The staff at The Courtyard Restaurant either have a great sense of humour or they know how to make the best of a bad situation. Why else would they arrange for performers to entertain guests at their grand re-opening party last night with an acrobatic fire show and ghost stories? The restaurant reopens today after being forced to close for the last three months due to a fire back in July (the third fire in the building’s history, by the way). When the ventilation unit in the kitchen on the main floor burst into flames, it was devastating news for dozens of brides who had plans to hold their weddings at the restaurant venue. Staff scrambled to help everyone who had booked special events make alternate arrangements and then turned their energies towards rebuilding and renovating.
The Courtyard celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and Chef Michael Hay hopes to ignite interest in the next chapter in the kitchen’s history. Party guests were invited to sample several items from the innovative new menu including: an appetizer of roasted beets, goat’s cheese coulis, frosted walnuts, and golden beet pickles; crispy pork roulade topped with celeriac remoulade; and 48-hour braised beef short ribs with cauliflower coulis, king oyster mushrooms, and coffee spaetzle. For dessert, pastry chef Quinn Davis created a riff on the creamsicle by playing with a variety of textural elements alongside the classic cool confection: orange blossom gel, crumbled pistachio-fennel cake, and a licorice cream.
On the eve of the reopening, General Manager Genevieve Rochon joked with a room full of guests that she hopes this “marks the end of our combustible history.”
UPDATE: City Bites has just learned that another restaurant re-opens today after a kitchen fire. Fuschian Vietnamese Restaurant (726 Somerset St W. 613-230-6815) is a favourite of Ottawa Magazine’s editor-in-chief Sarah Brown.