Saturday, October 17, 2015
Jack Astor's Lansdowne: Zomato Meetup
Have you been to the redeveloped Lansdowne Park recently? Do you remember what it used to look like? My memories are a bit foggy. I vaguely remember going down for the SuperEx and going to 67's games. Gone are the empty lots. Now there are places like Whole Foods, Lindt Chocolate Shop, Winners, and Cineplex Cinemas. Among the new shiny establishments, Jack Astor's can be found by the Aberdeen Pavilion. Earlier this week, I had the privilege to be invited to the third Zomato Meetup in Ottawa.
Once we were all introduced to one another, we went on a brief tour around the restaurant. We learned that Jack Astor's has added more of a local feel at both their Lansdowne and Hunt Club location. At this specific location, they have coasters that feature local personalities, arena lights that used to light the old Civic Centre, pictures and memorabilia of Ottawa's sports history. Don't be shy to ask the staff if you're curious about the decor.
We finished the tour, sat back down at our table and began to dig in. The pic above is part of the menu for the night. For the full menu, head over here for their menu near you. They started us off with some tortilla chips and guac ($6.96). The garlic Jack's Pan Bread ($4.87) followed shortly after. While the warm fluffy carbs were nice, I found the garlic butter to be a tad too salty.
Long boards of vegetable ($7.14 for a short board) and chicken nachos ($9.44 for a short board) were quite the sight. Drizzled with lime juice at the table, every chip was loaded with yuzu avocado, mozzarella & feta, tomato, peppers, onions, iceberg lettuce and cilantro.
The mains arrived in rapid succession soon after. First up, the Smiling Buddha salad ($16.47): mixed greens, honey mustard dressing, grilled chicken, strawberries, quinoa, cucumber, goat cheese, spiced pecans. I really enjoyed all the textures of the salad. It was far from bland and boring. I couldn't get enough of the spiced pecans. I wish there was a huge bowl of it at the table.
Holy Smoke BBQ Burger ($12.32): Smoked bacon, American cheese, smoky BBQ sauce, crispy fried onions, pickled banana peppers, and hickory mayo. Smoky (you don't say!), but not overhelming, this burger was a favourite at the table.
The Hold the Beef veggie burger ($10.42) was a hit with at least one person at our table. Personally, it felt like it was missing a few things. I'd pile on some fried onions at least.
If you're in the mood for something light for dinner, but don't want an awesome salad with those dreamy spiced pecans, you'd probably want to order the Tuna Avocado sandwich ($12.93). The sesame crusted ahi tuna, avocado, sliced tomato, and chipotle tomato made for a filling, but refreshing take on a sandwich.
The last of the mains that arrived were boards of chicken ($10.97) and beef tacos ($9.97). Now, I know that corn (maize) tortillas are authentic to Mexico and all, but I'm not a fan of the flavour of corn tortillas. Am I ever glad I tried these tacos. The soft corn tortillas, which are delivered about three times a week, had a surprisingly mild taste. Some people thought these were actually flour tortillas.
Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, the warm brownie stuffed chocolate chip cookie, named 'My Cookie Ate Your Brownie' ($3.24), capped off the evening with a sweet note.
Jack Astor's was a pleasant introduction to the dining options at the revitalized Lansdowne Park. It was nice to meet some local Zomato-ers (?) and bloggers. Special thanks to Ottawa's Zomato community manager, Sam, for organizing the event and, of course, Jack Astor's for having us.
Jack Astor's Lansdowne
425 Marché Way