Alana's Food and Wine started serving food from its rambling little North Campus house in 1999, which is the same year I arrived in Columbus. So I've always felt a kinship with this quirky place, an upscale restaurant with a decidedly laid-back feel. Chef Alana Shock works up new menus on a daily basis, changing the offerings to reflect the season and her own whim, always with a focus on local ingredients.
To celebrate the restaurant's 12th anniversary, Shock brought back 12 favorite dishes from over the years, each priced the same as they were their first appearance on the menu. And with the help of my two dining companions, we sampled eight of them during our Saturday dinner. It was a lovely evening. I only wish the light had been a little less low--made for fantastic ambiance but terrible photos.
For my entree, I went the adventurous route and opted for A Surprise, $21. What I got, pictured at top, was spaghetti with Bluescreek Farm sausage and shrimp. It was a tangle of pasta, tomato sauce, seared sausage chunks and big pink shrimp--comfort food in the best kind of way.
Here's what else my table tried:
SOUPS Dilled Cucumber Chardonnay Soup with Smoked Salmon, $3.95 (YUM) Grilled Tomatillo Gazpacho with Guacamole, $3.95
Dilled Zucchini Pancakes with Feta and Lemon Yogurt, $3.95. These crispy little guys were a crowd favorite.
Smoked Salmon Cheesecake with Green Onion Coulis, $3.95. The texture was definitely classic, creamy cheesecake, and the smoked salmon paired perfectly with that creamy cheese.
Fried Green Tomato Stack with chorizo, sweet corn, chihuahua cheese and enchilada sauce, $8. Not technically one of the 12-year specials, but terrific.
Mixed Greens Salad with Carrot Noodles, Sunflower Seeds and Golden Raisins tossed in a sherry vinaigrette, $4.95
A Petit Sweet Corn Risotto with Grilled Veggies, $15.95. So good! The corn flavor really shone through in the risotto.
The Mojo (love this menu description): A distinguished loaf of beef, pork and veal with smashed potatoes, lovely veggies and sassy sauce, $13.95. More delicious comfort food, but my photo came out so bad, I can't bring myself to share.
And here's a rundown of the rest of the 12-year specials (i.e. the dishes we somehow refrained from ordering): High Tech Black Bean Hummus in Avocado on Pepper Rouille with Mango Salsa, $4.95 Chicken B'Steeya with Almonds and Powdered Sugar, $5.95 Chop Salad of Crispy Lettuce with Blue Cheese, Bacon, Tomato, Avocado and Onions tossed in a Provocative Vinaigrette, $5.95 Vossler Shanghai Ribs with Fried Rice, $15.95