I am a sucker for a good view, especially a city view. I find the city lights beautiful, I think it's because I like to think of all the individual people living in the city and what they’re doing to make the lights sparkle. Get me in New York City and I will never close my eyes - I will stare out of the hotel window every night and every morning even if we are facing another building. I think it's that attraction to city views that led me to book a table at the Merlot Rooftop Grill. I wanted to see a view of our beautiful Ottawa all lit up, and I couldn’t think of anything better than sharing this experience with Dima on Valentine’s Day.
Merlot was offering a 5 course dinner for $65.00, the dinner included an amuse bouche, appetizer, palate cleanser, main and dessert. The meal had two sittings, one at 5:30pm and one at 8:15pm. Since they had set sittings those who had reserved came at the same time, causing a large line up at the front desk. It didn’t help that the hosts were somewhat disorganized and caused further delays trying to find couples reservations, once found you were rushed to your table and left waiting for your waiter. Our waiter seemed rushed throughout the evening - sparkling wine was brought without the sparkle, a cocktail took too long to order, wine pairings arrived after the dish it was paired with was eaten, to list a few faults. The food was no better.
The food was inconsistent and I’ll be honest, I am unsure if it’s the kitchens fault or the waiters fault. While waiting for our food to arrive I watched our waiter grab plates of food put them at his station and let it sit for up to 5 minutes before he would serve it. He would also have the food for 3-4 tables at one time and I’m unsure how he would know which tables had which dish – who ordered the steak well done or medium rare, for example. He didn’t have a notepad, he was not assisted by a computer but he had a folded up menu that he kept referring to. There were no crispy shallots in my tomato and black bean soup, there were soggy shallots though – is that because the kitchen messed up or the waiter let it sit for too long? Our main course was a beef tenderloin and lobster with potato pave, braised cipollini onions and horseradish hollandaise sauce – I ordered my steak medium rare, I received it rare; Dima ordered medium rare, he received well done. I’m not sure we got the steaks that we ordered. I did enjoy dessert, a white chocolate trifle with macadamia nut crunch and apricot raspberry compote – sadly, my wine pairing came well after I finished it.
For the price of the menu and it being Valentine’s Day I expected a lot more from this restaurant and I am really disappointed.
Merlot Rooftop Grill
100 Kent Street, 29th Floor