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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Absinthe

Ottawa- Arrived at Absinthe late in the evening, the only options available are appetizers, steak frites and burgers. If you still have room, you can opt for some French classic desserts. On Mondays, Absinthe offers a 3-course fondue night - cheese, meat and chocolate for $44. 

We started the night with two appetizers. The tuna fin ceviche is a Mexican twist of a Peruvian staple - fresh with a nice touch of sweetness, prominent cumin flavour, and spicy from the pico de gallo and candied jalapeños. The creaminess of the guacamole helps bind the dish altogether and the rice crackers provide a nice balance of texture. An excellent starter to get your palate going.

The charcuterie platter is quite generous for the price one pays for. Everything on this board is house-made, a great selection of meat, sides and sauces that will keep your palate entertained. The mini-bread, crisp outside and soft inside, is something cute to stare at.

Now for the mains. The purchase of the Benevolent Burger will go to a good cause. For each burger sold, $1 goes to Cornerstone Housing for Women. It is good for the soul when you order this "burger and poutine" combo. The burger is a gourmet version of a Big Mac - two juicy grounded hanger steak patties piled with gourmet toppings. You can barely fit the whole thing in your mouth. The poutine has a generous amount of gravy and cheese curds with well-cooked mushrooms and bacon. Definitely something worth ordering for a good cause!

The grilled hanger steak is cooked to perfection - medium-rare, very juicy, full and beefy flavour with a pleasant minty taste. The green beans are cooked tender-crisp. 

I can't resist ordering their dessert sampler as four of my favourite French desserts are served on one plate. The perfect dessert platter for the undecided! Let's start with the tarte Tatin, an inverted apple tart using puff pastry as the crust. Looks simple to make, but it is technically challenging as so many things can go wrong - burnt caramel, undercooked apples, burnt or undercooked puff pastries. Absinthe definitely nailed it - crisp pastry, soft and juicy apples, and buttery caramel coating. 

The crème brûlée has a crisp shell that shatters satisfyingly under a spoon and a vanilla custard that is rich and smooth. As for the profiterole, it has a nice crisp and golden-brown crust and a light interior filled with a decadent chocolate-hazelnut ice cream. Finally, the chocolate fondant cake combined with the raspberry coulis is just heavenly. The tartness of the coulis helps cut down the rich chocolatey taste of the cake. As a whole, it works very well as each dessert gives a nice contrast of flavours and balance of texture to complement the others.

Yellow Fin Tuna Ceviche - Guacamole, Candied Jalapeños, Achiote Rice Crackers
Charcuterie - Wild Boar and Duck Terrine, Rabbit Mousse, Maple Pork Pogo, Gribiche Sauce, Celery Root Remoulade
Benevolent Burger - Ground Hanger Steak, Cheddar, Smoked Bacon, Mushroom and Bacon Poutine, and Mixed Greens
Absinthe Steak Frites - Grilled Hanger Steak, Yukon Fries, Horseradish Aioli, Braised Green Beans
Dessert Sampler - Tarte Tatin, Crème Brulée,  Profiteroles with Chocolate-Hazelnut Ice Cream and Chocolate Fondant Cake
Absinthe
1208 Wellington Street West
Ottawa, ON
K1Y 2Z8
613-761-1138
http://www.absinthecafe.ca/
Absinthe Cafe Resto Bar on Urbanspoon

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