with a quick grill before being tossed with chili crisps. This works nicely as a side with the large dishes.

Sweet – To be fair there was only one dessert for the evening, yet it was all the table needed. A shallow dish of luscious coffee and milk chocolate pudding arrives with cinnamon dusted buñuelo (a fried tortilla) to dip into it. It’s a lighter alternative to churros, but still has that same satisfying end that you want with the meal.



There were some dishes that could be great, it just needs a tweak:

Overall, I really enjoyed the flavours in the spring rolls filling, which combined sweet shrimp and light maitake mushrooms. Yet, the filling’s paste consistency means the spring roll wrapper has to be crispier to provide a better contrast. Perhaps the more fluid filling is causing the wrapper to get soggy, so a layer of nori between the shrimp paste and wrapper may help to keep things crunchy.



While the halibut ceviche is such a pretty dish, arriving in halved coconut, it tastes bland since it’s really just a combination of mild fish with coconut milk. I’d imagine a hit of chili and something with texture, like Inca corn kernels, would help add pizazz to the dish.



The chimmichurri goes nicely with the whole roasted hen, but the actual fowl was overcooked. It could come down to the piece chosen or the difficulties with serving a whole bird to so many tables within a short time frame, but after the impressive lamb chops and steak, a dry bird is not how you want to end the night.



Most shishito peppers are grilled; at Xango they’re battered and fried like tempura. So while it’s tasty, I wouldn’t classify it under the “extras” sections, which to diners may seem like side dishes. It’s simply too heavy to be an accompaniment, but as a “starter” it works.



Lastly, if these dishes never made it to the final menu, I wouldn’t be disappointed.

For a dish the menu describes as being garnished with a caramelized peanut sauce, the crispy squid is oddly sour and lacks nutty flavours. I get it, calamari is a safe corporate option. But, it’s also on so many menus across the city that if it’s not fantastic, why even bother.



While there’s nothing inherently wrong with the skewer of chorizo, shitake, and pickled peppers, there’s nothing exciting about it as well. Literally, if tastes like you’re eating a mushroom, than chorizo, a pepper, and ending off with another mushroom. Is the progression of ingredients or combination really memorable or important? Not really.




In the end, it feels a little strange to be judging a Master Chef judge. After all, he’s the one that critiques the creations of so many hopefuls and offers suggestions in his calm friendly manner. Here’s hoping my thoughts came though as rationally as Chef Claudio himself. And to Master Chef Canada, if you ever need a judge, my services are always available. 
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Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 461 King Street West

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


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Nuit Social (Toronto)



Sharing is caring, oh so the saying goes. Sharing is what Nuit Social wants. In fact, create your own charcuterie “social boards” dominates half their menu where diners choose one, three, or five items from meat, cheese, and olives selections to create a sharing platter. Opting for five meats ($17) and three cheeses ($13), our board was enough for our table of five to have a taste each, the meats more so than the small bits of cheese.

Of all the items, the ones that stood out were the Tyrol schinkenspeck, the salty pork letting off that faint smokiness that’s synonymous with speck, and the bresaola (extra $1), which is best eaten plain as it’s fairly neutral and the leaner cut allows you to taste the beef. Really everything we chose – Rosette de Lyon French salami, Prosciutto, and the spicy sopressata - were all solid charcuterie.


Meanwhile, the cheeses were good but when paired with the strong meats felt a little lost. Whether it was the Vermeer gouda, Rondin du Poitou goat cheese, or the Charlevoix, the mild cheeses were flavours I enjoyed but couldn’t hold up against the bolder meats.

The last third of the menu is dedicated to “social plates”, which could be renamed to “social bags” given many arrive in a rolled down brown paper sack. Some items like the crispy frog legs ($12) and arancini ($14) are understandable, since the paper helps weep away the extra oil. But, for the Buffalo Brussels sprouts ($11) it’s a little strange as you can’t really get to the pool of hot sauce settling on the bottom.

If you can get past the image of a frog looking at you as you bite into the frog legs, it really does taste like  tender chicken or, with its small size, sort of like a less gamey quail leg. They were lightly dusted and mildly salted, but I would have liked them fried a bit longer.


