The Barn at Rocky Creek

Nothing is better than working hard during the week and going out for a date with the hubby. We wanted to try a place we have only been to once, The Barn at Rocky Creek. It is located close to the heart of downtown Gahanna, Ohio.

We made a reservation, but our table was not quite ready upon arrival. We moseyed over to the bar area for a drink. The interior of the barn is all wood and has a rustic feel. They have their own bourbon and specialize in liquor and have an extensive wine list. Because of this fantastic wine list, they won the 2017 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.

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I chose the Sequoia Grove from Napa Valley. You can read more about it in my wine section here!

It was a little over 30 minutes since we arrived for our reservation, so we went to check on our table. We were told they didn’t see us. Not going to lie, I was a bit annoyed. I think that is why many restaurants have text messaging to contact people for reservations. No one even mentioned that they were sorry that the table was late or even acknowledged that the situation occurred. We weren’t starving and were just relaxing at the bar, but I felt like it should have been acknowledged with, at the very least, an apology. Anyways, we were seated at a wooden table booth in their main dining room. My only other initial complaint is that the table was set for 4 people when we were only two. My husband felt like it was ridiculous that it bothered me, but it felt weird sitting next to a place of silverware with a plate, a water glass, a wine glass, a napkin, a knife, a spoon, and a steak knife. We put it in a stack at the side of the table. I thought it was weird no one picked it up the entire meal, but I digress.

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The circle lights in the ceiling give a nice warm glow. It is a large space where you never feel crowded. The tables are nicely spaced apart and the noise level is just right. The atmosphere was nice and relaxing. You could be wearing a dress or you could wear jeans without feeling out of place.

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The tables had a nice western type lamp on the side of the booth.

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They have a few large pictures of barn animals, elegantly displayed on canvas.

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They brought us warm bread with warm maple butter. OMG. The maple butter is highly addictive and supremely good. I believe they put syrup in it and it is so very yummy.

The entrees arrived and my husband got a New York Strip, medium rare. I could never ha… I need at least medium, but he loves it. I think he will one day order rare… It is still moo-ing at that point! He ordered the mac and cheese and a side of their homemade steak sauce.

He LOVED the steak. He was speechless while he devoured his steak and shortly thereafter the mac and cheese as well.

I ordered the filet mignon. It was good, especially with their homemade steak sauce. It was tender and juicy, but not the best I have had. The sweet potato had a bit too much butter where it just tasted like butter, so I only had a few bites.

I really wanted to order dessert because I have heard from multiple sources that they have the best dessert. But, alas no space for dessert after filet.

Review

Service – 5

I was annoyed we had to wait 30 minutes when we had a reservation and it seemed like we would not have been told when our table was ready unless we asked. The server also made it feel more transaction based, than really caring about our experience.

Food Quality – 6

The bread and butter are really good. The filet was good, but not the best I have ever had. The potato was doused in butter. I feel like it was better the first time we went…

Price for Quality – 7

The entrees range from $16-46. I liked that you could choose a price range of really expensive (such as steak) or more affordable (such as the burger).

Atmosphere – 8

I liked the barn feel. I like the lights and the atmosphere does feel very relaxing. The noise level is just right to the point where you can have a conversation talking normally, but it is not dead quiet.

Overall Experience – 6

I feel like the first time we went it was better. I was disappointed in the service and the food quality. I had another friend who went once, but the second time did not enjoy the experience. Then went again and loved it. I think the Barn is a unique restaurant, but may not always be consistent with their quality or service.

-Elle

Wolf’s Ridge Brewing

We went to Wolf’s Ridge today and they have a pretty incredible brunch. The brewing scene has been heating up in Columbus for a while now. However, patrons are not just looking for great beer, they also expect exceptional food and great service. Wolf’s Ridge is all of these things and more.

The brewery entrance is proud with its bold name and logo and large windows letting light throughout the restaurant. Wolf’s Ridge opened in 2013 and quickly gained a following.

A few things that make Wolf Ridge different from every other brewery:

  • Donations
    • They offer a donation section on their site to have applicants apply for an event or the beneficiary. I thought this was unique for a brewery and something you do not even see most restaurants publicly share.
  • Wolf Pack Loyalty Club
    • They have a pretty neat loyalty club called the Wolf Pack. For $100 a year it includes a quite generous benefit package that includes 4 quarterly events for new releases (members only), 25% off growlers, custom shirts and glassware. Unfortunatley, they are already sold out for 2017-2018 as they only take 100 members per year.
  • Highly Awarded
    • For only being open for 5 years, they have a lot of accolades from #7 in the nation for best new craft beer from Draft Magazine to a host of awards for their beers. It is impressive what they have done in such a short period of time.

