Let me just first start by saying that I’m thrilled to death that Restaurant Week is back for the fall. I enjoyed my experiences so much this spring (as did others) that it was a win-win situation for both the restaurants and customers alike. Our choices this time will be a bit lower cost, but that doesn’t mean we won’t get a fewer higher end ones in there, like this one.
Let me just put it on record that I’ve never, ever had a bad experience at G. Michael’s. It’s easily in my Top 10 list of best restaurants in Columbus, and we’ve had absolutely stellar food and service each time. So this was the first place on our list for Restaurant Week, and we didn’t want to wait until the end of the week when word of how great it is got to everyone else making it impossible to get in there.
The three-course menu at G. Michael’s will run you $30.09 per person, making it one of the more expensive options for Restaurant Week, but given the quality of the food, the atmosphere, and the listed menu prices for the components of the meal, it truly is a great value.
G. Michael’s hasn’t changed its bread service in like, ever; but the bread here is so good that I can see why they stick with something that works. As usual, the hearty sourdough and what I believe to be a wheat bread are served with a nice, soft, pepper and onion based compound butter.
For my first course, I chose the Pan-Fried Crab Cake with sweet corn butter sauce and house-made guacamole. This was a very nicely composed dish, where the flavors really played off of each other. Not to say that each individual component wasn’t good on it’s own, especially the guacamole that had a nice flavor to it (which I later found out was lime zest) that you don’t usually find as a component. The crunch of the breading on the crab cake, too, lent a good contrast that I found to be well-balanced.
Paul went with the Summer Tomato Bisque, which was a thick, creamy, extremely savory but not overly spiced hot tomato soup, which captured the flavor of the seasonal fruit beautifully. This was an extremely hearty offering.
The entrees, though, is where it was at, especially Paul’s choice of Spinach-Stuffed Golden Trout, served with a fingerling potato, bell pepper, green tomato and apple-smoked bacon hash with leek cream sauce and pecan pesto. Oh, this dish was absolutely beautiful in every way, and I’m so glad it’s a regular menu item, because we WILL return for this one before the menu changes over next month. The skin-on trout was crispy on the outside, stuffed with a nicely seasoned creamy spinach, on top of a concoction of absolute evil that was swimming in some of the best creamed sauce ever. The pecan pesto just brought the entire dish over the top. The flavor? Beyond describing in words, you’ll have to try this one for yourself.
I was equally pleased, however, with my choice of Veal Osso Bucco with sweet pea, shiitake mushroom and roasted garlic risotto, in a saffron-scented jus and candied tomatoes, if for no other reason that you rarely see this on any menu, and I’m a huge fan of anything with marrow. It was tender, flavorful, and sat upon a risotto which although not the traditional preparation for Osso Bucco (a Risotto Milanese), went together perfectly. I think that’s why they used the jus to bring those saffron flavors in. I’m not so sure about the candied tomatoes, though – they seemed just like chopped regular tomatoes to me.
Paul’s dessert choice of Lemon Gingersnap Tart was a good one – the lemon filling was super creamy, tart but not too tart, in a candy-like crust. I’d order this one again myself.
I really enjoyed my Buttermilk Panna Cotta with crumbled maple-oat streusel and blueberry-vanilla sauce. The streusel is what elevated this dish above being “just a panna cotta”, and was probably my favorite component in the dish.
There’s a good reason we keep on going back to G. Michael’s – excellent food (they are especially artful at fish/seafood, we’ve found), understated but extraordinary service, great atmosphere. If you choose just one place to visit this Restaurant Week, this is a winner.