Lunching in the belly of the beast

January 23, 2009

Photo courtesy of LexnGer (click image for for more)

Photo courtesy of LexnGer (click image for for more)

For better or worse I count myself among the army of Ottawans that toil daily for the government within several blocks of Sparks Street downtown. We have our peculiar habits.  You may have noticed the ID tags clipped to our belts:  A hideous fashion choice that we gladly make in order to avoid the inconvenience of reaching into a pocket or purse when entering the workplace. Such is the efficiency and commitment of the federal civil servant. You may also have noticed that we congregate at bus stops between 3:30 and 4:30pm (or used to, before the interminable strike) because we believe it’s worth getting to work at 7:30am if you get to leave the office while the sun’s still out. And our employer is fine with that.

Anyways, another thing we share in common is lunch. Between 12 and 1, you’ll find swarms of us in the basements of our grey office towers lining up at equally grey food counters serving up meals of a similar hue. Surely you, like me, believe in your heart that there is a better way.

This post, the first in an occasional series, will point the way to the culinary adventures that await only minutes away from your ergonomic keyboard.

Today’s discovery:  Tokyo Sushi on Kent between Nepean and Lisgar.  The place is small — maybe 6  tables.  It wasn’t busy though, even during peak mid-week lunching hours.  The decor is clean, fresh, and minimalist.  It makes for a nice break from the taupe an beige tones of your typical Government of Canada workplace.

The reason you come, though, is the sushi and good prices.  This is seriously tasty sushi. Much better than the nearby (and better-known) Festival Japan.  It’s also reasonably priced, a near miracle in Ottawa. The maki sushi combos start at $6.95 and top out at about $11 for enough sushi to make a good-sized lunch. The spicy salmon roll is delicious.  The veggie gyoza are crispy and light.  And the edamame were nicely cooked and salted. The best part of all: Pots of pungent japanese green tea are free and plentiful.

So ditch the basement sandwich shop, don your parka, and check it out.


6 Responses to “Lunching in the belly of the beast”

  1. Katie Says:

    I like your post Jonathan!!! I want sushi now… are they open on weekends?

  2. François Says:

    good post! finally it sees the day of light…but we should totally make it bigger!

  3. Myriam Says:

    That makes me want to eat sushi… And tells me I should’nt want to work for the government.

  4. jonathan Says:

    you should totally want to work for the government. you just need to decorate your office (to cover up the beige/taupe) and leave the building for lunch. other than that, there’s no better place to work.

  5. saxby Says:


  6. nellleo Says:

    pre-recession, I’d say bolt if you can (and if you’re right-side minded).
    During recession- stick with the feds.

    Jonathan — excellent intro! Couldn’t be more true!! The clip has gotten me in trouble loads of times with people that are “anti-man”. Got shoved by a homeless guy on Bank st. blaming me for “the bad economy and lineups at the clinic” . fun times..

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