Weiland's Gourmet Market

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The reasons to love Weiland's Gourmet Market are legion. It's a great, independent and locally owned specialty grocery store stocked with all kinds of tempting high-grade products from all over the world - and Ohio.

Weiland's is also a terrific wine shop that conducts informative and damn cheap in-store weekend tastings from its more than 1,500 labels. Additionally, it's a terrific outlet for premium beers (and does weekend suds tastings, too) and liquor; its butcher shop is justly famous (Weiland's started out as a meat specialist 50 years ago); and the place is rife with HRM-type, ready-to-eat prepared food options. On top of all this, Weiland's is a refreshing throwback in terms of personable customer service and the uncommonly knowledgeable staff working throughout its many departments.

OK, you might know most of that. But were you aware that on Saturdays Weiland's expertly smokes a boatload of meats and fishes out in its parking lot? Well, it does, and let me tell you, walking around there on wood-smoke-scented Saturdays when food samples are plentiful and wine and beer sips are available is like attending a big party while getting your shopping in, too.

Here's a variety pack sampling of some of Weiland's house-smoked goodies.

• Scallops These come from an "environmentally responsible" Peruvian scallop farm that uses alternate fuels. Do-gooder talk aside, they're like oceanic candy. Gumdrop-sized, they have a gentle and fun little chew to them, and their fruity-sweet, soy-based marinade has a faint hint of chili.

• Salmon Fantastic. This fatty fish was the most tender, juicy and succulent smoky seafood I tried at Weiland's. Highly recommended.

• Wild Whitefish The mildest of the seafood I tried, it's a real chicken-of-the-sea type thing that even unadventurous kids might like.

• Ruby Trout Salty and sweet, it was a 'tweener, not as bold as the salmon, not as mild as the whitefish.

• Leg of Lamb While mine was a tad dry, it was plenty tender and had a kicky herb presence (mostly rosemary) that complemented the super flavorful meat

• Pork Loin This was like a twofer - it was hammy, reddish and smokier on the rim and lean, really juicy and pork roasty in the interior: A real knockout.

• Beef Brisket A triumph. It was fall-apart tender, and if a bit less smoky than the lamb and pork, it was certainly intensely beefy. Note: Ask for it "juicy" and it'll be swimming in addictive meat sauce.

• Ribs Biggish, pretty meaty, tender and with a nice smoke ring and gentle "bark." Comes with a very good sweet and tangy barbecue sauce.

Smoke up:

Weiland's Gourmet Market

3600 Indianola Ave., Clintonville