I was pretty exhausted by the time I got off the plane yesterday, so rather than go home and cook, I suggested to my husband that we stop in somewhere to eat. I missed him dearly and wanted time to catch up, and also because I was craving something with a bit more panache and flavor than I’ve had the past week. Originally, I was thinking along the lines of a nice steak. We had to drop off my sister in Delaware, so we figured that we’d stop off at the Branding Iron for some steak and baked potatoes. Wrong. Either it was closed for the day, or it’s closed permanently. We couldn’t find any signs that told us either way.
Since we were working our way down 315 anyway, I suggested Cameron’s – we had been there previously and liked it immensely, and their menu is just what the doctor ordered. We arrived fairly early, and beat the dinner crowd. I was quite pleased, because the hostess sat us somewhere that had a lot of natural light, always a plus in my book.
Cameron’s American Bistro is what I would consider upscale casual – more upscale than say, Cap City Fine Diner, but definitely a lot more casual than M or Columbus Fish Market or Mitchell’s Steak House. Either way, actual table linens and glasses were a welcome change from the styrofoam boxes and deli paper I’ve been eating out of all of last week.
Every table receives a loaf of Cameron’s fantastic sourdough bread, still warm from the oven:
along with one of the more unique presentations of “garlic butter” that I’ve seen – a whole head of sweet and mild roasted garlic along with a small ramekin of sweet butter.
For appetizers, my husband and I decided to split a salad and some soup. Bear in mind that the following two pictures are half portions of what you normally receive, as our waitress was kind enough to split it for us before serving.
The Chop Salad ($5.95) is one of their new menu items, described as “asparagus, corn, hard boiled egg, smoked bacon, gorgonzola, red onion, grape tomato and golden balsamic vinaigrette.” We opted to leave off the asparagus, because while I like asparagus, my husband does not. It’s not what I’d consider a “traditional” chop salad, but the flavors worked well together; I was worried that the gorgonzola would overwhelm everything else, but the mild gorgonzola that they used lent creaminesss rather than an overwhelming medicinal kick.
We also chose their soup of the day, Parnsip Soup, a creamy root vegetable puree with a velvety mouth feel. As served, it was a bit sweet – too sweet for both of our tastes, but a turn of cracked black pepper turned this sweet soup into a savory one which we both enjoyed. It was garnished with a bit of braised short rib, which was excellent – I really wish they served the short ribs as an entree unto itself.
Since I was in the mood for steak, for my entree I chose their Steak “Benedict” ($24.95), a layered concoction consisting of three (in order) green onion potato pancakes, applewood smoked bacon, sauteed spinach, tender filet mignon medallions, lump crab and hollandaise sauce. The dish was finished with squiggles of olive oil and a sweet balsamic reduction. The presentation was spectacular, and the individual components of the dish complemented the medium rare filet. This dish is meat, side, and veggies all in one, and just the right amount of food for an entree.
My husband chose the Lamb Porterhouse ($23.95), perfectly grilled jumbo lamp chops served with sauteed red cabbage and spinach, parnsip and Yukon Gold potato gratin, and a red wine reduction. I was hesitant to try it because I’m not a lamb person, and discovered that I don’t dislike lamb – just badly prepared or overcooked lamb. I was a bit jealous because his entree had the “in your face” steak flavor I desired, and coupled with the sauce it was just glorious. The other components of his entree were also very good, especially the gratin which was quite creamy and very cheesy.
We both had cleaned our plates, but I was the only one in the mood for dessert, and chose my usual “go to” dish if it’s on the menu, classic creme brulee ($5.95). This one in particular really hit the spot because it was served with berries, which I usually add a la carte if possible because I love the combination of the sweet vanilla custard with the somewhat tart berries. This one also came with a lovely butter cookie, and the presentation was quite impressive. My husband wasn’t able to resist the call of the creme brulee, and did manage to sneak in a bite or two.
Overall, this is a place we can see ourselves returning to time and time again, as it usually offers great food and a decent price, with competent (albeit slow at times) service. It’s equally great for dates as it is for business dinners and family gatherings (although, I need to note – not the best choice if you have kids – I didn’t see anything on the menu that would appeal to them, and loud kids would particularly stand out). They are open for dinner hours only, so bear that in mind when making your plans. I’d have to say that this is probably the favorite one of the Cameron Mitchell restaurants, with Cap City a close second.
If you’d like to go: Cameron’s American Bistro, 2185 W. Dublin-Granville Rd (Rte 161), Columbus, OH, 614.885.3663