Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Dessert at Play Food and Wine
Dessert at Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Foods from Play Food and Wine
Comments

2012 Mar 19
Hi Happy Mouth:

Thanks for complaining! I mean it! If something is not good, or even not to your tastes, you SHOULD say something. I'm thrilled it was handled well at Play and hope to welcome you personally on your next visit.

Many thanks!

2012 Mar 19
I hate complaining to a restaurant about food. Too shy I guess and I know that is unfair to the restaurant. I am getting better at it. I was at Play for lunch once and the soup was under seasoned and not to my tastes. I'm not a fussy eater but won't eat something that's not worth the calories. The server noticed that I did not eat the soup and asked about it. I got up the courage to be honest and say why I did not like it, and went as far to say I thought it was my problem, I just ordered the wrong thing. Even so, it was taken off the bill. They really do want your patronage and go out of their way to keep it.

2012 Mar 19
Hi Saffron:

Thanks so much for the kind words. I hope DC is treating you well. There must be some great dining there for sure! I feel bad that I got to the posting late as I was off on vacation with my son and wife for March Break.

For all Foodies out there: I really hope that when you dine with us at Beckta or Play, that if there is a dish that is not to your liking for any reason, you will let us know so we can correct the issue and make sure that you never pay for anything that you do not enjoy. This direct feedback, as hard as it may seem at the time to offer, is invaluable to restaurateurs everywhere to improve dining experiences and better the food scene no matter what city you are in.

Again Saffron, thanks for all of the nice thoughts and I certainly hope to be able to welcome you back to Play or Beckta on a future trip back to Ottawa.

All the best,

Steve

2012 Mar 19
I almost commented on the initial review, and thought I'd wait a day or two to see if Mr. Beckta responded. I was sure he would, and he did. I am always so impressed by the personal interest he takes in his restarurants, and by his personal commitment to ensuring that every diner has a perfect experience. Every time that we've eaten at Beckta and he's been present, he's checked in at our table to make sure that everything was wonderful. That commitment to perfection is what keeps me coming back (even though I live in Washington DC, now). I lurk onto ottawafoodies every month or so, cause I'm always interested in the way the scene is evolving in O-town. I'll be there for the week next week, and am very much looking forward to trying all of the yummy delights you all have been talking about (the pickle sandwich... the doughnuts... the competing BBq joints!)

2012 Mar 19
Dear Bonvivant:

I'm so sorry to hear that the food at both of your visits to Play was not to your liking. I'm embarrassed that you left without finding dishes that were your style and ended up paying for things that you did not enjoy. We obviously did not put our best foot forward during your visits and I would love the opportunity to have you back on another occasion where we will make sure to get you dishes that are both to your style (and temperature) and seasoned properly so that you are happy with your entire experience, not just the wine pairings and service.

I promise you that our ingredients are of the highest quality and are prepared to order (not in advance as you suggest). The reason why the pears in the spinach salad are darker, for instance, is the dressing contains balsamic vinegar which darkens the flesh. However, they are sliced to order. Our Tuna in the tartar is sushi-grade from the Whalesbone Sustainable fish store and is diced by hand to order (we don't have a meat grinder in our main kitchen), but it seems like the tuna was diced too fine in your case. Again, I apologize that your experiences were not up to your, or our standards. I would love to offer to make a future reservation with me personally to be able to show you how great our kitchen can be. All of your dishes will be with our compliments of course, as we take your comments very seriously and want you to be able to rave about all parts of your experience at Play. If you would be open to returning, and would like to discuss your visits in more detail, I would love the opportunity. You can reach me by email at sbeckta@beckta.com. I really hope we can turn your experiences around and win back your trust in us.

With many thanks,

Steve

2012 Mar 18
bonvivant, just curious if you really thought the beef tataki was really poor tasting or just disappointed that its a cold dish. I agree that they should add to the menu that it is served cold, we were also confused by that, but I thought it tasted pretty good for what it was. Whats the connection to a roast beef sandwich? Besides the temperature?

2012 Mar 16
I have been a little reluctant to write a review about Play Food & Wine after a first visit for dinner on November 2, 2011, but a second visit made it compulsive to write a few words.

I truly cannot believe that Stephen Beckta is associated with this sham. With all due respect to the institution that he represents, the food is borderline edible and the “2 plates for $20 at Lunch” is a reflection of that: you get what you pay for.

On our first visit, I started with the pear and spinach salad. It was basically something I could have put together myself in a few minutes in my own kitchen, the pears were cut in advance and had turned colour, the spinach was not fresh and over-sauced, the blue cheese cold and too firm in texture, basically the dish seems to have come straight from the fridge, prepared hours before. I wasn’t impressed to say the least and remember eating the grapes only. We then had the grilled quail, the crispy squid and the steak. Because we were sitting at the chef’s counter on the 2nd floor, it was hard to be honest with the server without breaking the hearts of those hard-working guys. The wine pairing was the saviour: Vouvray as aperitif, Sauvignon Blanc with the salad, Auxerrois with the squid, and a nice Pinot Noir with the steak. All this for a $150 before tip.

Earlier in March, before my second visit, I phoned Beckta for a lunch reservation to find out that they don’t do lunch, but their “sister restaurant” Play Food & Wine did, so I “indulged” again hoping my first experience wasn’t reflective.

