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Restaurant Review: The Sycamore

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott Restaurant Review: The SycamorePhotos by Lauren Sega.
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Hello Sycamore, it’s been a while. A few years, since 2013, to be precise. The last official business meeting was for brunch, and that’s been tragically long discontinued, without any regard for the disappointment associated with the loss of some fine, fine chilaquiles and french toast.

Fine.

There is some consolation. The Sycamore is certainly still open and serving food after brunch hours (starting daily at 4 p.m.), and that’s actually a lot of consolation. All can be forgiven, as its commitment to excellence is evident in the evening hours too.

As a restarting point, the Sycamore menu can be described as eclectic. It’s hard to know if the joint is better categorized as sophisticated, or comforting. It has elements that fit both bills, with offerings that range from fussed-up deviled eggs, to poutine, to a salad made with “micro mirepoix.” That little list doesn’t even capture it, but the forthcoming words will perhaps shed more light on the subject

The house-made Guacamole ($8) is a reliable place to kick things off. It’s probably on the comforting end. Guacamole is generally good, and this version is gently seasoned without overwhelming the contributions of some natural avocado flavor. It’s teamed with a set of warm, crunchy, curling white corn chips.

While there are legitimate hand-held sandwiches on the menu (a Lobster Roll, for example), the Braised Ohio Beef Cheeks sandwich ($15) is somewhat closer to fork-food. It’s more like loaded fries, poutine-style, with the added bonus of a grilled sourdough base. As nice as that foundation is, the crowning glory comes on top: beef cheek meat. It’s soft, but not over-cooked-soft. Combined with the gravy and soft, melted cheddar curds, it makes for an unholy mess of goodness.

The Ahi Tuna ($31) is maybe something for the more refined palate. It’s a busy dish centered with positively velvety fish flesh. There’s a lot going on with kim chi and egg, and a distractingly thoughtful addition of mashed beets, ginger and wasabi. Beets, and their mild sweetness, make a shockingly good carrier of the extra flavors.

The Banana Tartlet ($9) is practically famous. But in spite of the fame and constant demand, there’s no evidence that the kitchen has grown weary of its creation. Carefully constructed, it is a large tart, but not grotesquely so. A smooth, sweet custard sits in a dense base built with ginger snaps with just a hint of saltiness that adds interest. The tart sits on swirls of chocolate sauce and is filled out royally with caramelized bananas and whipped cream. The results are luxurious pure pleasure in the taste department, with enough complexity to keep from finishing in seconds with one ugly, unruly binge.

Servers are gracious and professional. The bar is fully stocked with wine, a vast selection of Ohio beer, and some classic house cocktails. It’d be easy to stay a while and soak it all in. In a world where local restaurant favorites shift like the wind, The Sycamore found itself in the top 10 again last year as a CU reader favorite. There’s a reason for that. You’ll find it at 262 E. Sycamore St.

For more information, visit thesycamoregv.com.

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