Restaurant Review: Mozart’s Bakery and Piano Cafe
It’s been a good year to live in Beechwold. The neighborhood just North of Clintonville has never really been a hub of restaurant activity, but in recent months it’s become the home of both a new Wine Bistro and now Mozart’s.
Mozart’s moved into the new location in the middle of summer, leaving its old digs a few miles south in Clintonville. In making the move, the eatery consolidated its ice cream operation (Vienna Ice) and bakery-slash-cafe under one single palatial roof. The new spot is a stucco and brick stand-alone with a tile roof and fancy arches. It’s a castle on High Street.
Inside, the host (often the owner) greets guests and shows them to tables. In an age of fast-casual dining, it’s an appealingly traditional greeting. The diners are a mixed bag. There are hipsters, old people and families –representative of the neighborhood population.
The dining menu is expansive and interesting. You don’t see lots of schnitzel in local restaurants. While Columbus has lots of Mexican and Asian joints, Mozart’s European offerings are less often seen.
So, there’s lots of different ways to get your arms around this place. You can do a breakfast, you can zip in for ice cream, you can order a cake, or you can have a nice dinner. It can be lots of different things for lots of different guests.
So if, for example, the goal is to get a nice meal, the Beef Stroganoff ($13.95) is terrific. It’s based on chunks of lean beef and slices of mushroom stewed soft in a red wine demi glace -it makes a fragrant sauce that tastes like the holidays. The big mountain of protein is centered with a giant dollop of sour cream, which adds extra richness. Served with spatzle and some nice steamed vegetables, it’s a plate licker.
The Chicken Praprikash ($13.95) is decent too. It’s a chicken breast that’s simmered in an orangey-red paprika sauce. While some paprika dishes can be aggressive, the sauce has more of a briny flavor that teams divinely with mashed potatoes. The potatoes are fresh and little lumpy, so you can tell they’re made from scratch.
For something a little lighter or more informal, you can score a sandwich from the menu too -a Wiener Schnitzel sandwich (with a breaded veal or chicken cutlet) would be an authentic-ish option. The Mozart Salad ($10.95) is a great variant on a chef salad loading ham, turkey, and three types of cheeses onto some tender, fresh greens.
The dessert option are worth lots of discussion, because for many people, Mozart’s is first and foremost a bakery.
The entrance to the restaurant is lined with dessert cases that hold all sorts of pastries. And since the entrance is also the exit, there’s really no escaping the sweets.
As a whole, the sweet selection is quite fancy looking. Sometimes pretty things can be disappointing, but in the case of Mozart’s, the pretties are both lovely to look at AND consume. At least, that’s true of the ones sampled so far.
Because, truly, chocolate is always what’s for dessert, there were a couple of choices that have been just grand. Truffles are eyerollingly good. You can get 3 for $6.99 –each has its own little “look”, but at base they’re all filled with a deep, strongly flavored chocolate that gives a would-be-binger pause.
It’s not surprising then that a slice of the Chocolate Truffle Cake ($4) would have that same chocolatey magic. It’s like those truffles, only with tender little layers of cake in between.
Pumpkin is not as lovable as chocolate. Still, it’s impossible to resist the call of a mini-Pumpkin Cheesecake ($3.95) decked out with a teeny pumpkin on top. Even someone who is not a raving seasonal pumpkin fan will appreciate the gourd in rich cheesecake version: not a crumb was left.
You can find Mozart’s at 4784 N. High Street.
More information can be found online at www.mozartscafe.com.
Photos by Mollie Lyman of www.fornixphotography.com.