The Details on Details
Posted by cmh gourmand on February 9, 2009
My report on Details has been lingering around on my MacBook for a month. I keep getting bogged down in the details and stumped about what to expand on or what to cut out. However, the time has come to go with what I have after 5 trips and let the pictures serve their worth at a thousand words or more apiece. For a small space, I find Details has a lot to offer. The Cliff Notes on Details read: it is the perfect hangout if you take food in any form seriously and you want to enjoy the journey to your plate as much as the arrival to your palate.
Details had a quiet opening in December. The lounge is the offshoot of Rosendales. However, this is no culinary step-child or a waiting area for patrons pining for a table in Rich Rosendale’s restaurant. Details has an identity and style of it’s own. The first story features a well adorned and fully stocked bar. I walked the length of the bar many times but I never sat on a stool long enough to appreciate the first floor. The second level seats about 20. The core of Details is upstairs at a six seater minibar facing the kitchen/alchemist’s lair/culinary workshop.
The heart of Details is Chef de Cuisine Drew Garms. This minibar is a showcase for how fine food may come in small packages as well as proof that little details do make the difference in a great experience.
Chef Garms knows his craft. He is a CIA graduate. Like several staff at Rosendales, he perfected the art and science of cooking at The Greenbrier an acclaimed restaurant and hotel not far from where my parents grew up in West Virginia. At the Greenbrier, he earned ten ACF (American Culinary Federation) medals and was Chef Richard Rosendale’s apprentice on the 2004 national culinary team in Erfurt, Germany. Upon completing his apprenticeship in 2005, Chef Garms was promoted to Saucier at the Greenbrier. In 2007 Chef Garms became Sous Chef and helped Chef Rosendale and his culinary team with the opening of Rosendales (info in italics courtesy of the Details website). In October 2008 Garms returned to Erfurt, as a member of the United States Regional Culinary Olympic Team.
A quick glance at the menu might make one think bar food. Such is not the case. Take a long look behind the bar at the small workspace and molecular gastromy gadets; you may wonder what you are in for. When two cooks are working this space, their motions mirror an olympic synchronized swim team but with flamebursts, cocktail crafting, negative eighty degree flash-freezing, anti-griddling and other Iron Chef activity going on.
Here is a sampling from the regular menu. The complete menu is online at the Details web site.
I do not have a photo of the Spanish Chorizo Chili (Black Beans, Scallions, Avocado Butter, and Fried Plantains Chips – I have found a garbanzo bean or two in here as well – and yes – there is Chorizo – Spanish style sausage). It is the perfect dish to kill the cold of winter.
The menu satisfies. Several small details make this minibar menu a fine dining meal. Let’s begin with maple syrup. A basic ingredient. Drew smokes his maple syrup which serves as the coating for his house made pastrami. He gave me a small syrup sample that ensured perfection in a slice of French Toast at Chateau Gourmand as a day after long night meal of atonement.
Now let’s move on to ketchup. Who cares about that? Chef Garms does. I am a convert as well. The tomatoes in the base are smoked and then mixed with other ingredients to create the finest condiment on the face of our planet. Few places make their own ketchup which makes sense, who has the time for a condiment? Well when the chef cares about his ketchup – imagine the effort he puts into everything else. I would order a 20 ounce glass of the house ketchup and drink it straight. I now ask for three servings of ketchup instead of a trio of sauces with my steak fries.
Speaking of drinking. The absolute awesomeness of the cocktail menu finely complements the cuisine. These are old school cocktails which have no better in Columbus, perhaps no peers this side of NYC (with the exception of Highland Estates).
The description of the martini demonstrates the Details approach to cocktails.
We are unabashed purists.
Your choice of Gin and a healthy pour of dry vermouth.
On the rocks if you must. Optional Olive or Twist.
Not available in Vodka
The quality of the alcohol selections demonstrate the respect Details cocktails deserve. The Aviation includes Creme de Violette and Maraschino Liqueur. My new found friend St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur finds a home in the Wry Smile. There is a respectable selection of high-end bourbons and cognacs. My current favorite is Amaro Mio: Raisin-infused Grappa shaken with Amaretto, Cointreau and Espresso.
If there are 5 people you want to share a great evening with, set up a Detailed Experience. There are two seatings each evening, at 6:00 and 9:00, for up to six people. Reservations should be at least twenty-four hours in advance. Chef Garms will greet you at the mini-bar with a cocktail then serve a series of tasting plates, blending elements from the menu, his own inspirations and feedback from your party. The price is $55.
Some of the usual suspects and I reserved a tasting menu on New Years Eve. I did not take any notes and this post is getting really long so I will defer to the photos.
At Details (and some other kitchens in town), there is a movement afoot to redefine, refine, and promote a Columbus food culture that is not fast food but fabulous food.
791 North High Street