Both the arancini and Brussel sprouts are dishes I’d avoid – the risotto balls so crumbly and dry that it tasted like fried dirty rice rather than a creamy porcini base. That bit of melted fontina cheese in the centre helped a bit, but could hardly save the dish. As for the Brussel sprouts, it’s a personal choice as the tangy harsh Buffalo sauce drenching the vegetable is something I normally don’t like anyways.


Items that were actually served on plates (or some case bowls) were the highlight of the meal and should be featured prominently rather than being relegated as the last things on the menu. I can still taste the sweet maple soy glaze on the pork ribs ($17) giving it a bit of stickiness but thin enough that it didn’t feel like you’re biting through a heavy sauce to get to the tender ribs. And the bed of smoked macaroni & cheese it sat on was equally delicious.


Normally, I find ricotta gnocchi ($16) a little too soft, but Nuit Social’s consistency was perfectly balanced with a light fluffiness and a bit of chewiness. The cheese and cream sauce could have been really really rich, but a bit of citrus, sweet peas, and smoky bits of chicken (oddly tasted like bacon) helped to temper the decadent dish just a little. Aside from the ribs, this was my favourite of the night.


The seared sushi steak ($17) is really a flat ironed steak done rare so that the meat has a thin ring around it like Albacore tuna. For being so underdone, the beef was surprisingly tender and the liberal amounts of chimmichurri gave the Japanese sounding dish an Argentinian flavour instead. Well roasted Brussels sprouts (thankfully, without Buffalo sauce) and fingerling potatoes finished off the plate making this one of the better-rounded dish for those who don’t want to share.  


But then sharing is Nuit Social’s mantra, they “are all about social gatherings, sharing great food and conversing over delicious drinks with old friends and new friends.” Their ambiance is set up for the mission as the music’s volume is kept at a low enough so you can actually converse with your friends (new or old). This is quite different for being a west Queen West restaurant where places like Drake Hotel is a neighbour.

Since it’s opened until midnight on weekdays and 2am on weekends, it’s also a great place to gather after a night of drinking. Nuit Social definitely doesn’t serve the typical post bar eats. It’s not every day that after a night of drinking you can tuck into amazing ribs with a side of ricotta gnocchi.  

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1168 Queen Street West

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____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:


Nuit Social Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Zen Sanuki Udon (Toronto)



While many Japanese noodle shops are small and cozy, Zen Sanuki Udon is palatial with a spacious and airy dining area. To the point they could add more tables given they’re at capacity so quickly – pretty much every table was filled when they opened at 5:30pm. More seats shouldn’t detract from service levels: they employ a lot of staff so that food arrives at a quick clip and there’s always people standing around waiting to serve.

Speed is important when you’re selling noodles in broth. At this Zen location, their menu is based around hand-made sanuki udon from the Shikoki region, which is square-shaped and thinner compared to the cylindrical thick ones found elsewhere.

I expected springy chewy noodles, but they arrived fairly soft for udon. If anything, they tasted like the hand-pulled noodles found at the neighbouring Magic Noodle, which while not terrible is also a dime-a-dozen in the Markham area.


The ebi-ten udon ($16) allows diners to try the dashi broth made with a combination on konbu, bonito flakes, and dried baby sardines in a neutral form. Not surprisingly, there’s a rich umami flavour and it’s just salty enough without becoming overwhelming.

But then they ruined by broth by throwing in so many tempura bits that as you’re sipping the hot soup, every mouthful is filled with mushy batter. A spoonful would have been fine, but it seemed like there was equivalent tempura bits to noodles. As much as I commend chefs who use food scraps to eliminate waste, they should serve them in a separate bowl so diners can add it to broth themselves.

Bits of lemon zest adds a refreshing element to the udon, but the citrusy taste could also be strange for some customers, especially if you’re hoping for soup that’s really hearty and savoury. Who knows, perhaps it’s just something they include during the summer months to lighten everything?

The tempura was kept separate and arrived hot and crispy. While the shrimp a good size and deliciously sweet, I would have liked a light sprinkling of salt on everything as the vegetables were bland so you had to dip it into the broth, rendering the crispy crust soggy, to add flavour.


