Take out your suitcase and cancel that trip to Colorado. It turns out you can enjoy mountainside dining here in little old Ohio — and in Twinsburg no less.
The place to head to is Blue Canyon Kitchen and Tavern, a restaurant modeled after grand inns in the national parks perched atop a sandstone cliff overlooking wooded hillsides.
I definitely felt like eating out while on vacation in the Rockies when I visited with my family.
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One of the first things I noticed about Blue Canyon was the rustic and relaxed atmosphere created by the hand-hewn cedar logs, soaring cathedral ceilings, and multi-stone field fireplaces. It also has a secluded patio in the form of rocks and evergreens with a waterfall.
My cousin Joe and his wife, Lily, took advantage of the restaurant’s nightly menu, where two can share a bottle of wine, one appetizer, one dessert, and two appetizers for $99.83.
They choose Pitule Moscato D’Asti for their wine. Sponsors also have the option to substitute another garnish or dessert in place of the wine, according to Stewart Wayne, general manager of Blue Canyon.
This wasn’t Lily’s first visit to the Blue Canyon and she was so excited to order an appetizer of crunchy Brussels sprouts that I was a bit confused. Sure, Brussels sprouts are healthy and all—but how do they really taste? At Blue Canyon, the answer to this question is very good. These special sprouts are stir-fried in General Tso sauce and garnished with yum yum sauce and every seasoning.
She said, “I love that it’s delicious and flaky but has a sweet sauce and I love the yum yum sauce they put on it.” “You have to come here, just for the Brussels sprouts.”
I had the PEI mussels for my appetizer, which are served with roasted corn broth, pork belly, roasted tomatoes, parsley, and grilled bread ($16.99). My uncle Mike ordered a flatbread topped with blue cheese, fontina cheese, rosemary, crunchy onions, pickled mustard seeds, and hot honey ($17).
My starter was light and flavorful as the corn and pork belly gave it a nice contrast between sweet and savory. Mike enjoyed the serrated crust, well-cooked toppings, and the delicious brisket that made it up.
Lily and I had the same main course, beef tenderloin topped with roasted garlic butter and chives, scrambled Yukon gold potatoes, green beans, garlic, and crunchy Cajun onions on the side ($46 regular, $10 extra on the Nightly Dates menu).
Later I learned from Wine that Lillie and I’s tenderloin is one of the best selling dishes of the year. Another is the salted salted salmon, which has been on the menu since the restaurant opened 18 years ago.
“There would be a rebellion if we took[salted salted salmon]off the menu,” Wayne said.
Joe ordered the crunchy trout sandwich topped with house pickles, shredded lettuce and guajillo chili sauce. The dish was served with fries with sea salt and rosemary.
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Mike got a 12-ounce pork chop with a tea bourbon glaze served alongside Yukon smashed golden potatoes, caramelized Savoy cabbage, and pickled mustard seeds ($32). He liked it very much and I’m sure he invented a new word: Delicimous.
“A piece of pork is (the pig) sloppy and it’s hard to keep it moist when you cook it,” Mike said. “These were moist and had a nice crust on the outside, plus they were thick.”
Joe, Lily, and Mike’s dessert was the Vanilla Creme Brulee ($9). I chose banana holes dipped in cinnamon sugar and served with bananas, caramel, and hazelnuts ($9). I refused the whipped cream that usually accompanies this dessert. However, if you are looking for a delicious dessert, this will hit the spot. My bill before tipping came to $76.86.
His favorite wine meal is hibachi-style tacos, which he eats at least twice a week. Made with fresh tortillas, fried rice, pickled vegetable salad, and yum yam sauce—it’s the consistency and quality of dishes like this that sets Blue Canyon apart from its competitors, according to Wine.
“I’ve been working in restaurants for 20 to 25 years in this area, Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, Beachwood and then down a little bit that way,” he said. “The food (in the Blue Canyon) is always okay with respect to the guests. I think that’s the main reason people come back.”
There are other aspects of Blue Canyon from past and present that make it stand out. One such feature was the wild game specials that were all the rage before the pandemic and the subsequent supply chain issues that took it off the list. For years, the restaurant has served dishes of wild boar, elk steak and more. They hope to return at some point.
The way Blue Canyon handled the pandemic shutdown in 2020 is another distant affair among the area’s upscale restaurants. Chef Brandt Evans has developed sidewalk menus for family dinners and holiday gatherings like Easter and Mother’s Day. The packages contained reheat instructions and food whose quality would not deteriorate by the time customers returned home, such as trout, salmon, and steak.
Since the pandemic, some high-end restaurants have tightened their restrictions and canceled happy hour entirely — but not Blue Canyon. The restaurant brought back discounted alcoholic beverages and 8-10 dining options earlier this year. Customers can enjoy these offers in their Cavern room from 4-5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Once the renovations currently underway are completed, every room within the restaurant will be updated. But don’t worry, Evans will still be serving scrumptious meals to patrons throughout and during the shift.
“We’re not going anywhere,” Wayne said. “The doors will open. Guests are coming back (after the pandemic) and I think the food is the main reason for that.”
Connect with Beacon Journal reporter Tawney Beans at [email protected] and on Twitter @TawneyBeans.
place: Blue Canyon Kitchen & BarTabuk: 8960 Wilcox Dr., Twinsburgphone: (330) 486-2583hours: From 4 to 8 pm from Monday to Thursday, and from 4 to 9 pm on Friday and Saturdaywebsite: bluecanyonrestaurant.com