By Anne DesBrisay
Town’s in my top ten. And for Modern Italian, pretty much at the top of the heap.
Not that there’s a ton of competition: Ottawa has no deficit of pizza joints or trad red-sauced restaurants (bruschetta/Alfredo/ piccata/tiramisu), but there aren’t many places that offer seasonally inspired, ingredient driven, slow-cooked Italian dishes the likes of braised rabbit pappardelle, brick-roasted lemon chicken, or pork tonnato.
I sometimes wish Town‘s menu weren’t so unrelentingly rich, but I admire very much the well chosen ingredients, the delicacy in the structure of the dishes, the casual, boisterous feel of the place.
I’ve been to Town many times for dinner, and it tends to gladden my heart, but had never been for lunch. It was time to fix that.
The noon menu offers small plates and large plates, as it does in the evening, and some with evening prices attached, but its sandwiches are affordable, and generously served with greens and fat wedges of spiced-up, herbed-up, pecorino-dusted spuds.
The sandwich of the month goes to Town’s chicken fritto. The meat was so moist and juicy, and so utterly infused with lemon, I can only conclude the breasts were prepared sous vide. They were then wrapped in paper thin rounds of potato and fried to crisp. Tucked into a bun with a cabbage slaw and some aioli of some sort — can’t recall, I was too busy moaning to write — it was one humdinger of a sandwich. Held together with a cornichon.
Open: Lunch, Wednesday through Friday; dinner, Tuesday to Sunday.
Town, 296 Elgin St., 613-695-8696.