Their beef udon ($17) is like having bulgogi with udon, the meat thinly shaven and even has the same marinated sweetness. Call me a traditionalist, but it’d be much better if the beef was served in thick slices, similar to the pork shoulder cut you find with ramen.


Large portions is something you won’t find at Zen; if you don’t have a light appetite, add the $3 to upsize the bowl. Even their sides are miniscule: the kamo (duck) roast ($14) only had five slices, which is surprisingly when the actual duck udon already contains four pieces. It’s a satisfactory side, the freshly grated wasabi a lovely addition, but the actual duck could be more flavourful and less chewy.

 

With Zen’s history of serving solid Japanese cuisine, their soft noodles, over garnished broth, and puny portions is rather disappointing. Which is dangerous since udon seems to be the next “it noodle” opening across the city. With competition, there are better options, in my opinion, to tuck back a bowl.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3720 Midland Avenue

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____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


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Oyamel Cocina Mexicana (Washington)


Biting into the thin non-oily tortilla chips dipped in the slightly spicy salsa was the first hint there’d be good food to come. Mexican cuisine is a meal I always look forward to in America. Where choices are abundant and things just taste more authentic compared to Canada.


Oyamel Cocina Mexicana didn’t disappoint. Their tacos were each four delicious bites. The palm sized shell could barely contain the lengua guisada ($4.50), to the point I had to finish the second half with knife and fork as the thick slices of tender beef tongue fell out. Braised until permeated with flavours, this is the way tongue is meant to be served: bites of the soft meaty properties while the unsightly bumps are hidden from view.


The pollo a la parrilla ($4) had lovely smokiness with the chicken even the green onion garnishes getting some time on the grill. If you order multiple tacos, eat this one first as the flavours are mellow. The smear of smashed heirloom Resboseros beans at the bottom were the perfect condiment, just thick enough to hold everything together but fluid enough to not get sticky.

Cheese lovers, the quesadilla huitlacoche ($10) is for you with tons of soft gooey Chihuahua cheese studded with corn and bits of bell pepper, onion and tomatoes. There’s something magical about the preparation of the cheese, slightly crusted so the caramelized parts breaks into pieces that tastes like bacon bits. We had to double check with the waitress to make sure it was indeed vegetarian and pork free as it tastes so real.


Of all the items, the guacamole ($15) seemed the most run-of-the-mill. But, to be fair, it’s a dish that’s easily made at home. At Oyamel, a staff member stands in the dining room making it fresh with mortar and pestle, before topping each with queso fresco and a green tomatillo salsa. I would have liked a more of the Serrano chile for heat, but did enjoy that the acid was balanced so the creamy avocado was present.


Oh land of stars and stripes, just remember how lucky you are to have such tasty Mexican food. Just why would anyone ever want to build a wall to keep out something so delicious?

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 401 7th St NW

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____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:

Oyamel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Core Restaurant (Toronto)


Some time ago, I've lost my desire to go out for Summerlicious and Winterlicious meals. Once an exciting time of pursuing menus, gathering groups of friends, and securing reservations, some later experiences were disappointing and seemed too commercial. Yet, after seeing Core show up on two "Summerlicious menus you have to try" lists and actually seeing the tasty sounding dishes the $43 dinner had to offer, I rounded up a group of girls to give Summerlicious another chance.

Walking into the restaurant, things felt different. Core is smaller, so it felt warm and intimate. Service was definitely not a problem as they even paid attention to my always there request on Open Table and tried to accommodate to the best of their ability. Everyone we encountered that evening - hostess, sommelier, and waiter – were warm, friendly, and inviting. They also didn't leave anything out of the experience, still providing diners a large slice of their very airy and crusty house made sourdough bread.

Within the appetizers, the pork belly certainly sounded enticing, and having had a taste of my friend's, did have crispy well-rendered skin and moist meat. But, it’s the B.C. Albacore tuna crudo I ultimately ordered. Interestingly, the fish was cut in thick chunks, rather than thin slices, which helped retain its flavours against the mildly tangy citrus ponzu. The tuna was tender and flavourful and when combined with the chunks of sweet baby radishes and crunchy cucumbers made for a satisfying summer starter.


