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Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro
Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro
Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro
Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro
Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro
Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro
Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro
Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro
Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro
Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro
Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro
Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro
Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro
Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro
Dessert at Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro
Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro
Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro
Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro
Foods from Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro

2010 Jun 23
a GREAT selection of teas. many artisanal.

2010 Jun 23
a honkin' mountain of christophe's shrooms @ the SA-weeeEEETgrass. shame on you for not knowing this.

2010 Jun 11
Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro is one of my favourite places to eat in Ottawa.

The food is an experience. Every plate sounds like a new exciting adventure. There is something engaging about the food served at Sweetgrass. You have a relationship with it. The ethical dialogue you have to engage in before you indulge in scintillating rabbit dumplings is intense, but after that first bite, it is well worth it.

I do wish that there was a little more emphasis on traditional aboriginal cooking and maybe a larger aboriginal staff though. The non-aboriginal cooks and waiters coupled with the western spin (hence the bistro) put on the food, makes one wonder if this restaurant shouldn't be called: Sweetgrass Colonial Bistro.

Either way, it is hands down one of the best places to eat in Ottawa! You will undoubtedly love it.

2010 Apr 25
Food is Fun - I completely agree with your "too much oil" (butter?) complaint about the Pickerel dish. I also found it to be on the salty side. The flavours were otherwise wonderful (gotta love boar bacon!), but sadly the lasting impression of this meal was of salted butter - I would not recommend this dish.

2010 Apr 24
Last night I enjoyed an evening dining with some of my gal pals at Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro at 108 Murray Street in the Byward Market.

Their new Spring menu showcased their aboriginal inspired cuisine.

I started with their soup of the day, the Vegetable and Barley Soup. The vegetables were firm but not too crunchy. It tasted 'healthy' and I was left wanting for my depth of flavour. It didn't seem to be terribly complex but I suppose that was in keeping with the desire to be 'authentic'. I was glad that my choice came with no guilt.

My main was the Wild Sustainable Caught Pickerel with fingerling potatoes, christophes mushrooms, spring onions and wild boar bacon. The portion of fish was something close to substantial. The fingerling potatoes were mild tasting and cooked to perfection. I appreciated the variety of the accompaniments that brought the flavours forward. My only complaint was that there seemed to be a bit too much oil dressed over the dish. I suspected this was done because pickerel is a lean, delicate but dense fish.

Other dishes tried by our table, and well received, included:
++ Gathering Nations Salad with their own lettuce blend, peppers, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, pepitas and sunflower seeds with a maple mustard dressing;
++ Mahnoomin and Duck Spring Rolls with sweet and sour beets, apricot and ginger dipping;
++ Wabush (Rabbit) and Spring Onion Risotto with slow cooked rabbit, crème fraiche, lemon, parsley, spring onion, parmesan sauce;
++ Awazibi Maple Glazed Roasted Wild Boar with wild Rice, spinach, pinion nuts, wild cranberries

We all joined in communion with Warren’s Jamaican Rum Bread Pudding served warm with butterscotch ice cream and caramel sauce!

If you would like to read more, feel free to read my blog write up.

2009 Dec 30
game bird paella @ sweetgrass. nice threesome bird thing happening here with duck, goose and game hen in this paella dish that's well cooked, sizzling, fresh and tantalizing your taste buds. daddy enjoyed the distinct and stronger tasting game meats mixed in this dish which were well balanced with an array of veggies, peppers, greens. could not really taste the saffron as i really like my paella to be with heavy on the saffron and glowing to be me eh? otherwise, this is a good one which tasted original apart from the usual shrimp and chicken paella found everywhere. and it is fan-friggin'-tastic that sweetgrass delves into more ethnic flavor & territories that can be enjoyed by all (without being extreme on the alien encounters side of things) which i look for. nice friendly and feel at home service to boot.

2009 Nov 30
Recently made my first trip here and it was exemplary, one of my best dining experiences over my three years in Ottawa. I like how they use classic technique with distinctly Canadian ingredients....exactly what Canadian cuisine needs more of in my opinion. Rather than a particularly crazy fusion of influences, I’d say it’s more of fresh and interesting takes on classic dishes with a healthy dash of creativity.

Split 4 apps and a main between two, portions were very generous in my opinion and desert was unfortunately out of the question after all that. Service was excellent all the way through, and I generally don’t concern myself with service very much.

The bison bone marrow is the kind of dish that I really enjoy ordering out (its hard to saw marrow bones in half at home!) and it was just magnificent. Instantly one of my favourite dishes in Ottawa after my first bite.

Wild mushroom and barley soup was excellent. Duck liver pate was also simply but competently executed. The rabbit dumplings are a bit of a miss in my opinion although they are presented and cooked perfectly, but perhaps that is just me. I found them a bit heavy and I didn’t necessarily detect the unique flavour of rabbit.

Had the chef’s choice wild boar as the main, it was brought to the table in two ways (A frenched rack of rib chops and a braised and then crusted slice of the belly). A great way to share between two people, the med-cooked chops were a perfect compliment to the rich belly.

All-around excellent, if you want to take out-of-towners somewhere that is different and has high standards this place is a great choice...I am proud that we have a resto like this in Ottawa.

