I was in Ottawa this past weekend for numerous celebrations - one of my best friends' 30th birthday parties, mother's day, and probably most monumentous: both of my parents' 60th birthdays! My parents' birthdays are exactly 1 week apart (actually my whole immediate family has a random type A birthday pattern of all having birthdays on the same weekday each year - this year it's Sunday!). Their anniversary is smack in the middle. Although this sounds hectic, they really made it easy on me and my sister as we got older as it was the perfect opportunity to combine celebrations.
My parents were steadfast in not wanting a party or a big "to do", so we tried to be creative. We ended up taking them out for a unique dinner at an aboriginal bistro recommended by a family friend - Sweetgrass Bistro, at 108 Murray St. in Ottawa's market area. After eating there we would all happily recommend it and would love to go back!
Vegans or non-meat lovers can probably stop reading now...
Sweetgrass is an aboriginal bistro, so there are many unique meats on the Spring menu. The restaurant sources local meat, cheeses, and veggies and thanks each of their farmers on the back of the menu. We started with a bit of popcorn (cute touch from the restaurant!), and then had elk dumplings and a trio of cheeses as shared appetizers. Both were delicious and interesting flavours we had never had before. The restaurant's style seems to be to take a "typical" dish and prepare it with unique (at least to me) ingredients. Then to move onto the mains - my father and I had the land special which was braised venison served on sauteed kale (I think?) and a variety of beans. My sister had goose leg - similar to duck confit - nice and crispy on the outside and rich meat on the inside. My mom had halibut, and my husband had grilled buffalo! For dessert we shared a rosemary creme brule (I am not really a creme brule fan, but this one...this one I would run back to!) and a traditional aboriginal cake that was somewhat like a mild fruit cake. Definitely a meal for the senses - and everything lived up to our expectations. The service was excellent - attentive and knowledgeable but down to earth.
If you are in Ottawa and looking for an excellent meal I wholeheartedly recommend visiting Sweetgrass!