Eating & Drinking

Top Ten Restaurants 2010

Taylor’s Genuine Food & Wine Bar

1091 Bank St., 613-730-5672

The dish: Pork chop. Served with raisin and onion compote; warm cauliflower, apple, and parmesan salad; and seasonal vegetables

When Ottawa chef-icon John Taylor announced that he was opening a casual, seasonally inspired gourmet wine bar in a converted corner coffee shop in Old Ottawa South, foodies rejoiced. We couldn’t help thinking of it as “Domus Lite.” But when Genuine opened, the tenor soon turned heavy. There was a time when fine dining meant a night away from the kids, but the saga of the breastfeeding mother’s right to include her baby in an evening reservation revealed tension about whether we’re comfortable saying some places aren’t for everyone. For me, this episode points to a less political issue as well. It highlights the increased importance we’re placing on hospitality. And in spite of its name, Genuine gets demerit points on that front — the service and attitude in the room run rather cool. Still, it squeezed itself onto the 10 Best list based on other factors, including the genuine deliciousness of the food. You will be hard pressed to find a better burger than the one served at lunchtime, topped with smoked cheddar, pancetta, and zingy sweet-and-sour homemade ketchup. The kitchen seems to have a way with silky puréed soups and lovely desserts too. If we could just convince the folks at Town to give Genuine a lesson in the laws of neighbourliness, Taylor would have a serious winner.