62 York Street, Ottawa – (613) 241-6810 – Website
Date of Visit: December 2, 2012
Fat Tuesdays sits smack dab in the middle of Byward Market and, in the summer time, has seating on an out-door deck. I had a beer and a snack of some sort out on their deck quite a few years ago and, on this most recent visit to Ottawa, I thought I would see what a more substantial meal would be like inside. In all, I have to say that I had a fairly pleasant time…
Ambience and service
Fat Tuesdays is quite attractively appointed, with lots of wood, brick and a nice bar in the front of the premises. I arrived about 6:30pm on a Sunday evening and, as one might expect, it wasn’t terribly busy. There were about 15 people, or so, in a space that, I would judge, should hold 80 to 100 patrons. At various times during the week the place features musical attractions and I suspect that it is a place that can get quite raucous and busy. For me, however, the relaxing quiet of the place on my evening visit was just right.
I was greeted right away on seating myself near the window and my beer order was brought immediately. All throughout the evening, the service was prompt, friendly and very competent. Often, when I tell servers that I wish to take my time with my meal, I still end up feeling a bit rushed, but on this occasion my waiter was attentive without being obtrusive.
‘Gator Appetizer – This was described on the menu as Atchfalaya Alligator with hot Succotash and a Remoulade. The succotash was basically just some zucchini with bell peppers and a few black bean and wasn’t especially interesting. The remoulade was quite nice, being a fairly tangy mayonnaise with a bit of spiciness to it, and it worked quite well as a sauce for the battered chunks of alligator meat. For those who have never had this, I hate to repeat the old saw to the effect that it tastes like chicken but, in truth, most people being told they were eating chicken breast would, on sampling this appetizer, have no idea it was actually a reptile. The taste was, in fact very chicken-like but the texture was a little more chewier and, I though, very pleasant. The dish didn’t wow me, but I liked it well enough and I give it a rating of 3 out of 5.
Blackened Tenderloin – This dish was advertised as a 6oz beef tenderloin done ‘blackened’ style, which is essentially involves a cut of meat or fish seasoned with Cajun spices and then cooked at very high temperature so that a blackened crust is formed sealing in the juices. This particular offering came with a choice of smoked cheddar mashed potatoes, dirty rice, or ‘skinny fries’. I asked about the dirty rice and decided to forgo it after being informed that it was cooked with ground beef and a demi-glaze rather than in the traditional way. Instead, I opted for the fries which were indeed ‘skinny’ and seasoned nicely with a little chili or paprika, and some other ingredients I couldn’t identify.
The steak, I have to say, was a bit of a disappointment. It was served on a bed of sautéed vegetables that were nice enough, if unremarkable, but the steak itself was probably only 4 or 5 ounces and not much more than a half-dozen small mouthfuls. I ordered it medium rare, and it was certainly properly cooked and tender, but the meat was rather bland and there was really nothing Cajun about it. The outside was somewhat black but there were none of the typical spices detectable in the seasoning and, all in all, it was not what I was expecting. It wasn’t bad, by any means, but I really don’t think it was worth the rather ambitious $29 they charged me for it. I could only rate this at a 2 out of 5.
The meal was not very inspiring even though I enjoyed the alligator appetizers I began with. Still, the service was very good, the ambience pleasant, and I enjoyed some nice wine and an interesting cocktail over a relaxing hour and a half. I wasn’t wowed by the experience, by any means, but the evening still rates a decent 3 out of 5.