Pollock-ish canvases illuminate the high ceilings. A giant, modern chandelier dangles over head. Mezzanine seating draws the eye down the long space toward the back, above a brightly lit bar.
Ottawa’s newest restaurant, gezellig, is beautiful. And aside from it’s aesthetic pleasures, it is a destination that people are beginning to peg as a gustatory haven.
From my first, and only, experience I can attest that gezellig is producing quality, full flavoured plates that are reasonably priced and accessible to an average diner. The menu reflects the feeling that Mr. Beckta has so decidedly sought to embody in his third restaurant, that is: a convivial, friendly neighbourhood feeling.
gezellig will, based on the offerings of the menu, likely see repeat diners throughout the the next few months, as dwellers of the Westboro area designate the restaurant as their go-to.
Although my experience did not allow me to sample the entire menu, I was able to try a few of the main dishes.
Mains to Mention:
The Seafood Chowder:
The chowder was a stand-out, with beautifully integrated flavours of red curry, coconut and lime oil. The purple potatoes added that necessary “fill factor” while the sweet carrots countered the spiciness of the dish.
The Short Rib Steak:
The miso butter sauce perfectly complements but doesn’t overwhelm, while the stock creates a caramelized quality and almost conjures images of a sherry reduction. This dish- very simply- showcases Moffatt’s keen eye and sharp palate.
The Squash Risotto:
Classic risotto, with the added sweetness of squash, the savoury hint of sage finished with creme fraiche, over a blend of winter mushrooms.
Aside from those three plates, I have heard countless praise and accolades for a few other items on the menu that will make their way onto my personal order next time I visit.
Bites with Buzz:
The Beef Tartare is topped with a fried egg served sunny side up and has garnered the title of best tartare in the city from many bloggers and foodies.
The Grilled Whole Striped Bass- a sharing plate for two- has reportedly been well received and is a unique experience to boot as you work your way from “fin to tail”.
A Sweet Send Off:
I can only hope that anyone who ventures to gezellig will make a point of trying the desserts. ALL OF THEM. This week a table of reputable chefs from around the city dined at gezellig and were propelled to ask to meet the pastry chef, Marianne Lacroix, as they sat – tastebuds applauding- in awe of her decadent work on items such as the apple crumble cheesecake or the butter finger: a combination of peanut butter, white and dark chocolate.
I’ll be visiting gezellig for round two this month. Check in for updates and new items on the menu.