I sat at the comptoir downstairs and was served by a fine server behind the bar. I right away asked for a cold glass of Riesling and the Albacore Tuna Tartare. The tuna tartare was a joke, not edible, it was not sushi-grade tuna and had come out of a meat mincer (I am not kidding) earlier that day (hopefully not earlier), stringy with nerves, with a cold accompaniment of tasteless mango sauce… no crostini to boot, I had to ask before taking my first (and last) bite. The dish was not edible… how could that be! I then pleaded with the server to suggest his favourite, very best dish on the menu to make up for my past and recent experiences. He highly suggested the Beef Tataki, explaining in great detail how it was prepared and served… except he omitted to tell me the dish was cold! If I wanted a roastbeef sandwich, Bridgehead makes a mean one, served unpretentiously and with great flavours. I paid the bill and left as hungry as I had come in.

Needless to say that I left unhappy, walked across the street to La Bottega, sat at the counter, had a half portion of their pasta du jour (rigatoni Bolognese), served to me warm, with a full-bodied glass of red and that in itself made my lunch experience a little more tolerable.

I should add that service is impeccable and friendly, the setting quite nice, I love that there is parking nearby, so the Play and Wine are good, however the Food is outrageously bad based on the fact that I can’t go past a bite on any of the dishes I tried without thinking what am I doing here. With this said, I do understand it might cater to a younger crowd who want to develop their palates.

PS I just noticed I did write a review after our first visit!

2012 Feb 16

Took my parents there this weekend, had a wonderful meal.

We tried:

pear and spinach salad (w/ balsamic vinegar, blue cheese, and grapes): good, nice flavour, balanced amount of balsamic with fruit and spinach. We asked for the blue cheese on the side (two of us don't like it), so cannot fully comment on the dish as originally meant to be presented.

tuna tartare (w/ mango-lime, curried yogurt, and almond): nailed it out of the park. Absolutely divine, and we all immediately wanted to order another one. And this is with a table of people who are not fans of mango ordinarily.

grilled quail (w/ quinoa / roasted grape, and chard): Also excellent (very tender, and the quinoa gave a pleasant nutty flavour). Would have nailed it out of the park if the tuna hadn't gotten there first.

gnocchi (w/ oyster mushroom, fennel, radicchio, and olive) : Also nailed it out of the park. This was the dish that had been previously recommended by friends as the "must-order" dish, and said friends were absolutely right.

braised rabbit (w/ mustard-mead, cabbage, black-eyed peas) : I quite enjoyed this, particularly I thought the sauce served the rabbit really well, and the peas added a plpeasant crunch. Also, what with the quail being a picky bone-in dish, I liked having a rabbit dish that wasn't so finicky to eat. My parents also enjoyed, though most of the raving went to the gnocchi and the tuna.

Dessert was their deliciously minty and meringuey baked alaska.

Overall excellent, and I look forward to an excuse to go back.


2012 Jan 23
Another one off my wish list. They knocked it out of the park. We arrived for our 8:30 reservation. There was a bit of a mix up about whether we wanted a table or spot at the bar. Because we waited for our table they brought us some complementary bubbly - first nice touch. After we ordered they brought bread for me, and home made potato chips for my wife, who can't eat gluten. (score again!) I had 3 dishes - grilled squid, pork belly and steak frite. All were yummy, although I probably wouldn't order the steak again, as I can make it easily at home. The pairing with the squid was a rose, which I didn't enjoy, and was replaced by a pino negro which I really liked. The pork belly came with brussel & pineapple kimchi - which was awesome. I'd love to have the recipe for that one. My wife had the beef tataki, and the grilled quail. We both left very full, and had a really nice evening. The service was outstanding, and they had a gluten free mark up of the menu readily available.

My one thought after eating there was they need to get grilled beef heart on the menu. I had it at the now defunct Mado in Chicago, and a dish like that would rock at Play. Sweetbreads could be a welcome addition too. Ah the possibilities - I'm a gluten for offal.

2011 Dec 5
Second time here and I commented to my friend "why don't we come here more often?" We know we like it, we know it's consistent.

I had the Arctic Char - the fish was cooked to perfection. Yum. Sat at the bar and had the wonderful popcorn to nibble on while we waited. Yum. Service is always friendly as well.

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2009 Nov 26
Play's sommelier, Grayson, is the nicest guy. He always goes the extra mile to make us feel welcome, and is extremely adept at providing excellent wine suggestions. He's also quite the comedian, which makes the experience that much more enjoyable.


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2014 May 9
I had the mini baked alaska a few weeks back, which apparently was on the menu quite some time ago. Glad they brought it back. It was the best dessert I've had at a restaurant in recent memory. Chocolate base with After 8 gelato and covered in a soft and sticky peppermint meringue.

2011 Oct 18
Their creme brulee is basically their signature dish, though it changes with the seasons. The first two times that I went to Play, it was an earl grey creme brulee, and I scraped the ramekin down each time. I've since tried the lavender one...another one...and a cinnamon creme brulee with poached pears. Each was magnificent.

2011 Oct 15
I had the lavender crème brûlée here a few months ago, and honestly... I still dream about it. I'm not even a huge crème brûlée fan, nor even a lover of lavender, but it was FANTASTIC! The flavours were perfectly paired, the dessert itself was creamy and light. GET IT!!!

2009 Jul 13
My friend's pavlova. I tried some and thought it was excellent!

2009 Jul 13
The cookies I ordered for dessert. They were good, but I prefer crispy-chewy cookies. These were very shortbread-y. As Fresh Foodie always says "my problem, not theirs" :)

From left to right - lemon poppyseed, chocolate chunk, lemon sugar.

I'm a big chocoholic as well so wouldn't have complained if there were more chocolate chunks in the chocolate chunk one ;)



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