Last Saturday night we had dinner at The Wine Guy Wine Shop Wine Bar & Bistro. Whew! That's a lot of "wine" in one name. And since I have been accused on more than one occasion for "whining" too much, from here on I will call it "The Wine Guy". Much better. Now I must say this before I continue with my review. I apologize for the quality of the pictures. :-( I have never claimed to be a food photographer. Sometimes I get lucky and get some really good pictures. However, the lighting was not conducive for photography (go figure) and I did not want to disrupt a busy Saturday dinner crowd by taking flash pictures. So I did my best. I'm sure you'll get the gist of it all.
So last week the Padovas, Bob and I dined at The Wine Guy at Creekside in Gahanna. What fun! I cannot wait to go back! We had an absolute blast. First of all, my dear husband enjoys wine sooo much. I am not a huge fan. A glass of sweet wine every great once in a while satisfies me just fine. I'm more an umbrella drink girl myself. So when he has the opportunity to have dinner with friends who appreciate the grape as much as he does, well he's all over it! And Donald and Kathy fit that bill.
When we were seated, our server greeted us and filled our goblets with ice water...and left the pitcher! (I think I love this gal!) That alone won my heart. Then she set down a platter with pita squares and what I believe was a sun dried tomato cheese spread. I am totally liking this place already. Plus I have to mention right now that I most definitely had the BEST seat in the house! I had an unobstructed view of the kitchen doorway! Oh yeah, I watched plate after plate coming out of the kitchen. It rocked! Every once in a while I got a glimpse of what was going on back there. I so enjoyed this! I think the others were jealous.
So back to the table. (psst...see the doorway over Donald's left shoulder? The kitchen. I'm tellin' ya, great view.) So on the menu they have a list of wine flight options. You can order a four glass wine flight by wine type. Awesome! Each of us could pick our very own wine flight and not have someone else complain about the choice! This could be just the ticket to a happy marriage. I, of course, chose the sweet wines. Bob and Kathy got reds, and Donald got Italians. I am here to tell you this was so great. We were tasting and looking at the menu and following along with the wine descriptions. The pitas and cheese were the perfect accompaniments.
The menu offers the choice of tapas, or small plates, so that you can share with one another or as a small plate for one. Some of the heartier items are offered as a tapas portion or dinner plate. We opted to go for tapas selections so that we could all taste and share different choices. This was a terrific way to go. But there were so many options that sounded good that it was really difficult to decide. (Oh that I should have such difficult choices to make like that every day!)
The first to arrive was a choice of Donald's. "Hummus & Olive Tapenade – Olive tapenade served with a black bean, roasted garlic and sun-dried tomato hummus, plated with two grilled flatbreads. Tapas Portion $7.99". Okay, I absolutely love tapenade. Hummus, not so much. Actually, hummas not at all. But I will try anything. This black bean hummus was the bomb! Oh my gosh I loved it! Me eating hummus? Well, yeah; if it tastes like this I am on it! And the tapenade was just delicious. Every single one of us was lovving it. This hit a home-run with us. That is going to be a definite "do-over".
Next out was one of my choices, the "Beer Cheese Soup – A three cheese blend of Provolone, Colby and Mozzarella blended with our Rogue Dead Guy Ale, served with a slice of Pretzel Bread. $5.99" All I can say about this one is that after asking for three additional spoons, we were practically clanking silverware. It was so incredibly delicious. And the pretzel bread...um, actually I think I have to come clean here and tell you that I pretty much hogged it for myself. What's not to like...pretzel?...bread? Bob did get a few crumbs, but only because he was sitting beside me and it would have caused an ugly scene if I had wrestled it from him. At home he might not have been so lucky. So needless to say this one was out of the park! I would come back just for this alone. (And the wine, too of course!)
