Monday, May 28, 2012

A Toast to My Hometown's Better Eateries - Pressed!

Hi there!

Before I even get started, I have to get the elephantine pun out of the way: I was quite im-pressed by this restaurant! HAHAHAHAAAHA, get it? Im-Pressed? Ha. Hoo. Oh. My. Too funny... OK, I'm done now.

So, once again I get a case of the "Where-were-you-4-years-ago?" Blues. Actually, the first time I got them was because of some girl I was either dating or crushing on, but since then it's mostly been about new and interesting restaurants opening in neighbourhoods where I once lived or was very near.

Pressed is a beautiful and spacious restaurant/café on Gladstone near the corner of Bell Street; not exactly Ottawa's spiffiest part of town (when I asked my brother the police officer what was Ottawa's worst neighbourhood, this was his response). But don't let that scare you, the gentrification has already begun - and will not be televised. Want proof? Pressed calls itself an "urban gourmet sandwich bar". Anytime you throw the word 'urban' in there, you know it's all about getting street cred - right before the condos get built next door. But a little gentrification isn't a bad thing if it means more good food and fewer crackhouses.

Great interior - Mind you we were sitting on couches!
It was right after this year's Ottawa Comic-con that Kari and I found ourselves absolutely starving and unsure what to eat for dinner when one of us remembered that we'd meaning to try this place out for months. So, we trekked from the O-Train station on Carling and by the time we got there, I was ready to eat an arm.

Now, being a lush, my first thought was "please be licensed, please be licensed, please be licensed". I needn't have worried, they had a nice collection of beer and other goodness, including Waupoos Cider, which made Kari a happy camper. Meanwhile, I was able to partake of some tasty Kitchissippi 1855 Dark Ale (link to Kitchissippi Web site not working, so I didn't add it).

Having secure our drinks, we next got to peruse the funky blackboard menu, which was chock full 'o tasty selections:

A LOT of interesting choices.

Now, oddly enough, it wasn't the sandwiches that caught our initial attention, but rather the Sides. Take a look, I'll give you a minute. Did you see it? Yeah, Tempura Fiddleheads. Holy smokes!! Kari and I both got an order of those because, as I've said before, fiddleheads are pretty awesome. Coated in a crispy batter of deliciousness? Well, how could I say no? They were a delicious and simple side dish and I could eat them like popcorn all freakin' day! Too bad fiddlehead season is so darn short...
They came with a soy-ginger dipping sauce that was a good match, but I found after eating a lot, there was a metallic aftertaste that I didn't like. So I stopped dipping and stuck with the fiddlehead tastiness on its own!

The great thing about Pressed is that you order your food, then grab a seat, and the person who took the order at the cash brings the food and drink to your table. It's a nice form of casual service that I enjoyed.
So, we were first served our drinks and sides, then we got our sandwiches a bit later.
A pint of locally brewed goodness and Tempura Fiddleheads!

Next came the sandwiches, and what sandwiches they were! Well, mine was pretty freaking epic! I ordered the Indian-style Smoked Lamb special, while Kari got the Pulled Pork. Since I've been kind of ODing on pulled pork lately, I'll refrain from evaluating Pressed's pulled pork as compared to others, because it's all gotten a bit mixed up in my memory files on tastiness. And it wasn't my sandwich!

No, my sandwich was a work of lamby art! SOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOD!!!!!

The lamb was beautifully smoked and tender, with a freshness that can only be found in Ontario lamb (yes it was pre-frozen, I think, but it was still pretty damn fresh!), but what made it so delicious was the spice. There were little taste explosions of coriander, cardamom and garam masala in every bite. Toss on some pickled beets and raita, with a pickled bean and sweet potato chips on the side, and this was a superb dining experience I would recommend to anyone; if it'still on the menu... 

Smoked Lamb Sandwich w. Pickled Bean and Sweet Potato Chips

So, it might not be the cheapest sandwich you'll eat, but it's pretty damn good value for the money if you consider the quality of the ingredients and the amazing flavour and creativity in the food. All totalled, it was just over 20 bucks for an exceptionally good meal and a beer (before tip and taxes, but still!).

Good folks at Pressed, I salute you! I will definitely be back!

And that's all for now! Cheers!

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