55 York Street, Ottawa, (613) 241-6221
Date of Visit: March 22, 2012
I almost ate at Lapointe’s on a trip to Ottawa last August but it was too crowded on that occasion so I gave it a miss. On my recent trip to the capital I hadn’t planned to go there especially but, after a rough day traipsing around Chinatown on the second day of my visit, I didn’t feel like straying too far from my hotel. Tired, but getting hungry for supper, I took a wander down to Byward Market and, when espied Lapointe’s again, I decided to give it a try…
Ambience and Service
I arrived at about 6pm just as the evening crowd in the market was just starting to pick up. Lapointe’s has a patio area overlooking the main square and I decided to sit out there as it was very warm and humid.
While I was there, I took a look inside the building and I discovered that it actually occupies two levels. Right off the street there is a sushi bar with a couple of small tables but downstairs, where the washrooms are located, there is a very nicely appointed dining room that looks fairly comfortable.
It wasn’t particularly busy that evening and during my visit I was served by two different people. There was a friendly male waiter who took my orders and a pretty young woman who brought me the various dishes. The male waiter was very helpful in answering questions about the menu and the service, overall, was very quick and efficient.
Malpeque Oysters: I almost passed on the oysters after having them the previous night but then I relented and ordered four. I was very glad I did because I discovered that the Malpeques this season were very good. Malpeques have a characteristic sharp briny tang to them but these ones were much sweeter than usual and the brininess faded quickly, giving way to a sweet wakame taste with cucumber notes. They were about the best Malpeques I have tasted, I think, and I gave them an oyster rating of 5/5
Salmon Pate: – This was described on the menu as Salmon Rilletes with fruit chutney and Crostini. It sounded pretty good but was actually very disappointing. The salmon was flaked with some herbs (parsley and dill) and bound in an unidentified fat. Sadly, it was bland almost to the point of being tasteless. The fruit chutney was basically apple with a touch of cinnamon and clove and it was cut too chunkily, making it hard to spoon onto the crostini. The crostini itself was rye with flax seed and caraway and I found that the caraway did not go well with the salmon. Rating: 2 out of 5.
PEI Mussels and Fries: The mussels were steamed with a choice of sauces. The sauces on offer were a white wine and leek sauce, tomato sauce, or the ‘sauce of the day’. The sauce for this particular day was roasted red pepper sauce and I went with that. I was expecting a red sauce but it was actually a white wine base with strips of smoked red pepper and it turned out to be very good. I thought that the peppers added a nice smoky touch that really complemented the mussels very well. The fries that came on the side were cut thickly and still had the skins on, which I like, and I also quite enjoyed trying them with mayonnaise in the Belgian fashion (although I thought the service of this in the plastic packets a little tacky). Rating: 4 out of 5.
I ordered a glass of a Marcus James Malbec from Argentina between the salmon pate and the mussels. It had a nice velvety body but not much else to recommend it. It tasted mostly of sour plum with hints of oak but the tannins were overly astringent and the overall effect lacked roundness. Rating: 2 out of 5.
My visit to Lapointe’s was very relaxing and not at all rushed. Instead of having a main course meal, I enjoyed a nice selection of Appetizers whilst enjoying the sights and sounds of the evening market out on the open-air patio. The Salmon Pate I had was not very good but the rest of the dishes were excellent and the service was both friendly and efficient.