I’ve had the distinct pleasure of dining at The Refectory a handful of times. Each time, I find something new and wonderful that I hadn’t seen before. This is one of those places where you are surrounded by good service. Someone folds your napkin on your lap, then if you leave the table, another waiter rushes over to refold it like a fan and places it back on the table. Someone brushes the crumbs up from in front of you between each meal, and no water glass stays more than half empty at any given time. I absolutely love coming to The Refectory with my loved ones. It is a perfect symphony of a meal, well orchestrated from first bite to last.
Overall: 4.8 out of 5
Food/Beverage: 4.9 out of 5
Ambiance: 4.9 out of 5
Value: 5 out of 5
Service: 4.5 out of 5
I missed Columbus, Ohio’s restaurant week by 2 days. What a bummer, to come on this journey just a day or two late and miss an entire week of $30 three course meals. To my delight, my favorite restaurant extended their restaurant week by an additional week! So we were able to dine at The Refectory and not spend our entire budget for the week.
The Refectory was built as a church in the 1800s and became what it is today sometime during the 1980s. The interior walls are brick and old wood lines the ceilings. The high back chairs are very comfortable, and with the dim lighting it lends itself to a very intimate setting for any occasion. I typically go with my ladies on my quarterly trips back to Columbus and it suits us well too.
We began our evening at the bar, with the talented Joseph assisting us through the cocktails portion of the night. He was charming, knowledgable and was able to anticipate our needs prior to the request. At one point, I was about to joke that he should give us a free bourbon tasting just as he placed two glasses of his own infused bourbon in front of us. It was bacon infused, which was interesting but a little greasy. They use it in a very interesting sounding drink.
We started with an old fashioned (I’m not sure of the price, we ordered it with Blanton’s instead of the regular bourbon offered). He muddled our drinks to heavenly perfection.
We had been debating between two appetizers while we sat, and ended up ordering the escargot terrine ($16). The taste is as delicious as the presentation. This terrine is packed with mushrooms, escargot, garlic and parsley butter.
As we were seated, the amazing Joseph brought us the goat cheese appetizer we had been eyeing before.
This delicious treat was Ohio local goat cheese surrounded by red and golden beets, olive oil and chives ($11). It was perfect on top of the delicious bread they bring to your table.
We each ordered from the restaurant week menu. The offerings were many, and the portions were more than enough to fill us up. This menu is $35 for 3 courses and includes meat, fish and vegetarian options as well as a special chef offering that you can pay a little extra to enjoy. I did.
My first course was a quail, alpaca and boudin noir terrine. It was surrounded by lovely dollops of mayonnaise and cherries. The flavor was outstanding and it was unlike anything I’ve ever tried before.
Two of the dinner guests sitting with me ordered the classic caesar salad. It had a great amount of dressing and wonderful home made croutons.
The other guest ordered the seasonal soup. It was a creamy mushroom soup made with fresh cheese and herbs from their garden. She ate it up very quickly and raved about the flavor.
For my second course, I went with the chef selection rack of lamb. The chops were cooked to medium rare and were perfect! So juicy and tender, with a delicious sundried tomato caper jus and amazingly smooth mashed potatoes.
My lady friend to my right ordered the pork chop. It was bourbon brined and served with a smoked bacon bordelaise. The sauce was fantastic and the cook on the pork chop was just perfect.
Lady number 3 ordered the pan seared salmon “cotelette” served with mushroom ravioli and a basil vin blanc sauce. The fish was outstandingly well prepared! Crispy on the outside, not overcooked. The only down side was that it was supposed to be served with lobster ravioli, which they did not have that evening.
Our other dinner companion ordered the smoked paprika marinated shoulder tenderloin. While the meat was well cooked and the sauce was fantastic, the smoky flavor overwhelmed the entire dish. She shared large portions with us all and still had a lot left on her plate. This dish was the reason we rated at a 4.9 instead of 5.
For dessert, three of us went with the creme brûlée. This is my favorite dessert at the restaurant. The chef prepares it from a recipe he learned from Paul Bocuse, who is supposed to be one of the fathers of the dessert. The sugary topping is perfectly crisped and the inside is creamy and delicious.
The final dessert ordered was the berries feuillete. This was a berry dessert made with creme angalise and raspberry coulis. It was delicious.
During the course of the dinner, we were surrounded by support from wait staff. At times, it was a little overwhelming and made us feel like we were being watched. Most of the time, it made me feel special and well taken care of. If you are in Columbus Ohio and have time to stop somewhere for dinner, go in…try to snag a spot at the bar, order a drink and a meal from their bistro menu. You will not be disappointed.