511 N. High St. Columbus, OH 43215 (614) 221-5602
American Cuisine, underrated? Perhaps. Undefined? Without question. When you’re asked if you “feel like Italian tonight,” you’ll know exactly what that means. Even if you’ve never been to Italy, enough portrayal on the silver screen allows us to envision bold red sauces topping mounds of pasta, while a complex Chianti nestles in every glass. When you are asked about your favorite Chinese restaurant, you probably think of the corresponding number to the pictured dish on the wall you always order. But American? Please don’t pigeonhole this amazing experience to hamburgers and hot dogs any longer. It’s so much more. Take for example DeepWood. Ahh, “Welcome home.”
Classic Americana is the inspiration from the moment you enter; the colliding aromas of home-brewed beers and slow-roasted meats dominate your senses. Her “home,” as owner Amber Herron wants her guests to feel like they’ve entered, is divided into two rooms: Tavern and Dining. We’ve taken the liberty of creating a game plan for you, so it’s off to the Tavern first. It is here that you’ll find Sous Chef Colin Vent’s house brew. Of course, Miller Light is available, but you’re not coming to DeepWood for Miller Light. Think is knife and fork beer! The types of brews you can really chew on. Try Bell’s Oberon from Michigan to gain an appreciation for rich orange, coriander and hay combinations, or opt for Oregon’s American Amber for a supreme roasted malt flavor. If a cocktail is calling, DeepWood’s Boardwalk gets the nod. It fused Gran Manier and Chambord with Goose Citron and some fresh lemonade; it’s pure vacation on the rocks.
The Tavern even has its own menu that features appetizers like Duck Confit Spring Rolls with cherry jam, or a guest favorite, the Seared Scallops. Chef Brian Pawlak pairs these jumbo sea scallops with a pomegranate buerre blanc and a crispy potato cake casing to arrive at an unbelievable, plate-licking result. Large semi-enclosed booths are available in the Tavern for a more intimate feel, and autumn décor fits the menu to a “T.”
Now off to the Dining Room, where a wine list featuring flavors from all corners of the globe will meet you at your table. This limitless set of options was hard to narrow down, but after deciding to start with the Veal Sweetbreads there was little doubt that a French Grenache Blanc by Roussanne would be the ideal match. With an apricot cipollini and seasoned bacon compote, this is the best veal starter in Columbus, and the wine unleashed a new set of flavors as it wrestled with the apricot for taste supremacy. Next on the list had to be the Vermont Quail, with an all-star supporting cast of apple-butter squash, whipped goat cheese and delicious fig reduction drizzled over top for a powerfully tasty finish.
Since deciding on a soup and salad course is so challenging, we invite you to just do what we did, and sample several together. The Duck Confit Ravioli immersed in a fennel broth was a new and terrific idea, while Chef Pawlak outdid himself with his du jour creation of Beer and Cheese Soup with a bacon cream. Say it again to yourself and tell us you don’t want it…Beer and Cheese Soup! When the Warm Spinach Salad arrived, it came dressed with a tasty bacon vinaigrette, some roasted mushrooms and one more interesting topping that will only be revealed to you upon ordering it. What a surprise, and what a touch!
OK, enough messing around and dancing about the menu. It’s entrée time, so let’s eat. When the menu highlights are revealed to you, there will be little doubt that Amber Herron has accomplished something big here. She has given American Cuisine her identity back. No longer are Ball Park Franks the bane of our existence! Not if Rabbit Loin has anything to say about it. A bacon-wrapped loin that treated cider reduction and potato risotto like best friends was a gorgeous dish. If you have never enjoyed rabbit before, it kind of resembles the best piece of honey-baked ham you’ve ever had (ditching the bun and mustard, of course), but even more tender and moist. The same can be said for the Long Island Duck. Paired with a terrific French Malbec from Domaine de Lagrezette, the sour cherry compote was in symphony with this lean, succulent meat, producing a very harmonizing result. Rounding out just a few of the menus highlights would have to be the Leg of Lamb and the Venison Chop. Rosemary and lamb were meant to be partnered, and in fall-off-the-bone fashion, it rests beside a garnish of currants and pine nuts adopting the caramelized potato rosti as one of their own. Not to be outdone, the Venison Chop will dazzle you with its parsnip-potato puree and basted lignonberry sauce infused right in. It is a hearty meal, fitting right in line with DeepWood’s quest to create the perfect American dinner.
By the time desserts began arriving, so did our second wind. Had it not, we might have missed out on the opportunity to devour the Banana Tart Tatin alongside a few scoops of fig ice cream. This presentation was completed with a bourbon caramel, and not a bite was left. You might find yourself asking for more bread so you can lap up every last bit of this sinful treat’s remains. Partner this up with a Gran Manier Centenaire and you’re right where you need to be. You know the dessert routine. Order a few and everyone stabs at them, right? Well place the Carrot Spice Cake in the table’s center and see what happens. Laced with walnuts and brushed generously with a cream cheese ice cream, it’s a wonderful way to end.
Call Amber personally for your own tasting package, as superb wine dinners are available. She is all too ready to accommodate your large parties as well. So next time you think about ordering the #5 at your corner Chinese shop, get into a wilderness of flavor. American dining is finally getting itself back in touch with itself, and DeepWood’s menu is the proof.