Restaurant Week 2009: Alana’s Food & Wine

This isn’t the first time we’ve been to Alana’s (we’ve been previously for the Slow Food Columbus/UE Wine Dinner, and also for my birthday last year), so we both went in with high expectations for what she’d whip up for Restaurant Week. (BTW, yes – I know the picture below of the Alana’s sign has been used before, but it provides a much prettier picture than the winter blahs/major construction going on out front now).

UE_Alanas

Although I had a general idea of what Alana’s would be doing based on the menu they had listed on the Restaurant Week site at Dine Originals Columbus, I was excited to see what particular soup and risotto would be offered that night. The choices did not disappoint.

Alana's Restaurant Week Columbus 2009 Menu

One of my favorite things about dining at Alana’s is that she always stops by with an amuse bouche – today’s was a kumquat half filled with a mascerated pineapple that was quite refreshing.

And there’s always a lot of terrific bread for dipping in olive oil. We especially loved the herby one.

Bread at Alana's

But back to the menu proper – even though the salad appetizer sounded interesting, we both went for the Cafe Black Bean Soup with all the Fixin’s. This was easily the best soup I’ve had in a long, long time. The flavor profile was so exquisitely complex. Our server, James, told us it was because of the combination of coffee, coriander, cumin and Miller High Life in the soup. Whatever it was – wow, it really worked.

Cafe Black Bean Soup with all the Fixins

Every time I go to Alana’s I swear I’m going to get the risotto the next time I go. But I never do. And then I end up with severe risotto envy, wishing I had got the risotto. Today’s combination of flavors was especially good, a Barley and Brie Risotto with Confit of Fabulous Fungus (Truffled, of Course). This literally knocked my socks off. I love risotto as it is, but the creaminess of the Brie with the texture and flavors of the mushroom and the subtle earthiness of the truffle. Amazing.

Barley and Brie Risotto with Confit of Fabulous Fungus (Truffled, of Course)

Not to say that my entree, Lamb Bolognese with Rustichella Spaghetti and First of the Season Sweet Peas, wasn’t outstanding in it’s own right. It was. The lamb cubes were tender, the sauce flavorful, the pasta cooked perfectly.

Lamb Bolognese with Rustichella Spaghetti and First of the Season Sweet Peas

By the time dessert rolled around, we were stuffed. Paul chose the Flourless Chocolate Torte with Mascerated Berries. This stuff was so dense, so chocolately, so rich. It was almost like a pure ganache of amazingly good bittersweet chocolate. How Paul managed to finish the entire thing is beyond me.

Flourless Chocolate Torte with Mascerated Berries

Even though I tried as hard as I could, I couldn’t completely finish the Apple Tart with Jeni’s Ice Cream, the dessert they had chosen to replace the Mexican Chocolate Pecan Tart, which wasn’t available. I loved it, but it was a bit too sweet and too much of a good thing for me to handle after the huge entree I had just consumed. Still, anything that combines apples + Jeni’s Salty Caramel ice cream + a nice caramel sauce garnish = win in my book so I soldiered through the best I could.

Apple Tart with Jeni's Ice Cream

If you’ve been longing to go to Alana’s, but have balked because of the price, or because you think it’s formal (it so isn’t – actually, it’s one of the most laid back and casual places to eat in Columbus in my opinion), take the chance during Restaurant Week to give it a try. You won’t be disappointed in the least.

If you’d like to go: Alana’s Food and Wine, 2333 N. High Street, Columbus (North Campus), 614.294.6783

Alana's on Urbanspoon

7 thoughts on “Restaurant Week 2009: Alana’s Food & Wine

  1. We went to Alana's last night for dinner too – and I made the same choices as you. :-)
    The salad was really good too (I ended up stealing quite a bit as it was huge).

    Your photos came out much better than mine – it was so dark where we were sitting.

    Alana's tip for restaurant week was brunch at the Worthington Inn on Sunday. She said that she thinks it is best brunch in Columbus and it is $30 for two for RW.

    Looking forward to today's report.

  2. I can attest it's pretty laid back. Husband and I were out on the scooter on Friday (god bless the warm weather) and dropped by for dinner. We were dressed in jeans and tees and felt right at home at the back bar. James was our server too and he was marvelous. Alana's never disappoints and their wine selection/pricing rocks too!

  3. It's hard to get good photos in Alana's – I went early (at 6pm), asked them to seat me under the skylight where there's natural light, and did lots of post-processing to clean the pictures up.

    Paul and I are debating going to the brunch at Worthington Inn, leaning in favor of going since we've heard nothing but good things.

    Today we'll be hitting Cafe Corner and Due Amici. :)

  4. Agreed, people find it hard to believe when I tell them that Alana's is one of the most non-pretentious restaurants in town, and I don't know why. We love it there, but unfortunately don't get back there as often as we'd like to. I told Paul we should budget to allow one trip to Alana's per month. ;) Was the risotto on the menu when you went last Friday? It was amazing.

  5. I also went to Alana's last night and it was the first time I've been..wow..what an amazing restaurant..I'm so glad that I went with the risotto, although everything was delicious, including the 3 cheeses that we splurged on that weren't part of restaurant week! My favorite was definitely the creamy mushroom brie. Alana came out with a sample of the truffled asparagus puff and those 2 small bites were the best thing I've ever tasted! Can't wait to go back when the weather is nicer and sit out on the patio some Saturday evening!

  6. I support all things Alana's. Prior to Restaurant week, they offered a pasta special on Tuesday as well as some featured wines and beverages – I am sure there will be other offerings inspired by this week. I can not think of any restaurant I dine at where I feel as relaxed or as at home than any table at Alana's. It is neither cramped nor too loud and with some careful choices and a bit of sharing two people can eat very well here at a good price. Thanks for supporting Restaurant Week Becke! Word is we will see another Dine Originals Restaurant Week in the fall.

  7. Pingback: Adventures in Restaurant week and beyond | Columbus Food Adventures

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