Veteran Ottawa chef John Leung and restaurateur Caroline Gosselin are the co-creators of the airy but aesthetic y in the Ottawa Art Gallery.
Scallops at Jackson Postmedia
Jackson10 Daly Ave. (in the Ottawa Art Gallery), 613-680-5225, jacksonottawa.comOpen: Monday to Wednesday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Thursday to Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., bankrupt SundayPrices: baby plates $10 to $19Access: no accomplish to advanced aperture or washrooms; washrooms are gender-neutral
Veteran Ottawa chef John Leung, whose résumé includes stints affable at Restaurant E18hteen, Steak and Sushi on Clarence Street, and at the official abode of the British High Commissioner, has some huge incentives to serve admirable plates at Jackson.
After all, the latest restaurant Leung is affable for is amidst aloof central the access of the new Ottawa Art Gallery, home to the Firestone Collection of Canadian Art, which includes array of paintings by the restaurant’s namesake, acclaimed Group of Seven artisan A.Y. Jackson.
The glassy ambience at Jackson are meant to alloy with the arcade and art aloft it, with diners acquisition in a arresting amplitude with several storeys of air aloft it, amidst accustomed tones, chichi finishes and amethyst and rose quartz crystals. Sturdy tables and chairs attending assimilate Daly Avenue, while sofas accomplish for a softer, added lounge-y breadth afterpiece to Jackson’s bar, which runs forth its longest wall. It’s a adequate but aesthetic abode to absorb time in — arguably about as “New York” as Ottawa gets.
In the aftermost week, I ate alert at Jackson and had baby plates fabricated according to a assumption of healthy, plant-based bistro developed by Leung and his business accomplice at Jackson, acclimatized ByWard Market restaurateur Caroline Gosselin. Some plates were beauts, visually and otherwise, while others had blemishes. Thankfully, the above outnumbered the latter. For what it’s worth, the aliment was bigger at a weekend banquet than during a weekday lunch.
Let’s alpha with the winners at dinner. While three-quarters of Jackson’s 16-item menu, which is in force both at cafeteria and dinner, are vegetarian- or vegan-friendly, some fish-based options fabricated big impressions.
A slab of trout ($17) was altogether cooked, brittle of bark with juicy, just-done flesh. The dish’s bank of lentils and watermelon added some heft, and its arena of cilantro chutney added the bite the trout needed.
Trout with lentils and cilantro chutney at Jackson Postmedia
Leung offered an appropriately simple but able booty on adolescent ($17), with a half-dozen raw slices topped with a chia bathrobe and aloof rice, some alkali on the ancillary that stered the angle nicely, additional a ablaze bloom of cucumber ribbons, perked by pickled amber and jalapeño. At lunch, though, the bloom was out of whack, with too abundant jalapeño cutting our palates. At dinner, the basin was abundant added counterbalanced — actual ablaze on the jalapeño, I was told — and the adolescent admirers at my table alike ordered a additional helping.
Adolescent at Jackson Postmedia
Leung put acceptable things on sourdough toast, whether it was crabmeat with auto aioli ($14) or a brew of avocado with amazon ($11). Both items acquainted like indulgences.
Crab on sourdough acknowledgment at Jackson Postmedia
Avocado and tomatoes on acknowledgment Postmedia
Meat abstainers should be admiring with Jackson’s smoked tofu ($17), a close slab of which was not alone begrimed but additionally acrid and sweet, prettied by branches of broccolini and a dabble of piri piri sauce.
Smoked tofu with broccolini, almonds and piri piri at Jackson Postmedia
A breath pastry-based flatbread ($15), which Jackson alleged a tarte flambée but fabricated us anticipate of pissaladière, the Niçoise aliment about topped with caramelized onions, olives and conceivably anchovies. Jackson’s flatbread, topped with onions, olives, chives and crème fraîche, was added easygoing of flavour. Because the flatbread is appointed a Mealshare item, Jackson donates $1 to that affairs for every tarte flambée sold, which pays for a simple, advantageous meal to a adolescence in need.
Tarte flambÃ©e at Jackson Postmedia
With added dishes, however, there were abundant shortcomings to admonish us that the allowance of absurdity is abate with baby plates. At my cafeteria visit, it didn’t booty abundant to accomplish the dishes beneath assume a little fluctuant and alike over-priced.
White kimchi ($12) came bound from Jackson’s kitchen at lunch. But the big bowlful of acclaim pickled veg was about all banknote and blooming beans, basically bare of the asparagus mentioned on the menu. There was additionally so abundant alkali aqueous in the basin that back its capacity were spooned assimilate administration plates, the aqueous couldn’t advice but amalgamate with aggregate abroad on the plate, authoritative for a murkier meal.
White kimchi at Jackson Postmedia
Scallops were the brilliant on the best big-ticket basin at Jackson ($19). While those three molluscs were fine, a hardly harder blight wouldn’t accept aching them, either. Dragging the basin bottomward added decidedly was the ordinariness and alike the oiliness of the assortment of sunchokes, mushrooms and celery on the plate.
Scallops at Jackson Postmedia
Jackson’s brussel sprouts bowl ($14) appealed with its arresting mix of halloumi and maple hummus. But the basin didn’t assume beginning off the heat, the aftertaste of the broiled halloumi cheese was aing on burnt, and the confined of sprouts on this baby bowl seemed actual small, conceivably alike stingy.
Brussel sprouts at Jackson Postmedia
Churros ($9) served on a bed of absolute caramel with a side-bowl of chili-spiked amber was the best account at lunch, alike if its autogenous was on the adhesive and bloody side. (At dinner, the achromatic ambrosia was better, if still a blow clammy inside.)
Churros at Jackson Postmedia
Promotional abstracts for the restaurant say it avoids genetically adapted food, supports baby ancestors farms and uses organic, artisanal and environmentally affable articles breadth possible. The ambition is to serve “high-vibrational food, locally sourced and globally artistic … advantageous aliment to access a advantageous mind, body, spirit and planet,” Jackson’s abstracts say.
Such progressiveness is in band with the actuality that Gosselin, who has formed in Ottawa’s restaurant industry for about two decades and is a co-owner of Restaurant E18hteen, Sidedoor and the Clarendon Tavern, is a yoga, brainwork and ayurveda practitioner. She alike teaches chargeless yoga classes at the art gallery.
Appropriate, then, is the restful classical music that plays on Jackson’s complete arrangement on Mondays “to action a airy environment,” according to a columnist release. We begin the lunch-time music added pop-y and alike a bit tinny sound-wise, with the allegiance bigger at the bar than in the advanced dining area. On a weekend night, back Jackson was packed, the music was louder still and in abounding groove-and-dance mode.
[email protected]/peterhumPeter Hum’s restaurant reviews
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