Restaurant Review: Black Creek Bistro

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Last week I was informed via e-mail newsletter that Black Creek Bistro was releasing a stream of warmer-weather menu goodies, so I backstroked down to soak them in.

While visiting the always-fun farm-to-plate-oriented place, I was told their new entrees would soon be unveiled, but I could enjoy the retooled starters right away. So I did, and while I'd say they weren't exactly revolutionary, they still make light and lively seasonal meals when shared and wisely paired with Black Creek's fruit-graced salads.

Like the Summer Bistro Salad ($6). That pretty little mix of pristine farm lettuces derived depth and crunch from chopped walnuts and effectively counter-poised chunks of gorgonzola against the sweetness of sliced fresh strawberries and a balsamic dressing.

The equally good Tangerine Salad ($6) logically advanced its citrusy themed dressing with supremed segments of its eponymous fruit. Candied walnuts and dabs of goat cheese were added in sound proportions to add interest to, instead of overwhelm, the delicate lettuces.

More citrus arrived in the form of zest-strewn orange marmalade. The sprightly spread on crunchy bread was the sturdy bed for healthy-sized slices of decent-enough prosciutto in the new Urban Daddy Bruschetta appetizer ($8). It had that winning sweet and salty thing going on, and the four biggie servings made it substantial.

Black Creek's calamari fans will have to wait for that popular starter's reappearance later in the year, but in the meantime they can sate their seafood-loving palates on two Black Creek newbies: the pleasingly crackly tempura-battered Olde Towne Fried Shrimp ($9 for six not-too-greasy pieces) and Salmon Cakes ($8; you get two clean and almost sweet-tasting specimens speckled with veggies and crisply pan-fried - they're about the size of smallish pancakes).

I liked both of those fish dishes but wish more could be done with their garnishes. Abutting the salmon was a moist and warm mound of bland spinach which, like the undressed lettuces under the shrimp, contributed little but color.

Almost making up for that were the salmon's spicy, grainy mustard sauce (I dragged the homely spinach through it) and the shrimp's unnecessary but irresistible Tabasco-mayo dipping sauce.

Speaking of lily-gilding, I got two more muscular sauces with my big bowl of obviously handmade Bistro Fries ($6). Meaty and cooked to an attractive dark brown (though I would've preferred them a bit crisper), the spuds came with a super-rich truffled mayo and what I instantly recognized as one of my own go-to house condiments -ketchup and sriracha.

While they could benefit from some minor tweaking, with these brand-new starters Black Creek's new menu is off to a good start. I look forward to checking out the Bistro's new summery entrees in the very near future.

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Black Creek Bistro

53 Parsons Ave., Olde Towne East