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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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