Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Black Dog Bistro, Manotick

Chris and I went for a late lunch in Manotick last weekend en route to a viewing of the Minto Inspiration "green home". We arrived in the ‘tick a short time after 2:00 and were blown away by the crowds… we had forgotten that it was Dickenson Days, the local festival weekend. The village was jam-packed, but we managed to find a place to park and walked back to Main Street to investigate lunch options. The Black Dog Bistro’s patio looked inviting but fairly full; however, the friendly owner, Dot, assured us that a table would be available within ten or fifteen minutes. As it turned out, we waited less than five before a four-top opened up and we were quickly seated.

As I mentioned, the place was bustling, so we did wait about seven or eight minutes before Dot noticed we didn’t have menus, and promptly sent over our fabulous waitress, Bree, who was a total delight throughout our meal, with a great sense of humour and a smile for everyone. We perused the varied and interesting menu and found it hard to decide what to have – everything looked delicious. In the end, I went with my gut, which was demanding seafood, and ordered the calamari salad. Chris went with their smoked meat sandwich (he can never resist the siren song of smoked meat) while my in-laws ordered the pulled pork sandwich and the chicken fingers, respectively.

Our Pellegrino and iced teas arrived promptly, followed ten minutes later by our meals. My salad (which arrived sans red onions as requested) was a generous bowl of battered calamari rings scattered atop a mound of mixed greens, sliced red and green peppers, and grape tomatoes lightly dressed with delicious spicy balsamic vinaigrette. The squid rings were tender and yielding, with a few tentacles thrown in for good measure and the vegetables were fresh and flawless. Two forks up.

Chris’s sandwich disappeared so quickly I never got a good look at it, so I imagine it was good, and the matchstick fries (served in a huge latte cup) were excellent, as were my MIL’s sweet potato fries. The chicken fingers were fried to a deeper brown than one usually sees, the coating was crisp and spicy, and the meat within was white and tasty. The pulled pork looked and smelled incredible, though I forgot to score a bite.

All in all, a delicious lunch for a good price with excellent service and a fun atmosphere. We’ll be going back, especially after discovering that Dot, the owner, is also part owner (along with Val Belcher) of Big Easy’s, our favourite place on Preston Street! The Black Dog is a great find and not too far from home to venture out to once in a while. Next time we’ll go in the evening and enjoy a beer and a cider on the patio!

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