Giorgio—a pleasant surprise in south Clintonville
December 7, 2008
Friday night, coupons in hand, Claire and I headed for Hound Dog’s Pizza for one of their killer veggie pies. We forgot it was date night for EVERYBODY! Campus and near campus night spots are no place for the Tundra so after several circles of the block and one shot through the HDP parking lot and w-a-a-a-a-y narrow back alley (WHEW!) we escaped northbound onto High Street.
Claire remembered Bruce and Kerri Mehollin’s son Jason was the chef at a new operation next to Aladdin’s and across from Gatto’s Pizza—at the south end of the parking lot where Talita’s used to be—got it?
We saw Jason in the kitchen when we walked in and said, “Hi!.”
Giorgio is a small place—fronted with a modest but adequate bar that included a few tables. Passing the bar area we went left into the dining room. Flush with Tuscan colors and finishes, it is modest in size but not too small (would handle maybe 60 diners) with large mirrors on the far wall that made the room seem larger. The décor was spare but pleasant.
Service was attentive and friendly although they missed a few small cues. One example: the bread arrived without butter which had to be asked for (very good herbed butter it was too). The bread arrived warm, tasty and toothsome—4 inch square pieces that looked at first glance like slightly flattened buns. A crusty top and nice raised interior with enough coarseness to know it was baked recently in house quickly dispelled any lingering comparison to the hundred-to-a-bag restaurant supply crowd-fodder one often encounters.
It would have been better to serve the table several of these breads in a small basket rather than having them doled out one by one to each diner as if by ration. Maybe they were going for the sense of drama by having each one delicately tweezed onto your plate. Friendly suggestion: more bread, less drama.
(In all honesty, I only complain because I ended up asking for two more and felt increasingly embarrassed by having my gluttony exposed.)
We started with the tomato bisque soup. With creamy, tomato-y color and smooth texture (augmented by chunks of ripe tomato), rich herby flavor—it was excellent. (Halfway through I was regretting not ordering the bowl instead of the cup!)
Next was the main entrée. We both ordered from the “Specials” menu: lamb chops (called rack of lamb on the menu) with cubes of squash and polenta for Claire and (wild?) mushroom lasagna for me. Let me start by saying they were both delish!
Mine was creamy cheesy white sauce over meaty noodles and meatier mushrooms. These were mushrooms you could taste and smile! Healthy (= generous) portion too. Good enough to cut small bites so that it didn’t disappear so quickly.
The chops were in thick and lovely—done exactly as ordered. They arrived dramatically standing upright on of a bed of very finely ground polenta. Firm but tender cubes of squash assembled at the base of this small monument to dining pleasure.
We enjoyed our dinners. Even shared, grudgingly, with one another.
After our main course was complete—how can I say this without sounding, well, piggish?—I wanted more. So I ordered the antipasti misto “salad.” Apparently this dish is known in the kitchen as the “meat plate” and appropriately so for it was rich in meaty choices (3). The prosciutto was wafer-thin with a wonderful color and ethereal flavor. There were also sopressata and a flavorful dry-cured sausage of some kind—both also very thinly sliced—and delicious!
The centerpiece of the plate was a tender (non-pickled) artichoke heart positioned upright, splayed and sprinkled with delicate flakes of parmesan. Surrounding were a variety of small briny olives, slices of mozzarella cheese and plum tomatoes garnished with a bit of lettuce. The plate was drizzled with a sweet but tangy balsamic vinegar reduction. A very satisfactory plate of goodies indeed!
Claire, being the generous devoted wife that she is (even with her arms held behind her back until she assented) agreed to split her tiramisu with me. It was creamy, rich, and light as a feather—full of the flavors and textures we expected. (We’ve had Jason’s tiramisu before.) It was the perfect end to a marvelous date night dinner.
We recommend Giorgio. Check it out and tell us what you think, won’t you?
Giorgio Italian Restaurant
2941 N. High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43214
This essay could not have been produced without the invaluable editing and proofreading assistance of Claire. (But, then, you knew that, didn’t you?)
I apologize that there are no pictures. I didn’t expect that I would be doing a review when we left home so (alas!)no camera.