Anne DesBrisay is the restaurant critic for Ottawa Magazine. She has been writing about food and restaurants in Ottawa-Gatineau for 25 years and is the author of three bestselling books on dining out. She is head judge for Gold Medal Plates and a member of the judging panel at the Canadian Culinary Championships.Photo by Anne DesBrisay
Found in the Chelsea space where the former vegetarian restaurant Café Soup’Herbe used to be, Tante Carole (so named in honour of an invented auntie) isn’t operating at full tilt yet. It awaits its liquor licence — at which point dinner service will begin. My visit was for an abstemious mid week lunch and this post is a report on it, with a promise for a more filling review in due course.
So for now, I’ll just tell you the kitchen team of Jonathan Harris and Suyeon Myeong are plating some promising plates. And I’m raising a (water) glass for two of them — the smelt Caesar salad and the sweet potato pierogies. Both terrific.
Moistened with a fennel cream sauce and toped with a pickled beet salad, the browned pouches of well-seasoned sweet potato were perfectly cooked, elevated by what was beneath and above them. And I can’t remember when I last ordered a Caesar. But I have a real soft spot for smelts, and these guys were big fellas, crispy-fried, flaky-fleshed, clean-flavoured. They topped crunchy greens, cheese and croutons tossed in a vibrant dressing.
We were two at lunch, and made it clear we’d be sharing. Without any muss or fuss, both the Caesar and pierogi orders arrived on two plates. Nice. The photographs reflect half orders, though its possible they were over generous with those smelts.
Apple pie still warm from the oven was on offer. How to refuse that? It came with soft peaks of cream and two forks.
I’m looking forward to returning…
168 Chemin Old Chelsea, 819-866-3149