As you walk into Wolf’s Ridge, you step into a large open layout concept, The bar on the right side, the brewery located underground on the left side of the restaurant, and then a tap-room in the far back.

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It is open and welcoming, all while still being elegant and approachable. They were packed for Sunday brunch and were booked for reservations, so we waited at the bar area until a seat became available.

I ordered the ‘Bloody Maria’, which has El Espolon, Highland Park 12 year, house mix, is garnished with cherry tomato, mozzarella, & peperoncino, and served with beer back.

It is a nice mix of spicy and flavor and I love the little beer sample I get with it.

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Upon looking at the menu, it is not your traditional brunch list of sausage, eggs, pancakes etc. No, it is an adventure of all of the items you are used to, but created with different ingredients, flavor combinations, and plated in the way you should eat it in order to hit all the right notes.

The surprising  part of Wolf’s Ridge is that everyone feels at home. Looking around the room, you can see patrons that are young, old, dressed up in a suit, leggings, shorts, ball caps… Everyone just seems to feel comfortable in the space.

They have a tap-room in the back that opens for lunch and offers items at lower price points than the front of the restaurant. The tap room offers 20 rotating  house taps and happy hour from 2-7 Monday through Sunday.

We decided to try the Sugar Donuts to get started. They arrived with a side of a coffee cream dip sauce.

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They are coated in sugar, like little balls of snow and are slightly crispy on the outside from being double fried.

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When you bite into the center, it is slightly crispy, buttery, and yummy. I did find the sugar and double-fried nature of the outside to overtake the taste of the donut, but I imagine it would be fantastic after a night out with friends or if you are really hankering a sugary dessert.

I was only able to have a half of one and then our entrée arrived. We selected the Toad in the Hole, which is brioche cut out in a perfect circle, hiding a secret sunny side up egg from Copia Farms. It lies on a bed of applewood smoked bacon with a few fingerling potatoes and is encircled with a gravy like vinaigrette.

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The one component that really makes this dish are the sprouts that lay on top. The sprouts add a nice fresh pop in every bite.

The brioche with the egg inside is perfect and creamy and I liked swirling the brioche with a bit of egg in the gravy.

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The main course was fantastic and exciting in every bite. My husband and I split this dish, so the picture above is actually a half portion. I could only eat a half of the half 🙂

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My hushed kept saying in awe how great his meal was. It is a really good dish.

Review

Service – 7

There were a few people waiting and the host let them know the tap-room was open to eat. We were offered a drink list within 5 minutes of arriving and all of the food items came out promptly.

Food Quality – 8

The food quality is fresh from the farm. They strive to source local and you can taste the difference in even the smallest components (like the sprouts).

Price for Quality – 8

The brunch entrees range from $9-$19. The entrees are definitely large enough to split between two people.

Atmosphere – 9

I love that you can be in the front for more of an elegant vibe or the back tap-room for more of a chill vibe. It is a place to enjoy at any time with anyone.

Overall Experience – 8

Wolf’s Ridge is a great place to go and they have so many different experiences to offer. They have an amazing brunch, they have a great dinner (which we have yet not experienced), and they have a tap-room where you can simply relax with one of their excellent craft beers.

Where to find Wolf’s Ridge:

215 N 4th Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
614.429.3936
Reservations

Third & Hollywood

I had never heard of Third & Hollywood until a friend recently recommended it to my husband and I. Situated in Grandview and open since 2009, Third & Hollywood is right next door to the newly re-opened Grandview Cafe.

They have a small, but spacious layout. Upon entering inside, you feel relaxed and the space has a nice open door patio that gives light to the entire restaurant. The kitchen is situated on the left side of the restaurant in the back, but is not behind the scenes. It is all glass and makes you feel like you can see your food being made. In fact, if you are seated at one of the bar tables you likely could.

We were seated on their outside patio which was small, but awesome. The roof of the patio is curved and structured in a way that you could probably be out there if it was raining or in the fall and still feel comfortable. We had a little two top table and were quickly greeted with ice cold water. The server immediately came over and I think he was new as he was a bit nervous, but he was friendly and went through the specials of the day.

Upon looking at the menu it was nice and concise, but offers plenty of options for everyone. I am always relieved when there are less options because it typically means that the chefs practice those set items more often. This also means that the produce and dinner items are purchased more frequently, which aids in the chef’s understanding of their own menu (i.e. what type of tomato works best for the salad, etc). Large menus always scare me! I have no idea how some restaurants can have a 10 page list.

