Thursday, 16 February 2017

The Office, Tap & Grill - St. Catharines

22 James Street
St. Catharines

905-984-4440, Reservations recommended.

The Office, Tap & Grill

The Office is a casual, comfortable restaurant. Wooden booths, warm colours, soft lighting, and interesting art work. It has a hip vibe, but we saw customers that ran the gamut from toddlers to senior citizens, all appearing equally at home. If you are a vegan who may dine with an omnivore, the menu would have you both covered.

The vegan menu had some great-looking choices on it for both appetizers and entrees:

Frites and dip $6
Kale Caesar $12
Spinach Salad $12
Meze Platter $13
Buffalo Cauliflower $9
Quinoa Falafels $9

Veggie Burger $14
Penne Puttanesca $12
Zen Noodles $12
Tofu Caesar Wrap $14

I started with the buffalo cauliflower. It arrived on a slender platter with mixed greens in the middle and a thick drizzle of peanut sauce. The cauliflower pieces were a moderate size, easy to pick up with a fork, and lightly spicy. Dredged through the peanut sauce, they were delicious and addictive. With salad or fries, there was enough to make an entree.

For my main meal, I had the veggie burger. It was made with quinoa and lentils. The patty held together fairly well but was a little on the dry side. The burger was served with a corn cilantro salsa that was not memorable, but did add some needed moisture along with tomatoes and pickle. I had it with the fries which were also good, a nice crispiness and good flavour. All in all, both orders were a success.

To go along with your meal, they have some fun wine and beer options. You can bring your own wine for a corkage fee (Mon-Wed = free; Thurs = $5; weekends = $12) or choose from the wine list. They offer reds from California, Argentina, and the Niagara Region; whites from Ontario. Additionally, they offer ‘cheap and cheerful’ wines that they change up for $1/ounce. The beer is typically from micro breweries and runs $5.55 on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

On the down side, they only offered dairy milk/creamer for the coffee and tea, though one of the proprietors (Greg Pearson) mentioned that “as the vegan menu rises in popularity, I'm sure it (a non-dairy option) is something we can add.” We were too full to order dessert and I didn’t think to check the menu, but Pearson mentioned that, “We currently have a vegan pumpkin pie on the menu with a cashew filling and rolled oat and date crust. It has yet to be added to the menu full time, but is getting very good reviews.” Sounds yummy.

The washrooms were decorated in a shabby chic style, leaning just slightly too far toward the shabby. The stalls were tight, requiring a bit of a gymnastic move to get out of the way of the door to close it. The taps were too small for the basin and barely stuck out far enough to get my hands under for washing. Having said that, the washroom was very clean and sported the coolest vanity top positioned under a large mirror; a perfect place to rest your purse for touchups, yet out of the way of the sink.

The Office is located in downtown St. Catharines a block up from the market and half a block from St. Paul Street. In addition to street parking, there is a paid parking lot directly across the street that still had many available spots when we left at 7pm on a Saturday night. Reservations are recommended, and by 6:00, the place was pretty much full. Would definitely recommend the food at The Office, but the lack of dairy substitute was a negative.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday - 5pm to 12am
Thursday - 11:30am to 12am
Friday - 11:30 to 2am
Saturday - 5pm to 2am
Closed: Sundays, holidays

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