Restaurant Review: Gallerie Bar & Bistro
Alright fancypants, let’s check out Gallerie Bar & Bistro. It’s the restaurant inside of the new downtown Hilton.
First, there’s the Gallerie/Gallery part. Throughout the hotel floor that houses the bistro, there are giant, gorgeous murals hanging on the walls. You don’t really see guests chilling out, ogling the art… but it’s worth some eye-time. The colorful masterpieces are scattered all over the place. An art conniseur would have something more intellectual to say about this collection. From a food-person’s perspective, it’s just super pretty.
Then there’s the Bar/Bistro part. It’s a funky hybrid between utilitarian and ritzy. Guests will find containers of sugar packets on the dining tables, and slide-y seats on the dining chairs: those could be the trappings of a down-home diner. Then again, bright white booth seating and asymmetrical vases of flowers on each table say “upscale”. It’s a quirky-cool mix.
The servers are not quirky at all. They’re pure professionals: friendly and polite, but not too chatty.
The menu makes that same bridge between fanciness and comfort. You can sort of see it right from the beginning with the Bistro Salad. If you’ve ever had a wilted lettuce salad, you recognize a concoction with some white trash roots. Wilted lettuce is actually a briny wonder that ties lettuce and hot bacon (and hot bacon grease) together with a simple vinaigrette.
So it’s cool that the Bistro Salad ($8) feels a little reminiscent of that old classic. True, the frissee upon which the hotel’s offering is based is relentlessly perky, but it’s also loaded with lardon (the best menu term ever used for thick-cut bacon: “lard-on”), sweet pickled onions, and a nice vinaigrette. There’s a poached egg too. Simple, yet fab.
For something a little greener, there’s the straight-up Mixed Greens Salad ($7). It’s a combo of mixed greens, almonds and a Dijon vinaigrette.
At lunch, there are sandwich options such as Croque Monsieur ($9). Again, it’s a comforting dish with three layers of thinly cut brioche piled high with ham and topped with a double-rich combo of béchamel and gruyere.
There’s also burgers. The lunch menu actually features two burgers, one is a $22 number: the Rossini Burger. It apparently involves foie gras, morbier cheese and truffle mayo. It could be that an ethical objection to force-fed-goose-liver-pate explains why the Rossini went un-tried. In reality, $22 seemed like an insane price for a burger, even for a lark.
So, for less adventurous pocketbooks, there is the reasonably priced Bistro Burger ($12). It’s got arugula for a fancy lettuce, and more of those pickled onions. At the end of the day, it’s a good burger.
For the fork-and-knife-crowd, Flatiron Steak Au Poive ($18) is a thoroughly pleasant option. It’s a generous, lean cut of tender steak. While it’s not quite the same as a dry-aged number, it’s a good steak. It came with a sauce (“congac veal jus”) and teeny cubes of potato hash, both elements made it more interesting.
You can check out the Gallerie Bar & Bistro at 401 N. High Street inside the Hilton hotel.
More information can be found online at www.hiltoncolumbusdowntown.com.
Photos by Mollie Lyman of www.fornixphotography.com.