A HIP NIGHT OUT FOR DINNER doesn’t have to mean Tremont or Ohio City when Bainbridge’s Crumb and Spigot is in the mix. Sitting in chef Karen Gorman’s mellow-lit, cozy 50-seat tavern, we feel like we’re part of some in-the-know foodie crowd. “We wanted a cool place where we would hang out,” she says. “There was nothing like that in that area. It’s hard to find in a lot of suburbs.” But Gorman’s menu of simple, flavorful tavern must-haves is the real payoff for the journey eastward. From 12 wood-fired pizzas such as the salty, sweet and savory Speck ($16) with smoked prosciutto, pineapple and pickled jalapeno to the tender bar steak ($21) with a tangy whiskey mustard and mushroom pan sauce, each bite is memorable. “I wanted to keep it simple,” Gorman says. “Good food doesn’t have to be complicated.” But even the menu’s foray into unfamiliar territory — such as the brat burger ($13) — are unforgettable. Using a house-made mix of beef and smoked pork bratwurst, the meaty burger gets a dose of funkiness from the manchego cheese and bitterness from arugula. “It’s full of flavors you’ve never had,” Gorman says. “I don’t think we could ever take it off the menu.”
DON’T MISS: The beer board ($13) is the snack bag of our grown-up dreams with a soft pretzel, house-made jerky, Bavarian cheese dip, pickled egg and bar nuts. MIX UP: Get your blood boiling with the Buttermaker ($12), a smooth-drinking, boozy combination of Maker’s Mark and your choice of on-tap India pale ale. 16783 Chillicothe Road, Bainbridge, 440-384-3035, crumbandspigot.com
A HIP NIGHT OUT FOR DINNER doesn’t have to mean Tremont or Ohio City when Bainbridge’s Crumb and Spigot is in the mix...MoreLess
The Must-Eat List: Crumb & Spigot
WE’LL REACH FOR A BOTTLE of craft beer over a can of Budweiser any day. But Crumb and Spigot chef and co-owner Karen Gorman convinces us to put aside our beer snobbery and enjoy the succulent-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside pleasure of the beer can chicken ($19), cooked — you guessed it — with a bird jammed onto a half-full can of the Great American beer. “It adds a little bit of moisture to the cooking process on the inside,” she says. To make the straightforward dish, Ohio chicken is brined overnight and cooked on a Budweiser can in a convection oven until 80 percent done. Then it’s finished in a wood-fired oven and served with roasted carrots and fingerling potatoes drizzled with a chimichurri made from carrot tops. “It’s fun and it’s good and it’s simple,” Gorman says. “Good food does not have to be complicated.” Although Gorman usually takes the dish off the menu for the winter, regulars asked to keep it. She obliged but still only makes 12 each night, so it’s more of an insider reward for dining early. “There’s rarely a night we don’t sell out,” she says. 16783 Chillicothe Road, Bainbridge, 440-384-3035, crumbandspigot.com
WE’LL REACH FOR A BOTTLE of craft beer over a can of Budweiser any day. But Crumb and Spigot chef and co-owner Karen Gorman convinces us to put aside our beer snobbery...MoreLess
Best Restaurants 3 Crumb & Spigot
We have a soft spot for homespun comfort food, even as trends and warmer weather push us toward more eclectic and less guilty fare. Thankfully, Karen Gorman and her Bainbridge-area microtavern Crumb and Spigot manages to navigate both worlds.Her cooking style aims to strike what she calls “comfort food notes,” building complexity with simple ingredients through intentional layering. In her version of chicken and biscuits, for example, she thickens house-made chicken stock slightly with onion, flour and cream, waiting until the end to fold in roasted chicken, fresh celery, carrots and peas. Thus, the sauce has plenty of time to develop flavor while the vegetables remain al dente and bright.“It’s giving the customer something that is lighter and more modern and isn’t going to make you want to go home and go to bed,” she says.Seating just 50 between the dining room and bar, the restaurant’s strip mall facade disguises its warm, intimate interior.Pull up a bar stool to sip one of co-owner Ryan King’s creative cocktails before dinner. With a cocktail list nearly as long as the food menu, King emphasizes scratch cooking in his drinks as much as Gorman’s cuisine does. For instance, the orange radler ($12), one of eight beer cocktails on the list, is made with an India pale ale, Aperol and house-made orange soda.Pretty much everything — from Gorman’s dozen or so pizza options (try the $13 Vegan with harissa, eggplant and herb salad) to the chicken cassoulet ($19) to the meatball appetizer ($10) — is finished in the brick oven for a hint of smoke.“The kitchen is so tiny,” says Gorman. “I wanted to have everything come out of a wood-fired oven.” 16783 Chillicothe Road, Bainbridge, 440-384-3035, crumbandspigot.comTry This: If you plan to cozy up for a few drinks (and we couldn’t blame you for that), order the beer board ($13). It’s like bar snacks on steroids, complete with a warm, chewy pretzel and cheese dip, house-made spicy beef jerky, seasoned bar nuts and even a pickled egg.
We have a soft spot for homespun comfort food, even as trends and warmer weather push us toward more eclectic and less guilty fare...MoreLess
Knots Landing: Tie up your next meal by eating one of these soft pretzels Crumb & Spigot
How it’s made: Chef and owner Karen Gorman sticks with a Bavarian-style dough, combining butter, flour, yeast, brown sugar and water for the C&S Housemade Soft Pretzel ($7). The dough sits in the cooler for a day before being rolled out, topped with salt and baked. “We wanted good, tavern-style bar snacks,” says Gorman. The dips: It comes with a tangy triple mustard — a combo of yellow, Dijon and whole-grain mustards with a touch of honey. A second sauce, such as a blue cheese bacon dip, changes regularly. 16783 Chillicothe Road, Bainbridge, 440-384-3035, crumbandspigot.com
How it’s made: Chef and owner Karen Gorman sticks with a Bavarian-style dough, combining butter, flour, yeast, brown sugar...MoreLess
THE PLAIN DEALER
Crumb & Spigot: a tavern to crow about in Bainbridge
It has a fine old English pub-sounding name, Crumb & Spigot, with equally fine old English-style signage , a beady-eyed crow with a bit of bread in its beak, perched on the afore-mentioned tap. But abandon hope, all ye looking for a Tudoresque timbered and plastered old tavern to match. There’s no such thing on this chain store-strewn suburban highway in Bainbridge., However, the restaurant’s generic storefront in the middle of a strip mall belies the belly-up-to-the-bar bonhomie of a British free house that’s Crumb & Spigot’s stock in trade.
Inside, the charmingly eccentric room sports tartan cloth-upholstered banquettes, chartreuse walls, and mismatched library lamps casting a cheerful glow onto a long communal table.The bustling wide-open kitchen features a cavernous wood-burning stove and a capacious bar that bristles with alcoholic opportunity, including a clutch of creative house cocktails that are pricey but appealing. Try the Cham-Wow! ($12), a cute and clever concoction of Chambord, vodka, raspberry and plum bitters. And then there’s the intriguing list of boilermakers, beer cocktails, and the nicely curated beer and wine collection in bottles and on tap...but enough chit chat about style and spirits. Let’s talk sustenance.
This is chef/owner Karen Gorman’s first place of her own, with partner Ryan King, and she’s taken full advantage of the situation with a wildly idiosyncratic menu that highlights the former caterer’s penchant for personalized comfort food in every category. Exhibit A: the Beer Board ($13), a snackalicious assortment of fun house-made things- chewy meaty jerky, a big soft Bavarian-style pretzel to dunk into a rich bacon-cheese dip, mildly spiced bar nuts and a bright purple pickled egg, there more for color than taste. Moving down the menu, we find the very good Brat Burger ($13). There’s also a beef burger, but this one’s deliciously different. Made with bratwurst mixed with bacon on a homemade bun, it’s layered with garlic aioli, manchego cheese, romesco (a Spanish nut and red pepper-based sauce) and spicy arugula for a flavor-riot experience.
Gorman also has a unique spin on strombolis. Instead of filling them with Italianate ingredients, her savory turnovers
made with pizza dough are fabulously stuffed with the makings of a Reuben sandwich, Roumanian pastrami, fresh sauerkraut, Jarlsburg and whole grain mustard, turning it into a deli-fied “Pastromboli” ($13).
Even the Cassoulet ($19), one of the handful of big plate entrees on the menu, is given the Gorman treatment. A rich confit chicken leg, smoky pork belly and juicy crisp-skinned garlic sausage are bedded on tender but not stewed white beans. No classic, but it’s hard to argue with its hearty goodness.
The big wood-fired oven turns out pizzas,in red and white versions, by the score. Not as crisp or thin as Neapolitan pies, Crumb’s “New York-style” crusts do have a decent crunch and hold up well under some fairly complex toppings.We tried a trio of them, and can report enjoying the Chicken Chorizo ($15), with its layers of flavors and textures, adobo tomato sauce, cheddar and gouda cheeses, pickled jalapeno, smoked green onion, and poblano peppers along with the chunks of spicy sausage, and the surprisingly pleasing Vegan pizza ($13). It’s not an easy task to pull off. But the meaty cauliflower slices, flavorfully punched up with roasted garlic, sweet and sour ginger-pickled onions and a citrusy gremolata topping made it a fun, satisfying dish. Not so the Nduja ($16). It may have been a misfire from the kitchen, but all the interesting ingredients, the soft salami, bacon onion jam and tomato-radish relish, were buried underneath an almost astringent layer of chopped raw onions.
Dessert is as diverse as the rest of the menu. There’s a fine Butterscotch Pudding ($7), almost as dense and rich as a crème brulee, and a delightful and delicious Spumoni ($7). It was just as much fun, but a little less charming, when the layered cherry, pistachio, and dark chocolate ice cream, touted by our waiter as homemade, turned out to be Mitchell’s, according to the chef.
Gorman says the joint’s been jumping since it opened last June, and my three visits back her up. Even in midweek’s coldest weather over the last month, Crumb & Spigot had a comfortable crowd. It may be beginner’s luck or that the local demographic was jonesing for a place just like this. Or perhaps it’s the charming comfort food and big buffet of bar offerings, along with the not-always-perfect but always pleasant service, Whatever it is, and it’s probably all the above, Gorman and King have something to crow about. Cheers!
It has a fine old English pub-sounding name, Crumb & Spigot, with equally fine old English-style signage , a beady-eyed crow ...MoreLess
DINNER PARTY With a comfy atmosphere and a wood-fire oven, Crumb & Spigot makes guests feel right at home.