Dinner at Deepwood
Posted by cmh gourmand on April 14, 2009
511 North High St
Tuesday – Friday 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Monday – Thursday 5:00 pm – Close
Friday & Saturday 5:00 pm – Close
Happy Hour (Deepwood – An American Tavern):
Monday to Friday 3:00 pm to 7:00 PM
Deepwood has been ranked as one of the ten best restaurants in Columbus. In spite of the accolades and after one year of operation, the restaurant continues to stay just a bit beneath the radar. Deepwood’s sign is muted although the site is in a high profile location in the Short North, surrounded by many recognizable signs and well known names one could not miss. I think a bit of restraint suits Deepwood just fine. As fate would have it, I deleted my Deepwood photos in a devastating error so this “words alone” review will be a bit restrained as well. Not having photos is a shame. My recollection of my photos is they were really good and I went to great lengths to get them just right. My words will not do justice to my meal – the photos might have come close.
Deepwood is divided into two sections – Restaurant and Tavern, the menu is divided that way as well. The tavern menu is small but value priced while the restaurant menu is larger and leans toward high moderate pricing. The decor is deeply devoted to wood – lots of wood everywhere. The atmosphere is relaxed and pleasantly quiet. The approach to service is thorough yet comfortable applying a tag team approach to each course and in between settings to ensure a smooth transition from plate to plate.
I will begin with a shout out to my server, Amanda, she was excellent and she will be the benchmark for my best server of 2009 (In 2008 it was Christina at Tony’s). Amanda knows the menu. She also has significant industry experience, she was previously at L’Antibes for years. She gets points for not dropping her jaw when I ordered a second set of donuts (I was kidding, she was not). Now on to the meal.
The evening began with the soup selection – Beer and Cheese. Looking at the rest of the menu (even the Tavern Menu), the soup seemed a slip-up in contrast to the rest of the supper fare. However, Amanda’s eyes lighted up when she listed it and her enthusiasm for the soup after she mentioned she tasted it sealed the deal. It was a perfect start for a frosty night.
The house-made breads included a cranberry walnut bread, black bread and with a crispy, crunchy, crusty cracker – served with homemade butter and a dash of sea salt. The breads were all very good. I have become a bread snob in the last year and I do not want to be bothered with bread from a freezer bag – this was all fresh. The cranberry bread made a great base for breakfast the next day. The remaining crusts from the bread basket came in handy for the next dish.
The Mussels were served with a wonderful large slice of toasted bread already soaking away in the broth. This was a good dish, but it was overshadowed by the other operner a Warm Spinach Salad. The salad was an assortment of baby spinach leaves in warm bacon vinaigrette, roasted mushrooms with a sunnyside quail egg on a circle of brioche toast in the center. The egg was perfectly prepared as were the mushrooms.
The piece de la resistance was split for two. Slow Poached Maine Lobster served out of the shell on a bed of spring pea risotto with pea shoots and a trail of Bellini sauce. This is the finest entree I have had in 2009. Lucky for me it just debuted on the Spring menu. Unlucky for me it is $42. When I ordered, I thought it was the price of at the another entree (and I was thinking wow – a bit pricey at $26) on the menu. My designated diner saw the actual retail price but was in too much shock to tell me. (Shock that frugal gourmand was going all out on the meal). I am glad she did not say a word. I would not have ordered the dish for $42, but now that I have had it, I will gladly order it any time. The spring peas popped in my mouth, the risotto was riveting and the Bellini Sauce (peaches, lemon and champagne/prosecco) begat just the right amount of muted sweetness. The lobster was cooked to pure perfection, slow poached is the way to go – the claw even tasted good.
Some drinking was going on while all of this eating was going down. My new drink of choice (tied with the Amaro Mio at Details) is the Ginger Bulleit (Bulleit Bourbon, Ginger Syrup and house made Ginger Ale). Bulleit is pronounced Bullet in case you wondered. The drink is smooth and refreshing and potent all at once.
Now to dessert.
Chocolate is the name given of their chocolate cake. This is where my lack of photos is a disservice to my readers. Here are the ingredients: Chocolate-glazed cake filled with malt-chocolate mousse with Blackberry port compote and a drizzle of mint syrup on the plate. The glaze was thick and rich and all of the flavors blended together nicely.
Easier to imagine, but harder to forget were two house-made doughnuts with house-made Coffee ice cream. The donuts were hot out of the oven with a balanced amount of sugar glaze coating the outside. The ice cream was served at the right level of coldness but not so cold that the flavor of the coffee did not perk out or that I had to use much force on my spoon to slide the ice cream from cup to mouth. I fancy myself an ice cream expert so I can say Deepwood delivers an excellent ice cream which ranks with the best scooped out here in the ice cream capital of the world.
So that was dinner, sans photos. I can’t believe I deleted them. I can believe I will be heading back for lobster, donuts, a bulleit or two and a taste of the tavern menu. Amanda mentioned some special beer tasting menus are on the horizon so I will keep an eye out and an ear open.