Handke's has long been a destination restaurant in Columbus. I haven't eaten at Handke's since Chef Asa Rodriguez took over the kitchen from former captain Hartmut Handke. Throw in the benefit of the $30 restaurant week menu, and it's a hard proposition to resist.
The atmosphere at Handke's is stunning. The dining area is an old beer cellar with stone walls. The service is prompt, attentive and friendly.
The cocktails were interesting. The signature martini is actually an absinthe cocktail. The wine list features many old and new world selections at a variety of price points. By-the-glass selections include the delicious Heitz Cellars Zinfandel and Cuvaison Carneros Pinot Noir, as well as a Schloss Zell Spatlese.
My first course was a cream of white asparagus soup. The soup was reminiscent of a potato cream with layers of asparagus, green herbs and black pepper. It was outstanding.
My main course was gnocchi plated with grilled zucchini, squash and cherry tomato in olive oil and basil. The flavors were perfectly understated and strikingly delicious.
The desserts were also great. I had the fresh raspberries, strawberries and blueberries in a tuille basket with a chilled zabaione. The clean flavor of the basket coupled with the bright fruit flavors and the richness of the zabione combine into the perfect conclusion of a great meal.
Handke's is still operating in top form. The restaurant week festivities should give people a chance to try places like Handke's even if it might normally be out of their price range. This is definitely well worth the price of admission.