Thursday Best Bites - 10Fourteen Restaurant, Ottawa

Cinnamon Popcorn

What:  Small Plates

Where:  10Fourteen Restaurant, 1014 Wellington Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario

Comments:  Let me start by saying that I am not really a fan of small plate restaurants (with a few exceptions), but was joining a friend for dinner, who said it was good.  I have to say that the plates that I had were very good - quite delicious actually.

As I was seated, I was presented with a delicious and fragrant martini glass full of popcorn.  I could taste/smell cinnamon and a touch of truffle - nice combination and excellent way to get the taste buds working.  I enjoyed the popcorn with a skillfully made Olde Fashioned.

My companion arrived and we perused the printed menu (also viewable on a chalk board behind the bar).  There were about a dozen or items to choose from.  The selections were thoughtful and covered a broad spectrum of tastes. 

I chose two to start.  My selections were the Hush Puppies and the Caprese Tarts.  They came presented together on a board accompanied by a salad of cucumber, mint and almonds.  The Hush Puppies were reminiscent of ones that I have enjoyed previously - their texture was true to their inspiration.  Crispy outside, fluffy interior studded with fresh herbs, corn, diced potato and flaked smoked trout.  They were resting upon a light serving of spicy aioli.  A nice compliment to the trout.
Hush Puppies

The Caprese Tarts were a nice spin on a classic combination - tomato, basil and typically fresh mozzarella.  The cheese was a tangy goat cheese; the tomato was a fresh and bright tomato puree all topped with fresh basil and nestled in a crispy phyllo cup.  There were enough layers of phyllo to keep it crunchy yet not greasy.  Biting into this tart evoked my eye-closed-while-chewing ritual.  I really enjoyed the combination of the goat cheese and naturally sweet tomato.

Caprese Tarts

After enjoying the first two dishes - I opted to order a third.  I chose the Lentil 'Pakora' with grilled Paneer and Raitha.  While I did enjoy this one as well, as a progression, I should have chosen this dish before the Hush Puppies and Tomato Tarts as the flavours here were more subtle.  There were several different kinds of lentils with a delightful touch of cumin and other aromatics.  The lentils were contained inside a light and crunchy Indian style bread.  The paneer was grilled nicely and added a nice textural component to the dish.
Pakora & Paneer

After having visited and enjoyed 10Fourteen, I have drawn a few conclusions for myself.  Small plate restaurants are for enjoying a few delicious bites over a drink with a friend.  My evening was about catching up with a friend and enjoying each others company.  The pace was casual and relaxed (although our dishes did come out in a timely fashion).  I left the restaurant feeling satisfied.  If I had still felt wanting, I could have ordered another dish.  My bill came to $60.32 for the three small plates, two Olde Fashions (they were delicious!), tax and tip.  In my opinion, reasonable and reflects the effort the kitchen puts into the dishes.

I get it, finally.

10Fourteen on Urbanspoon

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