16977 Trans-Canada Hwy,
Cost: $150.73-including drinks, tax & tip
Chef Hats: 4
These days with the expansion of large-scale luxury malls and Smart Centers, many Montreal suburbs like Laval and South Shore can count a few high-end dining restaurants in their entourage. West Island, always perpetually lags behind when it comes to new restaurant openings. If it sounds like a gripe, it is. Luckily, West Island gets maybe a handful of new restaurant openings each year. That, of course is not counting chains and franchises, as those are plenty. The last time we saw anything remotely considered luxurious fine dining was ten years ago when we got the opulent 40 Westt and Town Hall. Five years ago, we got Ossiano and Le Keg (considered fine dining in these necks of the woods). Of course, there is always hotel dining like Chateau Vaudreuil, Auberge Les Gallants and The Willows Inn, but even those have become very casual these days. What I am talking about are the Gatsbyesque type of places where just walking in has you in awe with their larger than life spaces, crystal chandeliers, white table cloth fine dining and a wine caves fit for a king.
Five years ago, in 2015, I heard about the opening of Ossiano (not to get confused with the underwater restaurant in Dubai). Their opening night was extravagant, but of course I was not invited. I could have been, as one of my family members claims a close friendship with the owner. Albeit she was not invited either. I was willing to spend my hard-earned cash, but no one wanted to go because they heard it was very expensive. Yet, they spend their money foolishly in other ways, what is that all about? People would rather eat awful food for cheap, then spend a little more money eating quality food. My take on that is not only are they cheap, they are afraid to go to these places because they will not fit in; it is more about fear of being snubbed than anything else.
Well it took me five years to get my carcass there a few months ago, thanks to my sidekick who indulges in my pleasures on special occasions. Ossiano is everything they say and more. It is opulent, classy, beautifully decorated, with large chandeliers, a winding staircase that reminds any girl of a princess fairytale. The second floor holds a private dining area with a massive wall to wall glass wine cellar for those who want to bask in privacy. Upon entering, Ossiano has a large bar area, with comfortable couches and leather armchairs for a drink. A baby grand piano is nestled in the alcove of the winding staircase, where on some nights a pianist plays soft music for entertainment. In terms of beautiful spaces, it has everything one can ask for. It is a jewel and it shines bright.
Upon our arrival, we were greeted at the door by our very polite and accommodating waiter, who took our coats and seated us in the largest semi round velvety plush banquette near the windows. Aside from the chefs in the kitchen, we saw only one more person making drinks at the bar. As we sat down in the expansive brightly light room, we realized we were the only ones there. We did a double take and looked at our watches. Were we too early? Our reservations were for 7:30 on a Saturday night and this seemed awkward. I know it is the burbs, but people do go out at this time. We were the sole diners for almost an hour, before a family of three walked in. We asked the waiter if it was always this quiet and he said they had big event the night before. For some people, this would raise red flags, but I love empty restaurants. I get the waiters undivided attention, the best seat in the house and it makes me feel extra special in my own private alcove.
Ossiano was started by Maurice Chbat, and Tino Teixeira, one may remember Maurice as the General Manager of the 40 Westt Steakhouse circa 2004-2015. Maurice always had a passion and flair for hosting and entertaining. His dream was to have his own restaurant, so he opened Ossiano. Located in the Piazza Azzuri, around the bend when you exit onto St. Charles Boulevard from the Trans-Canada Highway in Kirkland. It serves Mediterranean specialties, with an emphasis on Portuguese, Spanish and Italian dishes. The menu which is fish and seafood heavy, also has items like Lamb, Chicken and Angus Steak and Filet Mignon. Salads like Fattoush, Caesar, Burrata and local French classics like Mussels and Escargots are also available. There is something for every palate.
These days the chef at Ossiano is a Salvadorian chef by the name of Fernando Rodas who specializes in Mediterranean cuisine. The food is simple, yet innovative, beautifully plated and very flavorful. Most of the fish dishes sampled this evening were very fresh and of good quality. The dessert was decadent. Ossiano wine list is also reasonable and you can find wine around the $ 50 dollar range, but you can also order a decent wine by the glass, a classic cocktail or martini.
We started our evening by ordering two glasses of Pinot Grigio for $12.00 each. For starters we ordered a Lobster Bisque for $ 10.00 and a Salmon tartare. The lobster bisque was velvety and creamy and had a drizzle of truffle oil on top. The salmon tartare was market fresh and also very good. It came served with pickled cucumber wedges and ample amounts of baguette crostini on the side.
For our main meal, we ordered the Icelandic Cod for $ 29.00, we got two pieces of fish, that was pan seared in white wine and fine herbs, topped with capers and lemon infused olive oil, served atop Saffron Rice. It was delicious, tender, not overcooked or dry. The rice was perfectly rich and creamy.
Also ordered as a main meal was the Ossiano Atlantic Salmon for $ 33.00, served on top a crispy potato galette and lima bean puree, with a light drizzle of lemon saffron sauce. It was delicious and paired well. The crispy texture of the potato galette and the creamy lima bean puree, were perfect together. The dish was satisfying and filling as well.
For dessert, we got a complimentary Chocolate -Vanilla cream ace topped with fresh raspberries and blackberries and two espresso coffees to round out a perfect evening.
Service was professional and our waiter Hamish made us feel very comfortable even though we were getting a little lonely, he chatted with us and kept us entertained. We asked if we could take pictures near the staircase, to which he offered obligingly. We noticed when walking past the open kitchen that it was manned by two female chefs. A conversation ensued about how woman these days are really making an impact in the kitchens of some of Montreal’s Top Tables.
Aside the great service we received this evening, what left an impression most upon walking into Ossiano had to be the opulence and luxurious décor. Much care went into giving Ossiano its own unique artistic flair. Chbat and Teixeira commissioned local artist Laurraine-Marcelle Gereige Moussa de Parsons to paint a nine-panel 24 carat gold leaf mural that graces the restaurant walls. Everything at Ossiano is very sumptuous and beautiful. It is worth a definite return for food or even just a drink in the bar area and listening to the pianist playing his rendition of Casablanca. Ossiano is a must-see place, and a great experience, it is all what you make of it