101 York St, Ottawa – 613-789-3515 – Website
Date of visit: July 13, 2013
This little place sits at the edge of Byward Market at the corner of Dalhousie and York. Dalhousie is a main thoroughfare but there is a certain peacefulness to the tree shaded corner that gives its outdoor patio a certain backwater serenity. For some reason, I was rather under the impression that no food was served here but, when I sat down on the patio for a liquid refreshment one day near noon, I was handed a menu. I decided to give the food a try as well…
Ambience and service
The interior seats about 60 or so and has clearly seen better days. The furniture and wood trim is a little worn and battered and the decor is somewhat Spartan, giving the place a bit of a barren appearance. However, when I arrived just before the lunch hour, the place was empty and I imagine that, when full, the ambience would be a bit more inviting. I must note, however, that the toilets in basement were very untidy and smelly in the extreme.
I took a seat on the patio which, unlike others in the market, is quite spacious and not at all cramped. It seats 30 easily and affords a nice into the market up York street. The young lady who served me was very charming and friendly, and quite content to leave me to sit sipping in peace without demanding if I wished to eat every few minutes.
The menu is quite abbreviated and consists of 25 items. All are fairly standard pub menu offerings, burgers, nachos, and the like, but they also do a ‘blooming onion‘ and, notably, a vanilla ice cream desert that comes served with candied bacon.
Philly Cheesesteak – This was advertised on the menu as coming with steak, Swiss cheese, scallion, green pepper and onion. The surprise, and the feature differentiating it from standard versions, was that it was dripping with BBQ sauce and was a bit like a Pulled Pork Sandwich except that the meat was in thick slices making it much better. There was plenty of cheese and the hand cut fries on the side were nicely spiced and very good. On the whole, I have to say that this effort was totally sloppy and very greasy… In short, all the things it should be. I knew going in that I could never finish the whole thing but, good as it was, the cold leftovers the next day were terrific. Rating: 5 out of 5.
I found Pub 101 to be friendly, comfortable sort of place. It is plain, but unassuming, and good value is given for a modest price. It is not a fine eatery to be sure, but it is a great place for a few drinks and something to go along with the same. Rating: 4 out of 5.