The duck two ways included two delicious pieces from the fowl:

  • Roasted breast cooked to about medium with crispy skin. While it could have been done a touch less, it was nonetheless moist and easy to cut through.
  • A large chunk of braised duck leg terrine, which was a tad salty with the duck jus but oh so tender. It’s like having a cube of pulled duck confit, just as amazingly tasty as it sounds.

If you’re fond of duck, it’s definitely the dish to order. Even though the braised cherries and heirloom carrots accompanying the dish sounded like it'd be two sweet sides, the saltier duck jus kept everything savoury and the sides went well with the fowl.

Dinner ended with the espresso panna cotta served tiramisu style, a rich espresso jelly topping the creamy base so you really get a hit of the coffee flavour. I wasn’t a huge fan of the crumble used as a garnish, but it’d be nice for those who want a contrasting texture.


Thanks to Core, I have a renewed interest in the Summer/Winterlicious series. You just have to be selective and try the less known restaurants. The little guys sometimes does it best. 

Overall mark - 8 out of 10
Is Summerlicious worth it (based on my meal selection)?
Summerlicious - $43
Regular menu - $56 - tuna ($16), duck duo ($30) and panna cotta ($10)
Savings - $13 or 23%
How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 896 Queen Street East

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


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A La Turk (Toronto)


Good luck getting a table at A La Turk without a reservation. I’ve learnt this the hard way – trying to secure one last minute or stopping by after work hoping to hear seats for two are vacant. It hasn’t happened yet.

It may be their complimentary bread and dip platter. It takes a lot of willpower not to just tear into the hot puffed pita that arrives fresh from the oven. Indeed, I often lose and suffered from slightly singed fingers.


Yet, it’s that steaming toasted pita with a slather of cool dip that gets you excited for the rest of the meal. There seems to always be a garlicky creamy spread, a sweeter carrot one, and a zesty and slightly spicy tomato dip (it’s my favourite_. The fourth condiment can vary between a lightly pickled vegetable or zucchini tzatizki.

Mix a couple of dips together to create something really good, but also save them for pairing with main dishes. They went nicely with the mixed kebab ($36) platter where the chicken wing was grilled beautifully but lacked seasoning. A dip in the creamy garlic sauce saved the wings and made it sing.

Meanwhile, the kabab didn’t need a thing, the mixture was filled with herbs and a bit of chili and so flavourful that you’d want to leave it plain. Since it’s cooked on the grill, there was a bit of smokiness but restrained enough that the kebab’s meaty herb flavours could still be enjoyed. The lamb chop was overdone, but remained moist and delicious, a bit of lemon zest would make it even better. Lastly, the dish is finished off with cubes of steak cooked medium… it’s good, after all, it’s steak.


The side of bulgur rice reminded me of a softer dirty rice. It definitely could use more salt, but with some of the saved tomato chili dip, it was fantastic. Plenty of veggies finish off the dish so you can mix and match the garnishes with the meat. Even the puffy bread the meats rest on is worth a taste, it’s soft and flavourful having soaked in the lovely juices.

If a platter of grilled meat isn’t your thing – sorry we may not be able to dine together - A La Turk has a number of dishes that combine proteins on a more balanced basis. The stuffed eggplant ($12) is something I order every time. Soft and meaty, the eggplant is filled with bell pepper and walnut pomegranate paste for sweetness and ground beef for a savoury element and texture. It’s so good that I may order one for myself in subsequent visits.


That bit of texture is sadly what’s missing from the koro dolme ($12) that takes peppers and eggplant stuffing them with a thick mushy rice. It really needs something else in the filling to add a bit of bite, or at the very least, cooking the rice less and incorporating more spices and herbs. In its current form, it was too sweet and tangy for me.


Having had manti ($25), a Turkish style dumpling, at other restaurants, A La Turk’s version wasn’t the strongest. The dough was too thick and the filling in miniscule portions that it almost tastes like you’re eating gnocchi with yoghurt. Less of the tart garlicky sauce and more texture within the dumpling could improve the dish.


