Ottawa - OCCO Kitchen Innes

OCCO has two locations in Orleans, a take-out counter on St-Joseph and a 200 seat restaurant on Innes Road. We visited the latter.

The space, as you would expect from its power centre location, is big and impersonal. Ceilings are high, decor is basic with a dark brown, grey and beige colour palette. There’s a teppanyaki setup leftover from a previous restaurant that occupied the space. We were told they had plans to turn it into a taco bar. Needless to say, the place is not much to look at and you need a lot of people to have some sort of ambiance.

The menu is intended as high-end street food with a focus on local suppliers and house-made everything. We ordered the corn dogs, fries with dressing and gravy (sampler size), candied bacon burger, fish taco and pork belly taco. That was more than enough food for two. We also had a few beers from their nice selection of both on-tap and canned/bottled offerings.

Our first observation was that all the food came out warm not hot. The tacos were almost room temperature. Overall, everything was nicely presented and flavourful. Our favourite dish was the corn dogs, battered and fried jalapeno and cheese smokies served with honey dijon and house ketchup. The ketchup was a hit with my dining partner. Tacos were also very good despite being served only warmish. They didn’t skimp on the fillings. The pork belly taco had a nice chunk of meat in it. Fries with dressing and gravy, a Newfoundland fast food standard, were a tasty discovery, but the dish was only warm because of the gravy.

The burger was less of a hit. Although the homemade bun and toppings were ok, the patty had a wet and mushy texture that we really didn’t enjoy. I don’t know how you can get ground beef wrong, but they did. We ordered it with their “heirloom” salad which didn’t seem to have anything heirloom about it, but I suspect that is due to the time of year. The salad was otherwise tasty.

Our waiter did not offer dessert which is fine because we were too full anyway.

Service was very good. Our waiter was extremely affable and took time to explain everything and make sure we had no questions before we ordered.

In the end, the minuses outweigh the pluses and I don’t think we’ll be going back unless we happen to be in the area and have no better options. We certainly won’t be schlepping out to Orleans just to go there.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold