Last night after the Symphony performance we headed back to German Village for some noshing at G. Michael’s, the terrific bistro located within a few blocks of our new home. We wanted to sample some of their “small plates” — which seemed like a wise option, as opposed to a full-blown meal, after 10 p.m. on a Friday night.
Guess what? The G. Michael’s “small plates” aren’t in fact, very small . . . but they are incredibly tasty. Kish and the CCC each got the shrimp and grits, which is one of the bistro’s signature dishes, and shared a side of brussel sprouts and couldn’t finish it all. I got the housemade sausage stuffed strudel, with low country red beans and pepper jam, pictured above, which was both huge and fantastic, with a very pleasant spicy kick that more than held its own against a good glass of red wine. I ate every bit of it.
At the end of the meal our great waitress gave us good news and bad news. The bad news is that the G. Michael’s autumn menu will be ending in a week or so, and the excellent sausage strudel will be cycling off the carte. (Noooooo!!!!!) The good news is that the talented chefs at G. Michael’s no doubt have already created new, equally tasty concoctions to replace it — well, in a manner of speaking — on the menu.
Incidentally, the late-evening dining ambiance at G. Michael’s is very enjoyable. We got there as most of the supper crowd was clearing out, and we enjoyed sitting in the quiet, candlelit, white tablecloth-topped dining room, listening to some mellow jazz selections on the sound system and hearing the clink of glasses as the bartenders prepared to close up shop while we finished our drinks and dessert. It’s another reason why G. Michael’s is one of Columbus’ very best restaurants.
Milanov technically is Music Director Designee — his four-year contract as Music Director begins in the 2015-16 season — but last night’s performance suggests he is already very much in charge. With a contagiously enthusiastic demeanor, a demonstrative conducting style, and a very cool looking quasi-Nehru jacket, Milanov led the CSO through a selection by Edward Elgar that he described as a personal favorite, a new cello concerto by Mason Bates that the Columbus Symphony helped commission and that featured some terrific playing by the talented Joshua Roman, and finally Saint-Saens’ excellent and moving Organ Symphony. Roman also unexpectedly treated us to the sublime Prelude to Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 as a kind of personal encore after the Bates concerto was concluded.
It was a very enjoyable program and drew a pretty good Friday night crowd, even though the announced playlist didn’t include any of the big-name composers, like Mozart and Beethoven, who typically fill the seats. It also reminded me that, as enjoyable as classical music is on an iPod or a CD, there is nothing quite like watching a full orchestra playing in unison and experienced, and relishing, the powerful sound it produces. Kish and I decided that we need to come back to another Symphony concert soon, and we’re betting that Maestro Milanov will make our next visit an equally enjoyable one.