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They have daily features on their menu.  A mix of snacks, salads and entrees. They also have a decent craft beer list and a nice bottled wine list. Now, due to my love of wine, I was skeptical at first as they only offer one glass of wine by the glass in each section — Sparkling and Champagne, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chein Blanc, Pinot Noir, Rose, Merlot, Italian, Syrah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and additional ‘more whites’ and ‘more reds’ sections. Thankfully, one of the glasses of wine offered was Smith & Hook’s 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon. Produced from the Hahn family in Soledad, California it has all the flavor to make an excellent full body red with notes of mocha, toasted oak, licorice, vanilla, coffee and black currant. It was soooo good. I think a good glass of wine can make or break a meal and this definitely enhanced the entire meal experience.

We wanted to try what they seem to be known for, their Iron Skillet of Cheddar Herb Biscuits. You have the option for a full skillet or half — being just two of us and trying to keep with the “slim for summer” mentality, we went with the half skillet. OMG guys, it was too yummy! If the pics don’t make you want to eat them, then I am not sure what would. They were so photogenic too… Cheesy and delicious in all its glory.

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They were fluffy, handmade little pieces of goodness that just melted in your mouth. They were the perfect start to the meal and came to the table piping hot. They offer these little nuggets of deliciousness for free during their happy hour Monday through Friday from 5-6. Unfortunately, we would never make that as we work downtown, but not a bad deal at all.

The ambience so far by this point consisted of a nice level of chatter and excited conversation amongst tables, but not the dreaded, “I care so much about you and want to hear you, but I am too distracted by all the other conversations and noise to focus”, as you can experience elsewhere. It also likely helped being outside to carry sound, but we felt the whole time that we were having our own meal and in our own little table world.

The entrees arrived and they were very impressive. I ordered the Seared Tuna with Chopped Vegetables. The tuna was #1 sushi grade. As much as I love sushi, I was not aware that there were grades. A quick Google search told me that the grade basically consists of a rating for fish by wholesaler and a grade of 1 means it could be eaten as sushi. So enough education, below is my meal pic. The side was a mix of asparagus, avocados, tomatoes and a vinaigrette dressing. I found the vinaigrette a bit heavy, but the combination of the asparagus and avocado was delicious.

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I wanted to share both pictures as the top one really shows the side dish, but the bottom really speaks to the quality of the tuna. The tuna had a nice smoky and peppery covering on each piece. It almost melted in your mouth, it was REALLY good.

The server offered us a few dessert specials, which while sounding pretty good (Chocolate Pudding or Strawberry Shortcake), we felt we had indulged enough for one meal.

I am going to try to use the below rating scale for each review to help with consistency. It will be based on a 1 (Not Good at All) to 10 (Exceptional) scale…

*Service – 6

I am giving service a 6 because our server was nice, but sometimes forgot to take away glasses or ask if we wanted another drink.

*Food Quality – 9

The food quality was pretty darn impressive and that should be no surprise considering the list of local growers and producers that they use. It really shows in the quality of the food and I love supporting local businesses.

*Price for Quality – 9

I think the price points paired well with the quality. I felt like the cost was worth the quality of the food and drinks.

*Atmosphere – 8

I think the atmosphere was relaxing and had a nice open air feeling. I would like to try it on a fall day later this year.

*Overall Experience – 8

Third & Hollywood is a great place to go and try. We will definitely go back and try more of their menu offerings or featured entrees. The quality of the food is definitely there and worth trying.

Where to find Third & Hollywood:

1433 West Third Ave.,
Grandview Heights, OH 43212
614.488.0303
Reservations

**P.S. A great stop following dinner is Grandview Cafe for an after dinner drink!

Drink. Eat. Wander.

Hi! I am a sales manager by day and an adventure-travel loving-food writer at night. I love finding unique spots to eat and taking pictures that capture the essence of the location.

After traveling for a bit and experiencing amazing meals from the popular restaurants to the small local restaurant I found that you should not judge a book by its cover. There are a ton of exceptional places to eat that may not always look the best on the outside. Every restaurant has their own story and handcrafted food to share. I want to share my experiences with all of you and maybe you will want to try one of them too:)

This is my first blog and I am very excited to enter into the blog world. I have an amazing husband and two little fur children, a little sheltie and a lab and shepherd mix. I live in Ohio and have a horrible wanderlust to travel. I love to paint, write birthday poems for friends and family, cook and try new recipes and am working on becoming a sommelier. Thanks for reading and let’s have some fun adventures together!

-Elle