Written by: Steve Stover
Date: July 7, 2017
We have followed Watershed Distillery since it opened six years ago, and have sampled their expansive array of spirits — from their vodka, gin, and bourbon, to the wonderful black-walnut liqueur Nocino. We also have watched the Watershed Kitchen & Bar emerge as one of the hottest table in town since opening in early 2017 in Grandview.
The dining room and bar both are pleasantly located inside the warehouse-district distillery building with a new patio out front. Headed by general manager — and Spagio alum — Andrew Schmitt, the friendly staff, sets a welcoming tone.
Executive Chef Jack Moore, formerly with the Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland, leads the kitchen.
We enjoyed a great table adjacent to the floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the distillery on our first visit in April, when we tried the signature Floradora cocktail of gin, raspberry, ginger, lemon and soda, and the Watershed Manhattan. The 2015 Bodine Malbec (Argentina) and 2014 Cave du Lugny Chardonnay (France) accompanied our meal.
We shared the Pickledillies, which are pickles wrapped in country ham with cream cheese ($4). We also sampled a pickled-beet salad with feta cheese and citrus vinaigrette ($9), the cornmeal-dusted and fried walleye wings, and – my favorite – a riff on the hot-chicken trend, the buttermilk fried chicken with lardo (whipped pig butter), house hot sauce, and house pickles ($13).
We also tried the pork & beans, comprised of grilled pork tenderloin, baked-bean puree, the cider-poached apples and turnips as well as mussels with white-wine broth, tomato, and feta.
In June, we sat at the bar and enjoyed our conversation with bartender Janessa, who served us the 2014 Chateau Pierron white Bordeaux and 2015 Chilensis Malbec (Chile). We returned to the fried chicken (better than ever), along with a plate of braised meatballs over a mélange of stewed tomatoes, farro and cabbage ($13) and braised beef short ribs with miso polenta and pickled red cabbage ($24).
The current full menu – which has evolved since opening — includes six starters ($4 to $9), eight small plates ($8 to $16), and six large plates, ($16 to $27).
Watershed Kitchen & Bar is off to a good start, and we will return to follow its progress.
Watershed Kitchen & Bar
1145 Chesapeake Ave. (Suite D), between Northwest Blvd. and King Ave.
Monday – Thursday: 4 – 10 p.m.
Friday – Saturday: 4 – 11 p.m.