This is not the first time I have been conflicted about a
restaurant. I had a really good time at the Blue Canyon in
Twinsburg. The more I think about it the more I believe that my
fondness has more to do with our companions than the
restaurant…don’t get me wrong…there were some outstanding things on
the plates. It just seems that on the whole, it might not live up to
expectations. The building sits atop a hill and is really immense.
There seem to be new rooms branching off in every direction and each
one is filled with people happily noshing away. The building has a
definitive western motif with rough hewn wood, substantial square
beams and antlers on most fixtures including the front doors. The
only problem is you feel like you are actually sitting at the table
next to you, everything feels very pressed-in and way too close.
The service was prompt, there appear to be about 1,100 employees,
and had a nice wacky but friendly touch to it. Upon our arrival we
met someone coming from the patio to the door who appeared to be a
very gracious gentleman. About thirty seconds after stepping inside
we saw his picture on the front of a magazine with the chef. So,
even the big-wigs make a big deal over greeting their guests.
Along with a bottle of very dusky and grapey
Pinot we ordered a trio of appetizers. Prior to the appetizers we
were delivered three versions of warm rolls that were served with a
very unique butter replacement. You might think oil and garlic or
pepper but no. This little dollop was a mix of pesto, cream cheese
and white beans. I saw the faces when it hit the table, not sounding
all that appetizing. None remained on the table once everyone had a
taste though…different, exactly what I was hoping for. The daily
special which was termed Dinosaur Bones which were Kobe beef ribs,
the lobster-crawfish-tomato bisque, and the cast iron cheese bake.
We did well with the apps.
Unique and Tasty Bread Spread of Pesto, Cream Cheese and White Beans
Stringy Kobe Ribs but Excellent Sauce, Unique and Delicious
The Bisque was Also an Example of The Spicy Twists from the Kitchen Working Very Well
Why You Ask??? Something Smells Yummy!
If You Like Cheese...
Deviously Wonderful and Piping Hot Salty Goodness
I told you there were some really good things
on the plates. The ribs were actually pretty stringy…I expect that’s
going to happen so close to the bone but you really miss the
lusciousness in the meat that Kobe promises. What really made the
dish was something that would confound me throughout the evening.
The place focuses on American classics with a twist. The twist on
the ribs was the sauce. Thick rich and with a serious twang that was
reminiscent of tamarind, it was unique and awesome. I only wish the
awesome was consistent. The bisque was a cut above the ribs since it
didn’t have the texture problem and featured another twist in spice
that lent a darker flavor profile to a rich soup that worked very
well. The killer of the three though had to be the cheese bake. A
simple mix of Asiago, Fontina and Goatcheese melted in a cast iron
skillet and served with crispy rounds of bread. Fatty, drippy,
stringy, salty awesome with a nice crunch. One of our Phd’d
companions described it as a genius way to make $12. I agree. It’s
way worth the $ as the three cheeses combine in a pleasing
harmonious tune that is everything you want cheese to be.
Perfectly Done Medallions of Beef Outshined the Sides by Far
Tender and Flavorful Shortrib, Same Sides
Surprisingly Mild and Delicious Elk...Revenge is Mine!
Large Chunks of Lobster (Old Fishy Lobster) In a Sauce that Failed to Snuff Out the Fishiness
But Did Manage to Make the Rest of the Dish Taste Far Less Than Stellar
The entrees arrived and this is where we started to see more
consistent flaws. We ordered three reddish meat dishes in which the
meats were almost perfectly prepared. The starches were fine but
really lacked depth and imagination for a place that commands these
kinds of prices. The whipped taters were standard. The veg du jour
was a green bean with sundried tomatoes. The tomatoes were a really
nice addition but the beans had barely seen any heat at all and were
like eating them out of a bag at the farmers market. The last thing
I have an interest in is baby food that started its life as green
beans but these went 180° in the other direction. If green has a
flavor it is these beans. The medallions of beef were perfectly rare
(as ordered) and tender. The beef shortribs were stupendously done.
Tender and scrumptious in a way that only braising can accomplish. I
ordered the daily game which turned out to be elk. These enormous
critters used to constantly give me threatening looks while I was
cooking at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim and one punched holes in the
passenger door of one of my line cooks. Vengeance is mine! I have
never tried elk before and found it to be something I would look for
again. A lighter touch of gaminess than lamb and done to a perfect
mid rare I knew those enormous furry beasts smelled delicious in
Arizona. I was right. Steph ordered the lobster mac and cheese and
this is where things went awry instead of simply missing the mark.
The twist in seasoning in this cast iron skillet ended up damaging
the dish instead of elevating it. Murky color/murky flavor that I
honestly wish had completely masked the flavor of the lobster. But
it could not, and this was the real disaster. The lobster emanated a
“fishy” taste which screams out NOT FRESH!!! which contaminated the
pasta, the cheese, the spinach, and the panko topping in the
skillet. Seriously disappointing.
Cobbler Was Better of Two, But Not Outstanding
Ho-Hum HoHo...Gimme Little Debbie Instead
We had no interest in ordering desserts until the dessert menus
arrived. It just sounded too good, even though we were all stuffed
between the apps and passing entrée plates. Of the options we
selected the HoHo
and the summer berry cobbler. Honestly, the menu sounds
significantly better than what shows up at the table. Our Dr. Cheese
expert from earlier reported that he could have bought the hoho at
Walmart and it would have been just as good. It also arrived with a
crème anglaise sauce that was darker than any I have ever seen which
failed to impress. A little better was the cobbler which was an
oatey, icecreamy, skillet, but again was far from the best I have
partaken in. The best way to sum up The Blue Canyon Restaurant for
me…It is a great building. It has some exemplary offerings.
But for the number on the check at the end of the night…there are
numerous places that will voraciously attend to every detail to
ensure your satisfaction. They haven’t quite managed that at the
|Bisque/Cheese/Red Meats||Lobster Mac & PUH-LEASE|