Restaurant Review: Cameron's American Bistro

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants has hired one of two teams: it’s either the most convincing crew of thespians in the universe, or it’s the most sincerely caring waitstaff in world history.

It’s not easy to deal with the public. There are a million restaurant staffer blogs and discussion boards that detail the miseries of waiting on the masses of self-absorbed, self-important, self-righteous peoples.

And yet, in spite of the challenges, every staff member at the revamped Cameron’s American Bistro seems to care, and seems to care deeply about the dining experience. From the entrance to the exit, there are lots of sincere looks and heartfelt greetings. The team’s personal investment is disturbing, almost.

While the restaurant has been recently revamped and updated, the menu skews heavily towards old-school offerings. To wit, you can score calamari, crab cakes or filet mignon any day of the week.

Or Caesar Salad ($6), that’s a traditional place to start. The kitchen does it in classic style with crisp romaine decorated with croutons, parmesan and a nice dressing that has a pronounced lemon accent.

Less often seen is the Chop Chop Salad ($7). It’s a raucous combo that includes greens, asparagus, egg, bacon and gorgonzola. The fact that there’s bacon in event bite makes the mix quite substantial and quite good. Even if it’s ubiquitous, bacon is still a home run.

On the entree side of things, Cameron’s Walleye ($27) is a really nice thing to happen to a fish (outside the fact that it has to die in order to end up as an entree). Two thick fingers are stacked on the plate, the light and lush fish flesh is encrusted in a barely-there potatoey shell. It’s rounded out with crab meat, spinach and whipped potatoes. After decades of lumpy, smashed potatoes on local menus, the little puddle of silky smooth, whipped tubers feels revolutionary.

Or perhaps Frutti Di Mare ($21)? It’s fun to mispronounce and it offers entertainment and nourishment. Sitting atop a whirling nest of flat pasta is a treasure trove of sea things; there are labor-intensive little mussels, firm shrimp, a few scallops here and there, and wispy rolls of calamari. It’s all tied together with a pulpy marinara.

Cameron’s does a really nice job with seafood, but it isn’t trying to be the next Fish Market. The menu gives equal time to land creatures too. There’s plenty of steak, lamb, pork chops and (for the win) Dixie Pan Fried Chicken ($17): crackling outside, moist and juicy inside, and served with crushed potatoes and down-home chicken gravy.

Cameron’s American Bistro is up in the suburbs, so the dining crowd seems to skew a little older than the Cameron Mitchell joints at the city’s core. There is a kiddie menu too, for the other end of the dining age spectrum, the menu has offerings such as pizza and mac and cheese.

You can find the bistro at 2185 W. Dublin Granville Road. It’s open for dinner only: Mondays through Thursdays from 5pm until 10pm. On Fridays and Saturdays, it’s open until 11pm. And on Sundays, it closes at 9pm.

March 12, 2014
Miriam Bowers Abbot
Columbus Underground
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