Restaurant Review: Burgundy Room

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

March Madness brings April showers and April showers bring ... springtime menus! Thus restaurants that actually bother to acknowledge the world's turning are themselves turning to warmer-weather fare. In other words, it's a great time to scan for asparagus, peas and ramps in high-achieving local eateries.

I found all these things and more morel mushrooms than I had a right to eat at the price on the Burgundy Room's just-released list of seasonal gems. And every hot-off-the-press dish I sampled at this smart, wine-centric Short Norther delivered full-throttle flavors and is easily recommended. Some are even outstanding bargains, especially if you eat them (as I did) at the bar during happy hour, when tabs are slashed - slashed, I say! - in half. (The still-reasonable prices given below are undiscounted.)

A B-Room new addition that quickly drew my attention was their Asparagus Consomme ($6.50). It was a beefy-flavored broth with a blast of black pepper that held toothsome chunks of asparagus and a mini-treasure of morel mushroom pieces. Though I didn't pick up much of the menu-promised local ramps, I didn't much care owing to the lavish splurge of wonderful fungus.

Four big ravioli stuffed with smoked mozzarella ($10 - with a ricotta-like texture and basil grace notes) were topped with a terrific and colorful al dente little saute of chopped asparagus, cute fun-sized pattypan squash, baby zucchini and threads of radicchio. Making the dish really sing was an underlying rich and buttery madeira wine sauce.

The herb-roasted Half-Cornish Hen ($9) was a particularly excellent deal. Its tender and succulent meat was showcased by a crispy, herb-crusted skin. Gilding the lily were more of those magnificent woodsy morels, a sprinkling of sweet peas and a rich "onion jus."

A single Pan-Seared Scallop ($10) was perfectly singed and perched atop a marvelous mound of collard greens and a meaty hoppin' John (a black-eyed peas and rice melange). Delivering a righteous bang of tang was its Tabasco butter sauce.

Yet another unqualified new-menu winner was the Hickory Smoked Beef Brisket ($9). Sort of a small plate of backyard barbecue with a gussying-up Mexican spin, it had a mole-like Guajillo chile sauce, a slaw made with cilantro and stubby strands of cabbage, a slightly sweet potato pancake and tender, juicy, low-and-slow-cooked, smoke-scented brisket.

The Burgundy Room

641 N. High St., Short North

614-464-9463

Web: burgundyroom.net

Hours: 4-11 p.m. (bar until 2:30 a.m.) Sunday-Wednesday

4 p.m.-1 a.m. (bar until 2:30 a.m.) Thursday-Saturday

Happy Hour: 4-7 p.m. Sunday-Friday (bar only)

Have a favorite menu item you'd like to share with Alive? E-mail gbenton@columbusalive.com