Tuesday, 21 September 2010


It was one of my last nights in Ottawa, and it was decided that LJ and I would go to an eatery we had never ventured to. I went through a list of 'want-to-try' places to figure out where to go. Some where fancy? Something testing food boundaries? Nope, lets try a comfort food haven in the heart of little Italy. Let's go to The Prescott.

There were several things I knew or had heard about before having gone. Food wise, they are known for their square pizza and their meatball sandwich. I knew Yuk Yuk's was attached there too. I also had heard about a lot of sports celebrities coming here for food and drink.

The place definetly has a long history. It all started in 1934 as a corner store with prepared meats and one of the first establishments to be liscensed for alcohol. The story goes on at The Prescott's history page on the website, and when you walk inside, you can feel that there is a history.

I have to admit though, we didn't get the friendliest vibe when we arrived. We entered through the front door, and were a little confused where to go. We chose the room to the left, but were also confused whether to wait to be seated or to sit down ourselves. After waiting a few minutes and trying to catch the attention of passing waiters, either to busy or unconcerned to stop, we decided to just sit at a table.

The place was very packed. The crowd in the room we were in was very much an older crowd than we, with pockets of families here and there. The place looks like it hasn't changed in decades, although there are photos from a time long ago to prove the place has done renovations.

It was very dim inside (and I apologize for the photos, low light and not using flash make for some hazy shots). There were some very cool recesses in the ceilings with lights that made for a very unique look to the place.

Our waiter (never got a name) started out very kurt and very unfriendly. When LJ and I both ordered pop and not alcohol, he seemed almost upset. But as the evening went on, the crowds dissapeared, he became much more friendly and more jovial. You could tell he works hard and that he's probably been around for a long time. We chose (mostly me) a schmorgasboard of samplings and in a little while we had lots to try.

Above was their signature chili oil. It comes in an old beer bottle. It was golden in colour and you could see the chilies at the bottom. I sampled it and didn't really taste any heat or flavouring. Maybe I should have shaken the bottle.

The Original Meatball Sandwich. Both LJ and I had heard many people rave about this monster. A 1/4 pound of angus beef in the form of a giant meatball in tomato sauce on white bread. This is definetely a knife and fork operation.

Niether of us were impressed. It wasn't bad, but it was just overwhelmingly plain. The meatball had no real flavour. The sauce was also pretty bland. Coupled with the white bread, this was surprisingly boring. Maybe it was an off night because a lot of people seem to like it.

The square pizza is also famous here, I guess because Ottawa is a classic round pizza city. We went with the most popular, 'The Dewie" , pepperoni, green olives, green pepper, mushrooms, onions and bacon. This was the small. It was definetely loaded with topings. But this too did not impress us. The crust was really tough and hard to bite through and really brought the whole experience down. I liked the sauce and the toppings (even though I don't like mushrooms and olives) but the crust was a big downer.

Deep fried smelts. That's right, deep fried smelts. I saw this on the menu and thought, "yes, I need to try that." How many places have this as an appetizer? Light and crispy batter, deep fried nicely, lemon for squirting, and a big container of what I think is homemade tartar sauce. I couldn't have too many as the fish was a little strong, but it was great for sampling.

So the two signature dishes seemed to be a miss. The surprise of the smelts was welcomed. So how would the wings turn out?

The wings come out piled high and deep fried. The chicken looked nice and crispy, and two vats sat striding against celery and carrot sticks. The menu didn't say how many wings came in an order, but there were about 10 wings in the pile.

The wings were about a medium in size. They certainly weren't "jumbo" as advertised, but they weren't shabby wings either. The best thing about these lightly dusted wings were how crisp they were. The skin had a nice crackle to it and could be enjoyed on its own.

But I didn't want just plain chicken wings. One of the giant containers had my suicide sauce. They keep the sauce on the side so that the wings don't lose their crispyness. You also get a tub of blue cheese dressing. I generally don't dip my wings, but I found I was dipping into suicide then over into the blue cheese.

There was lots of sauce for all the wings. The suicide was surprisingly mild (for a suicide sauce) and was cayenne sauce based, with a few other spices and sauces added in. It was a decent sauce, but nothing that really grabbed my attention or taste buds.

FINAL SCORE: For me, if I was back in Ottawa and back at the Prescott, I would forget the pizza, I would ignore the meatball sandwich. I liked the smelts, but it was more of a fun experiment than a regular item for me. But I would get the wings again. The key was the excellent crispy bite of chicken. Sauce was ok, the blue cheese was good, but it was a fair sized, well deep fried chicken that made me happy. But man oh man, what a feast. 6/10

The Prescott
379 Preston St, Ottawa ON


Teena in Toronto said...

Looks like quite a feast!

Lord of the Wings said...

@Teena - it was!

Chris said...

Maybe the anonymous waiter was worried about the lack of alcohol because he knew you needed to be a little drunk to enjoy the pizza or sandwich? ;)

The sandwich actually LOOKS really good to me but I could see how it could underwhelm.