What's the draw?
What was once Levack Block (RIP) is now home to Matt Blondin's (of Acadia fame) new collaboration with Toronto's kings of catering, the Food Dudes. Omaw (a word coined by the guys to mean a Southern term of endearment) brings Carolina-inspired cuisine to the Ossington strip. The main kitchen is on display in the dining room meaning you can take a seat at the bar top and watch your dishes being prepared in front of you. Just be warned that the chefs take this very serious and you may get 'the look' for taking photos. Can you blame us when it looked so good though? On weekends the back space (the notorious Levack Block dance floor) has been transformed into a low-key lounge serving cocktails and snacks.
What to drink?
The beer and wine list is strictly North American only so expect some unique local beers and wines. Omaw's drinks menu also takes Southern inspiration with plenty of bourbons and dark liquors on offer. As with the food, the cocktail menu is also ever-changing, offering a mix of classics and some originals and drinks will set you back between $13 and $16. Not your standard Ossington strip prices by any means, but they sure pack a punch. We really enjoyed the 'Grow a Pear' - a sweet and spicy concoction of habañero-infused mezcal, pear, jasmine wine, yuzu and egg white foam.
What to eat?
With Blondin at the helm, don't expect your traditional Southern cuisine. Dishes are carefully thought out and presented beautifully. Each dish is perfect for sharing: Southern-style tapas if you like. The Snake River Farms wagyu with beef fat vinaigrette is a good place to start (the chef recommends placing it in strips on top of pancakes before devouring), followed by Blondin's famous grits, served with gulf prawns and oyster mushrooms. If you find yourself staring at the menu with no idea what some of it means (urfa biber, chow chow or purloo sauce for example), you're not alone. Luckily, there's a glossary of ingredients on the back of the menu to sort that out for you.
88 Ossington Ave, (416) 477-5450, omaw.ca