The new head chefs at The Crest in Clintonville have released perhaps their most ambitious menu yet, shifting the offerings from more traditional pub-style to seasonal share plates. Regulars likely won't recognize much on the pared down list that includes roughly a dozen small plates, plus a few salads, burgers and entrees.
The new head chefs at The Crest in Clintonville have released perhaps their most ambitious menu yet, shifting the offerings from more traditional pub-style dishes to seasonal shared plates. The pared down list includes roughly a dozen small plates, plus a few salads, burgers and entrees.
The new Crest, slated to open late spring on Parsons Avenue near Nationwide Children's Hospital, will take this same local and shareable approach to food, but few dishes will be served in both spots.
The Clintonville Crest menu is designed to be interactive, says co-chef Justin Wotring. "We want to create that style of eating where you don't have 'your dish,' but instead get to share with everybody at the table and try different things," he says. "It makes for a whole different experience."
"We are trying to make it more of a gastropub, not pub fare," says co-chef Julian Menaged, adding they want the food to match the exceptional beer program for which they are known. "We want people to look forward to menu changes. We want diners to have a relationship with the chefs."
Three chefs-Menaged, Wotring and John Fuller-share equal duties across A&R Creative's properties, which include The Crest, The Market Italian Village, Alchemy and Ethyl & Tank. The trio met while working for The Refectory's chef Richard Blondin, who has a reputation for running a strong teaching kitchen rooted in classical techniques.
A quick look at some new dishes and their inspiration:
Caramelized Halloumi ($12) with farm fresh honey, honeycomb, bee pollen and micro greens
The idea started as a conversation about bee pollen. "And then I said let's do bees three ways," Menaged says. From there, the small plate morphed into a cheese dish with mild halloumi cheese griddled until crisp on the outside topped with pollen infused with raw sugar for an extra touch of sweetness. The result is a sweet-savory balance.
Spelt Pasta ($16) with Shagbark spelt pasta, romanesco, leeks and black garlic and tarragon cream sauce
"We take fermented garlic, make a cream sauce and finish it with tarragon," Menaged explains. "We then saute blanched romanesco, which is a cauliflower-broccoli hybrid, and that adds a nice, crisp finish. The black garlic has a jammy but sweet dark perfume-y flavor."
Crispy Tofu ($12) with sliced chilies and ginger vinaigrette
Tofu became an integral part of the menu as the chefs looked to replace the cumin-laden falafel once served at The Crest. This shared plate features chunks of tofu battered with corn starch and deep fried. "The same way you'd brine your chicken, we brine our tofu," Menaged says. "The same technique we use with protein dishes, we use on vegetarian ingredients as well." It's finished with pleasantly biting ginger vinaigrette.
Asparagus and Ham ($10) with citrus vinaigrette, Leoncini smoked ham, artichokes, toasted pine nuts and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano
This light and bright shared plate features blanched and grilled white and green asparagus. "It's just one of those simple things where you can take a few ingredients, good execution and make it taste great," Josh says. "It's simple, clean and goes with the season."