The "Chicken Marsala – Tender chicken breast dusted with seasoned flour, pan seared and finished with a Mushroom Marsala reduction. Plated with sliced baby red potatoes in a thyme butter sauce and plated with asparagus garnish. Tapas Portion $9.99" was my choice as well. The chicken medallions were perfectly cooked, tender and moist. The Marsala reduction was wonderful, and I just loved the unusual joice of slices of baby red potatoes in the butter sauce. Wow! This was just spot on. I am used to seeing Chicken Marsala served with some kind of mashed/whipped potato. The baby reds were an inspired choice!
Lucky me, this was Bob's choice and he was right beside me! Woohoo! That meant sharing! Well, his fork visited my Chicken Marsala more than once. And besides, we agreed we'd share. The "Cajun Scallops – Spicy sautéed scallops served with candied walnuts and crumbled bleu cheese, then finished with a raspberry sweet and sour reduction. Tapas Portion $10.99". These were just so darn good I don't even know how to put it into words. Perfectly cooked scallops; candied walnuts, well let's just say I could have filled my pockets with these delightful morsels; and bleu cheese and the raspberry reduction. These just defied description. I'm just so very glad that Bob was sitting by me!
Bob and Kathy had also ordered the "Mushroom Risotto Cake at $1.99". A big dollop of creamy mushroomy risotto made into a patty and then sauted for a crispness on top and bottom. To me this was just downright comfort food. It was so creamy and lucious. Can't say it was exactly pretty, but my opinion is that once you cook a mushroom, well just eat it and enjoy the taste. Don't go lookin' at it and expecting it to be pretty. It is not going to be. But boy do they taste good!
Kathy's choice was the "Ginger Sesame Crusted Tuna–Pan seared ginger and sesame crusted tuna steak served with a wasabi cream sauce and plated with a cucumber salad with a blackberry vinaigrette dressing. Tapas Portion $8.99". I must say that the plating of all of our dishes was just lovely. It was apparent that much care had been taken when putting the presentations together. The tuna was no exception. Now I didn't taste this so I will relay Kathy's opinion. She liked the dish a lot, however she felt that the tuna was a bit over-cooked. Tuna should be seared on the edges and retain a bright beautiful color in the middle. Unfortunately tuna isn't all that pretty cooked. (Hmm, kind of like the mushrooms.) It is kind of a whitish gray. Had I been a better photographer you could probably see exactly what I mean. Despite the tuna being a bit over-done, she still enjoyed the dish.
Donald had the "Pan Seared Duck Breast – Pan seared orange tea marinated duck breast, served with a pan fried white cheddar cheese grit cakes and finished with a blackberry coulis. Tapas Portion $8.99". Again, I didn't taste this so I am relaying Donald's comments. The flavor of the duck was very good, and the cheese grit cakes were greatly enjoyed (mostly by Kathy;-). That being said, he thought the duck was a bit chewy. But he did like the dish a lot. There certainly wasn't anything left on the plate!
Now believe it or not, we weren't done! Donald requested another wine flight, Bob and Kathy split one, I ordered coffee and Donald asked for a "Margherita Pizza – 12” Margherita pizza prepared with mozzarella, whole pealed tomatoes, garlic, and chiffonade of basil, finished with grated Romano Cheese and an olive oil drizzle. $9.99 Each". When that baby came all four of us dug in like we hadn't just finished eating! It was so incredibly good! The crust was just right, the garlic and tomatoes were perfect, the cheeses were not overpowering and the drizzle of olive oil was the magical finishing touch. This pizza is another definite do-over!
The Wine Guy is a place I am anxious to return to. On a busy Saturday night the service was very good. At no time did we feel rushed or feel like we were being hurried along. The dishes came out from the kitchen in a timely fashion, allowing us to enjoy each dish to the fullest. Chef Dave stopped at our table and spent a considerable amount of time chatting with us. He seemed genuinely concerned when Kathy mentioned the tuna and agreed with her on how it should have been cooked. I am always favorably impressed when the chef circulates the dining room and talks with the restaurant's patrons. Chef Dave is as likeable as his food! Now that's a compliment worth savoring! I can't wait to go back!
Visit The Wine Guy Wine Shop Wine Bar & Bistro at:
500 Creekside Plaza
Gahanna, OH 43230