October 2008 Issue
Short Story Brasserie
You can’t visit Granville without becoming at least a little smitten. Home to Ohio landmarks such as the Granville and Buxton inns and the prestigious Denison University, this town of 3,200 houses more charm per square mile than a Dickens holiday village.
So it’s not surprising that a smart dining concept like the Short Story Brasserie would turn up here. The restaurant is cozy, clever and creative and the kind of place you plan to return to — much like the town.
The nightly menu reads like a book, beginning with the “Foreward,” which gives diners a brief narrative from owner James Housteau. Housteau credits the stories of Ernest Hemingway for fostering his passion for food, wine and travel, and the restaurant is a culinary tribute to the legendary writer and his adventures. Paintings of Key West and a portrait of Hemingway hang in the dining room, appropriate surroundings as you make your way through the “Prelude” (a list of aperitifs), the “Introduction” (a short list of appetizers and bread plates), and several short pages of hot and cold small plates, entrees and desserts, before ending with the “Index,” also known as the wine list.
Housteau says he hopes to explore cuisine in the same way that Hemingway brought the sight, sounds and flavors of the world to his readers, and global influences such as jerk seasoning, truffles and spicy rice noodles show he’s a man of his word. Diners can easily make a meal of small-plate selections such as lobster gazpacho, plantain-crusted tuna with pineapple salsa or lamb tenderloin with Merguez sausage, ratatouille and tapenade jus. But large plates of seared scallops, a Bolognese of braised short ribs or the bone-in double ribeye (definitely enough for two), and the “Denouement” menu of artfully presented desserts are worth exploring.
Central Ohio diners (or dining enthusiasts from other parts of the state willing to travel for a great meal) might take note that the front and back of the house staff include a seasoned chef and general manager, both of whom spent time at The Refectory — a restaurant that continues to be the gold standard for local dining experiences. Your experience will reflect their professionalism.
After dinner, pop in downstairs for a nightcap at the Wine Cache, a wine store/bar where you can order glass pours or flights (a small pour of four different wines) from around the world. We’re sure Mr. Hemingway would approve.