[Editor's Note] The restaurant business is notoriously fluid, rising and falling on the whims of a fickle public. But Alana's and Kihachi have bucked the tides, consistently remaining among the top Columbus restaurants for years. With both restaurants up for sale at press time, that may soon come to an end. Rather than exclude them both from this year's list, we're giving them a tie for the No. 10 spot. Maybe we're in denial.
Chef Alana Shock has announced her departure before, only to stay on. Who knows? Like her surprise entrees, she may yet have a trick up her sleeve. But the fact remains, Alana's days may be numbered in Columbus. We've been eating here for 17 years, and there are brand-new dishes, or at least new twists on old recipes, every single day. While almost everyone claims that their recipes are market-driven, Shock really lives it, with almost daily trips to the local farmer's market, butcher or favorite cheese vendor. Farmers and other purveyors she has worked with for years supply wondrously flavorful ingredients like heritage ducks, chicken and turkeys. And the food? It ranges from merely very good to outstanding-sometimes exceptionally so.
We love the wine pricing-at state minimum with a modest corkage fee. The wine selection, which is mostly husband and co-owner Kevin Bertschi's doing, is wide, with loads of fun Old World selections and bottles from small but excellent producers from all over the world.
The atmosphere is as causal and funky as ever, exemplified by the main dining room's collection of wacky Rick Borg paintings, and the service makes you feel at home. Selfishly, we hope Shock pulls her restaurant off the market.