Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cameron's American Bistro (Columbus, OH)

(Photo courtesy of restaurant website)

Much like my first visit to Sage American Bistro, Cameron's American Bistro (CAB) failed to impress during my first dining experience. However, I was willing to give CAB a second chance and was quite happy I did, as I felt that the menu was more diverse this time around and the dishes more satisfying.

My mother and I came in sans reservation. For 5pm, it was okay. Any later and I would highly suggest making reservations as folks were streaming in at a rapid pace. Admittedly, I was probably the youngest amongst the dining crowd and I vaguely recalled it being the case when I first came in a few years ago as well. We were momentarily greeted by our polite but overly-formal waitress and waters were immediately brought to our table. Bread and butter was also brought to our table and I noted that that too had not changed. Freshly baked sourdough bread with butter and a whole head of roasted garlic -- both for spreading purposes. While I found the butter to be remarkably boring, I happily took advantage of the garlic spread and requested a second bread basket even before our entrees had arrived.

Unbeknownst to both my mother and I, it would be an evening of Southern cooking. To start, we ordered the Goat Cheese Beignets appetizer, which was finished with tomato coulis, aged ricotta, and basil oil. These morsels of deliciouness proved to be hearty and filling despite their seemingly small sizes. The delicate and mildly pungent goat cheese blended quite nicely with the piquant tomato coulis and basil oil.

For our mains, I opted for the Low Country Shrimp and Grits, while my mom decided on the daily special of Seared Scallops. Eight plump and juicy shrimp were found on my plate in addition to goat cheese grits and broccolini. Goat cheese seems to be the prevailing theme here at CAB. The shrimp were sweet, meaty, and most importantly, flavorful. The natural flavor of the prawns were definitely brought out in the preparation of the entree. The grits, however, were a bit disappointing as they were bland, with the goat cheese adding a somewhat creamy accent.

Passing on desserts is unheard of in my book, so we decided to share the New Orleans Bread Pudding. Quite frankly, aside from the name, there was nothing Southern about this dessert. In fact, I found this sugary concoction to be rather plain. While the Vanilla Bean Anglaise and Raspberry Coulis blended harmoniously with the actual bread pudding, neither delivered the 'oomph' that would have made this dessert a memorable one.

All in all, my return to CAB, while better than the first, proved to be a-okay. While it wasn't entirely a 3-star experience, it wasn't a 4-star either. There were clearly hits and misses in the presentations. Seeing that it was Cameron Mitchell's first restaurant, I am a bit dismayed that CAB still lacks that 'wow factor.' There is still room for improvements here, but I'll still venture back if ever family or friends suggest coming here one day for dinner.

Rating: ***

Cameron's American Bistro
2185 W Dublin Granville Rd
Columbus, OH 43085
(614) 885-3663

Cameron's American Bistro on Urbanspoon

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