In foodie circles, Black Creek Bistro has always had a stellar reputation, and has always come highly recommended. So I was fairly sure that my less than ideal experience during Restaurant Week in the spring was an anomaly, and I had all intentions to go back and try it again when food was seasonal. Lucky for me, Restaurant Week Fall Edition was scheduled for right when the best produce would be available, so returning to Black Creek Bistro for a follow-up visit this week was a no-brainer.
As they did in the spring, Black Creek Bistro is one of the only participating restaurants that is offering four courses instead of three, but with the addition of a couple of new chefs since then, it inevitably was going to be a much easier thing to pull off. I had already made my choices before we even walked in the restaurant door.
I was glad to be able to take a couple of minutes to catch up with Chef Kent Peters, who I had not seen since Taste of the Independents. As I’ve mentioned before, he’s one class act. I have the utmost of respect for the sustainability he incorporates between farm and restaurant – to know that most of the vegetables eaten during the meal were grown on the farm made my little locavore heart happy.
Bread service (not pictured), were run of the mill dinner rolls, but they were nicely warmed and crispy on the outside, and served with a rather delicious compound butter.
To start, I chose the chili relleno, which was a fiery, roasted hot banana pepper stuffed with melted queso fresco, dipped in what tasted like a beer batter and fried until crisp, served on top of a cold ragu of tomatillos and other veggies which added a sweetness, tempered the heat of the chile pepper, and just paired wonderfully. Although the dish was at the very edge of heat level I can tolerate, it still was a starter that I’d look forward to ordering again if it were on the regular menu.
Paul chose the Tri-Color Seafood Carpaccio, in which raw tuna, scallop, and salmon was pounded thin and given a treatment similar to ceviche (with lime juice and olive oil). The roasted garlic was an especially nice touch, but I think the crostini was a bit of a distraction and not even necessary to pull this dish together.
For the salad course, I went for the Heirloom Beet Salad, which topped farm fresh mixed greens with roasted red beets and 4 different kind of heirloom tomatoes. A nice crumble of goat cheese and feta, a flavorful pesto, and cucumbers just made this a perfect example of the farm on a plate. It doesn’t get much better (or fresher) than this.
Paul opted for the Bistro Salad, which was a nice simple composed salad of mesclun mix topped with strawberries, gorgonzola cheese, red onion, walnuts and a slightly sweet balsamic dressing. While not the least bit complex, it was absolutely delicious.
My entree was a perfectly seared red snapper, paired with a triangle of au gratin potatoes, fresh spinach, and balsamic roasted red pepper relish that was studded with olives. Although I’m not a huge olive fan, the flavor wasn’t overwhelming, and just added a bit of brininess to the dish.
Paul’s entree was the most unusual dish of the evening, a Peanut Butter and Jelly Duck. A perfectly seared breast of duck is sliced, and topped with a slightly sweet berry sauce. The noodles are tossed in a slightly sweet peanut sauce. Combined, the sauces truly do taste just like peanut butter and jelly. The portion size was perfect, because this dish could easily get cloying in a larger quantity.
We both opted for the Bacon Apple Tart for dessert – it was a simple apple tart, served with house-made buttermilk ice cream, and sprinkled with crispy lardons of bacon. I love the combination of salty and sweet, and this did not disappoint. I especially loved the ice cream.
In short, our experience this time around was the polar opposite of our last experience, and I can now see why it’s both a media and local foodie darling. I can see myself visiting much more often, especially during the growing season.
Our server, Katie, was absolutely awesome. Engaging, friendly, non-obtrusive, and anticipated our every need without us even needing to ask.
If you’d like to go: Black Creek Bistro, 51 Parsons Ave, Columbus, OH 43215, 614-246-9662