The sarma beyti ($28) takes a seasoned veal and lamb kebab and adds tons of gooey cheese and eggplant and wraps it in dough before baking it in the wood oven. While I’d always lean towards sharing the mixed grill platter, this dish is a close second and is a hot sandwich at its finest.


Whatever you do, save room for dessert. Their kunefe ($8 for the small) takes time to prepare, but you really want them to not rush this. It turns out best when they cook it on a lower temperature so the vermicelli noodles turn a crispy golden brown and the cheese melts into a gooey blob but the syrup doesn’t burn yet.


It’s a sweet that can sometimes be a miss, on one visit the charred bits around the edges gave the dessert a bitter bite. But more times than not it’s that sugary, crispy finish that makes you yearn for more. It might explain A La Turk’s popularity: the fresh pita and dip starting off the meal on a strong note, while the kunefe ending it with a sweet finish. Pick up the phone to make that reservation.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3443 Yonge Street 
 Website: http://alaturk.ca/

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:


A La Turk Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato



Ottoman Taverna (Washington)


While researching interesting restaurants to dine at in Washington DC, Ottoman Taverna came up as the place where Michelle Obama and her friends visited for a dinner. Not too shabby if you’re an establishment where political royalty decides to break bread.  

Every Turkish meal should begin with the smoked eggplant salad ($10), which is really a dip and not the boring lettuce bowls we typically think of as a salad. Instead, it’s a flavourful thick spread made from roasted eggplant, Anaheim peppers, garlic, onion, parsley, and has a zippy lemon-pomegranate molasses drizzled on top.


A bit tangy, smoky, and spicy, it’s overall refreshing thanks to all the herbs and is great for smearing on warm pita. A great alternative appetizer that’s lighter than babaganosh without sacrificing flavour.

While the lamb and beef kibbeh ($12) seemed like they would be heavy and dense, after breaking through the thin crispy crust, the ground meat mixed with bulgur wheat breaks apart easily and is rather moist. Flavoured with aromatic onion, garlic, and parsley with some walnuts for texture, it’s even better when you wrap it in lettuce with some pickled vegetables.


Where exactly did I get this lettuce? It was part of the complimentary bite for the day, so sadly you may not always have this option. The amuse bouche contained a piece of chewy soft paste made from rice, tomato, and spices. It’s interesting, but definitely not something I would want again.


Ottoman was also my first experience tasting lahmacun ($12.75), a thin crispy flatbread topped with a spread made from lamb and spicy tomato paste. With the onion and cilantro on top, it’s a surprisingly light and refreshing starter.


It was a smart idea to keep the appetizers less meaty as when the Chef Mixed Grill for two ($57.50) arrived, there was more than enough protein to go around. The pucks of kofte – one beef with lamb and the other chicken – were both loosely packed making it moist and you could taste the herbs mixed throughout. Ottoman’s adana kebab was also really good and the lamb perfectly seasoned and also not overly strong.


Yet, the lamb chops were my favourite part of the platter: cooked medium well so that there was just a bit of pinkness remaining and oh so tender. If all the other options weren’t enough, there was also a heaping pile of shaved doner. If we had any pita remaining, this would have been delicious sandwiched with the onions. It also paired nicely with the rice, which must have been augmented with melted fat as the white rice was so flavourful and had a lovely silky texture.  

With all the appetizers, the meat platter for two was more than enough for our table of four. We really didn’t need another main, but the char-grilled branzino ($27.95) seemed like a good idea to balance out all the other proteins.

 

Since it arrived after the Chef’s Mixed Grill, I didn’t try the fish until later and by then it seemed overdone. Nonetheless, there was a solid meaty portion of the branzino and the silky herbed mashed potatoes it came with was delicious. The medley of sautéed vegetables was also refreshing and greatly appreciated after all the beef, lamb, and chicken!

There’s something about the décor at Ottoman Taverna that also makes the experience memorable. Even though the dining room is open and airy, there’s a sense of coziness at the banquettes with chairs that seem to hug you. It’s a modern atmosphere but the food is comforting and tastes like it’s steep in tradition. I can see why it’s where the First Lady decides to nosh with her pals.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Washington, USA
 Address: 425 I St NW

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:


Ottoman Taverna Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato