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Columbus, OH: the Refectory

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Columbus, OH: the Refectory

Jim Holmes | Oct 13, 2002 10:08 AM

Some time back, someone on this board posted a recommendation for the Refectory in NW Columbus, OH. My wife, daughter and I ate there last night and I wanted to pass on a "Thanks!" to whoever it was that posted the note. I thought I'd also write a short note about our dining experience there in case anyone else was interested.

The Refectory is indeed a terrific place to eat if you're looking for a fancy evening out. The wine list is extremely broad, if a bit oddly organized. Most of the wines are about three times retail, a bit high IMO, and the splits (half-bottles) were borderline outrageous pricewise. Still, there are a some nice finds if you dig around. We had a lovely Andrew Will merlot from Washington state, something I wouldn't have expected to find on a midwest wine menu.

Fans of Champagne or other sparkling wines will be *very* excited by the **large** number of small producer Champagne houses on the wine list. A good list at any other restaurant might have one or two, perhaps four small houses. The Refectory's small producer list was an entire page and had perhaps ten or more producers!

The food is extremely well-prepared and the service is terrific. We split a lovely lobster gateau as an appetizer, then moved on to mushroom soup, ostrich and pork loin for our mains. The gateau's terrific lobster was wrapped in a slightly overpowering piece of smoked salmon, but it was still a great dish. The mushroom soup was flat out terrific, and our meat dishes were done to perfection. The garnishes (risotto-like timbale, potato pancakes, fans of blanched zucchini, etc.) were as good to eat as they were to look at.

In place of dessert we shared a cheese platter of six cheeses; one chevre and five cow's milk. This platter's selection was some of the best cheese we've had anywhere -- and we've been spoiled rotten after having lived in Europe for four years.

Perhaps the best part of the evening was that they're *extremely* receptive to young children. I was concerned when I called for reservations, asked about dress and found that most men wear coat and tie. Such places usually aren't overly excited about having two year olds in their dining room, but the receptionist I spoke with was emphatic that our daughter would be welcome. Our waiter was quietly playful with our little girl, even kneeling down to cheerfully peek at her when she decided to slip under the booth for a moment.

Dinner at the Refectory isn't cheap, but it's well worth the service and quality of food you get. Appetizers run $10 - $15, salads were somewhere in the same price range I think, and mains were all $22 - $32. These prices are spot on considering the excellent food and service. My wife and I live in the Dayton area, so we'll definitely be returning to the Refectory, possibly for a few of their special wine tasting events.

Again, thanks to whoever posted the note on this fine place!

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