18 February 2010


DeepWood is a highly-touted Columbus restaurant that I had not yet sampled before yesterday. The lunch menu allowed me an opportunity to experience DeepWood and its vegetarian fare without breaking the bank.

DeepWood is captained by Brian Pawlak, a chef with an impressive pedigree consisting of stints in New Jersey, Boston, New York and Ohio. Pawlak applies his skills to a menu that offers many options for vegetarians.

The dinner menu one-ups my favorite restaurant characteristic: instead of marking vegetarian choices on the menu, DeepWood actually features a separate vegetarian menu! Vegetarian symbols on a menu make me happy; a separate vegetarian menu actually brings a tear to my eye because I get so ecstatic.

My starter was mozzarella-stuffed saffron risotto fritters. They were served with a smoked paprika aioli dip, adding a deep charred flavor that made the cheesy fried puffs sing with flavor. The fritters were absolutely dynamic.

My entree was gnocchi with roasted mushrooms, spinach and pumpkin in a brown butter sage sauce. The gnocchi were soft, and they picked up subtle nuances of the vegetables as well as the herbal undertones of the seasoning. The pumpkin adds an understated sweetness to the pasta. The dish is delicious.

Other vegetarian options on the lunch menu include the house salad and the vegetable sandwich, which is made with mushrooms, roasted peppers, arugala and goat cheese topped with a balsamic reduction. The soup of the day was a vegetarian pumpkin cream soup.

The bread basket was outstanding. The pistachio date bread was more savory than I expected it to be on first inspection. The sesame- and poppy-seed encrusted lavash bread was also delightful.

The staff was attentive and capable. The server was excellent at addressing vegetarian concerns, and he stated that DeepWood was able to cater to diners with vegan and gluten-restricted needs in addition to those who are vegetarians.

In addition to the lunch and dinner menus, DeepWood also offers a tavern menu. The tavern menu is mainly aimed at those dining at the bar or in the lower-key front room.

The by-the-glass wine list features an interesting array of selections from the Old and New World. The bottle selections are not encyclopedic, but the list is made up of enough interesting selections to keep the beverage selection fun. The beer selections are equally interesting, with choice options like J.W. Lee's Lagauvulin Cask Ale in bottles and Founder's Breakfast Stout on tap. There are also numerous cocktail options at DeepWood.

The restaurant's decor is beautiful. The dining room is designed like a forest, with wooded imagery marking the tables, the walls and the ceiling of the restaurant.

Overall, prices at DeepWood are expensive. Considering the quality of the experience, however, the cost is worth it. The lunch and tavern menus are noticeably cheaper than the dinner menu.

The hype about DeepWood is well deserved. Considering its commitment to vegetarianism, DeepWood should give meatless gourmands another destination in Columbus in addition to Dragonfly and Alana's.


DeepWood on Urbanspoon

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