2009 Nov 23
I took my parents to dinner this past Saturday. It was my second time at Sweetgrass, it was their first.

Generally speaking, the food was excellent! The service was fine. The overall experience was very enjoyable.

We were provided the complimentary popcorn, although the server took it away well before our apps even came and didn’t bother asking if we were done. Weird. We also had that lovely bread/bun.

I ordered my usual virgin Caesar. I ended up with a regular Caesar so had to get it replaced. The drink isn’t that great at Sweetgrass – rather sweet.

For starters, we had the Mixed Green Salad (Mom said it was good and the vinaigrette wasn’t too citrus-y), Goose and Potato Rolls (I didn’t try it but my Dad said it was good – they looked like spring rolls), and the Bison Bone Marrow (there wasn’t much marrow to dig out but from what little there was it was absolutely delish!).

For mains, we had the Crispy Mariposa Duck (I had a bite and it was unbelievably yummy!), the Grilled Tatonka (buffalo – I had it last time and remember how good it was; my Dad really enjoyed it), and the Game Meat Canneloni (ground elk, bison and boar – it was really good, much better than I had expected. All elements were prepared in-house; the pasta was just right, the fresh tomato sauce was just enough and not over-powering and the blend of meats was quite tasty. My only ‘criticism’ of the plate is that I would have really preferred shreds of the different meats rather than have them all grounded but hey, the plate is already pretty good).

We passed on dessert as we were all very stuffed. The bill came to $160 tip included for the three of us. Very worth it for the quality of food.

2009 Nov 22
While Umamiman was conveniently visiting Ottawa for a conference we took him to Sweetgrass to celebrate the recent anniversary of his birth. Wifey had visited with a friend some years ago and remembered an underwhelming meal (involving Tatonka) so she took some convincing. I'm happy to report that Saturday night's experience left her with more positive memories.

Service was attentive and efficient, if a little quirky. Water glasses were replenished continuously, even after we had paid our bill. My bro enjoyed a bottle of Heritage Dark and I was pleased with my Waupoos Cider (new to me and brewed in Picton).

The complimentary bowl of Popcorn that appears with your menu is a bit of a WTF since it is very ordinary and borderline stale. I'm guessing it's a signature gimmick they introduced early on and for better or worse they're stuck with it.

The complimentary Bannock that accompanies the meal is quite nice, although more like a baked drop scone than a traditional flat griddle-cooked bannock.

The Fry Bread ($2) is closer to what I expect when I read "bannock," albeit somewhat thinner and greasier. It was awesome in a Beavertails kind of way. Eat it right away; it is best hot.

The Elk Carpaccio ($12) was succulent and delicious, although the meat itself had a flavour so subtle that it wasn't detectable above the other ingredients (much like good sashimi). The mushroom chips were a real treat -- with an over-the-top nutty umaminess that worked very well with the aromatic oil, cold elk, crunchy croutons, salty hard cheese, and zingy microgreens. The exotic ingredients and perfect balance of flavours of this dish reminded me of Atelier.

The Goose and Potato Rolls ($12) were a pleasant surprise. Crispy spring rolls stuffed with rich, goosey goodness in a nicely garnished presentation.

The Soup of the Day ($8) was a Manhattan-style seafood chowder and it was good in an underwhelming way. Wifey stated that during her first visit to Sweetgrass the entire meal was "like the soup." Based on our experience, I'd suggest sticking to the menu's permanent soup choices.

The Crispy Mariposa Duck ($25) was truly awesome. When it comes to duck, I always prefer crispy well-done dark meat to underdone breast meat that tastes of nothing but blood. This dish featured a full leg, with a very crispy skin and flavourful, tender meat. It was the duck version of pulled pork with bacon! The nice cherry preserves helped cut the richness of the duck. The pan-fried squash and sage gnocchi were fun to eat, but their flavour was too subtle to compete. The generous and tasty portion of wilted chard was perfect: healthy greens do go well with fatty duck.

The Special of the Day ($30) was a BC Halibut with pineapple and bean relish, spaghetti squash, and spinach. Wifey enjoyed it very much. I didn't try her accompaniments but I did sample her large chunk of halibut. The flesh was perfectly moist and the wonderfully mellow flavour was spot on.

The three of us shared Warren's Jamaican Rum Bread Pudding ($9). It would be a heavy dessert for one person, but we all proclaimed it to be excellent. A sweet, dense, wedge of rum-soaked pudding graced with plump raisins, sitting on a caramel drizzle and topped with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream. Nicely done!

Be warned that the Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is often out of stock, as it was during our visit. Our server joked that the customs officials seem to be concerned about packages from Jamaica being shipped to a restaurant with "grass" in its name, and they don't always receive their shipments on time.

2009 Oct 8
bacon-wrapped elk loin @ sweetgrass aboriginal bistro. love that their rotate their menu often and a variety of game meat well done. came with fingerling tomatoes, tomato, mushroom ragout, wild greens and port drizzle. elk done medium was delicious and surprising that the bacon was light and didn't overpower the meat. excellent service. wished it wasn't so dark in the dining room cuz i like it with the lights on.

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2006 Dec 17
I'll end it with a dessert since I'm not sure if I'm spamming. :)

Cloudberry Pudding



2009 Nov 23
The Creme Brulee at Sweetgrass has Rosemary in it which provides a unique twist to the usual delightful flavour. Astounding.