Sunday, August 28, 2011

Burnt Butter

I always feel conflicted about giving anything less than glowing reviews about local restaurants.  I want them to taste great, stay open and contribute to the vibe of the city.  So, I want this post to be constructive.

A few days ago, I went to Burnt Butter, a new restaurant that has opened in Hintonburg. The restaurant has a simple and serene feel that made me feel positive about the food to come. The service was also strong. Our waiter was friendly, attentive and knowledgeable about the menu selections. I don't remember his name, but he did mention that he used to work at the Canal Ritz.

We started off with the soup of the day, seafood (scallops) and sweet potato.

The soup was the highlight of the meal. It was well-seasoned and flavourful. I didn't mind having to request that it be warmed up (despite having requested that it be extra hot when I ordered). It did bother me, however, when I heard the line cook giving the waiter attitude about it when the waiter said that it needed to be warmer. The restaurant is relatively small and there's an open kitchen design. So, I'd recommend that the staff keep that in mind when they're conversing.

We also ordered some calamari.  The tartar sauce was nice and tangy.  But the calamari itself was pretty bland.  We requested some lemon and doused them with it, which made it more palatable.

For the mains, I ordered the Sage Fettucine.  Unfortunately, it was pretty bland.  The pasta was quite dry and the peas were about equivalent in flavour to the peas that I pull out of my freezer. The proscuitto was the best part of the dish. I brought most of the dish home with the intention of adding something like a pesto sauce to it.

My friend ordered the Swiss Chard Agnolotti.  The filling had good flavour, but the pasta was undercooked and the eggplant broth lacked punch and didn't have a particularly pleasing consistency.

My friend has an astute analogy to describe the meal.  She said it reminded her of a meal made by a boyfriend who wants to impress you and goes out and buys fancy ingredients to support his efforts.   But, after your first bite, you put on a brave smile, appreciate the effort and make a mental note that you'll probably be the chef in the relationship.

You can tell by the effort put into the space and concept that they're trying.  But, I think some of the menu items need to change and a chef with a strong palate should get in the kitchen.  I'll be keeping an eye out to see how the reviews continue to shape up.

Burnt Butter Italian Kitchen on Urbanspoon StumbleUpon


That Girl said...

How new is the restaurant? Is it "they should know better by now" new or "still working out the kinks" new?

PG said...

They're in the still working out the kinks I'm hoping that getting some feedback will be constructive.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Some feedback will certainly help them out Giz. Here in the city restaurants have to be good to last, or the downtyown core looks like a ghost town.

PG said...

It's Psychgrad -- the restaurant is in Ottawa.

giz said...

I like the way you offered up your criticism. It was fair and I hope that it's read and taken into consideration. You like to see restaurants with a good concept succeed and as you say "add to the vibe of the city'

Julia said...

Sounds like they need to learn how to handle a salt shaker too. A little salt (and lemon juice) can go a long way to brighten up a dish.

I know what you mean about wanting the restaurant to survive, too... Will you go back soon?

PG said...

Julia - I will keep an eye on the reviews to see if they improve. But, I feel like there are a lot of restaurants I want to try and since I don't go out to eat very often, I'll opt to go somewhere new or somewhere I know I like, before returning. However, if I hear that the food is consistently good/improved, I may give it another shot.

Jay said...

I literally cringed at the presentation of the calamari! Maybe we'll wait a few weeks before stopping by.

Anonymous said...

Burnt Butter has a unique, creative dishes and a very warm environment. I absolutely love there food, especially the sage fettuccine, it was delightful. I will definitely be back to try more delicious meals. I wish them the best of luck and I encourage others to experience this delectable italian cuisine at Burnt Butter Italian Kitchen.

PG said...

Glad you liked your meal. Hopefully this means that they've already implemented improvements. I hope that their reviews make a turn for the better. If so, I will return to hopefully taste the "delectable italian cuisine at Burnt Butter Italian Kitchen."