Focusing on carefully sourced seasonal ingredients and seafood, Balch’s versatile and alluring Trillium menu draws influences from Asia, Europe and the American South. The lemony Wild Gulf Prawns is an elegant little starter; the Lump Crab Wontons, a transcendent version of generally forgettable crab rangoon, is a larger starter.
With a mix of small and large plates, Balch's menus both approachable and global. He may venture to the South through dishes like fried green tomatoes with basil-corn pesto or showcase Southeast Asia with Duck Confit Vietnamese spring Rolls. Above all, Balch emphasizes seasonal ingredients and quality seafood like Ahi Tuna, Ohio Trout, and Wild Gulf Prawns.
Trillium Kitchen & Patio is named for the Ohio state flower, the celebrated patio is retained from its predecessor and a sharp kitchen crew is led by talented chef and co-owner Bradley Balch, formerly of the Sycamore (which Balch still co-owns). Not mentioned in Trillium’s official title: a dramatically remodeled interior that is sleek, bright, modern and awash in brown wood, which starkly plays off white paint and tile.
The crisp look extends to a prominent bar. There, sophisticated cocktails ($10) are produced, such as lemon-scented and potent Ohio vesper shaken with Cocchi Americano plus Watershed vodka and Four Peel gin. A solid, reasonably priced wine selection is offered, too.
Balch’s cuisine is well-described on Trillium’s website, which cites global influences plus a focus on high-quality seasonal ingredients and seafood. His menu is compact, versatile and alluring.
Location is everything in real estate, especially in the restaurant business. But when your new restaurant happens to be the former home of a favorite neighborhood haunt, preserving the legacy of that location adds another layer of complexity to already enormous expectations.
Now add the pressure of leaving another celebrated restaurant and you’ll start to understand the stakes facing Bradley Balch, former executive chef at The Sycamore, whose new restaurant Trillium recently opened in the space occupied by the venerated Alana’s Food and Wine for nearly two decades.
“We knew coming in here it was going to be a challenge. We weren’t trying to replicate; it wasn’t going to be Alana’s 2.0,” Balch said. He and co-owner Michael Kulikowski had no illusions about the inherent anxiety Alana Shock’s loyal patrons would have. “We knew there would be a lot of comparisons as we created our own identity, while still serving and entertaining her clientele.”
Visitors to Trillium Kitchen & Patio won’t have to leave the restaurant to have a full night out.
The new restaurant is opening July 6 at 2333 N. High St., the former home of the venerable Alana’s Food & Wine, which had occupied the space for 18 years until.
While there are nods to the space’s history, co-owners Michael Kulikowski and chef Bradley Balch are setting off in new direction.
“You’re going to be able to be here for different reasons,” Kulikowski told me. “You can transition through the space, have a progressive night out without having to leave.”
The former executive chef at The Sycamore is opening Trillium in a spot beloved by Columbus diners: the former home to Alana’s Food & Wine. Balch and partner Michael Kulikowski are shooting for an early June opening.
When opening a restaurant that’s supposed to replace a longstanding favorite, like Alana’s Food and Wine, the first priority is maintaining the standards that people have grown used to over the last 18 years. Trillium, planned to open this summer in the space Alana’s called home, is set by co-owners Bradley Balch and Michael Kulikowski to be comparable in quality while also creating its own identity, niche and legacy.
Columbus Underground, April 27, 2017
The executive chef and co-owner of The Sycamore will strike out on his own after taking over the lease at the revered Alana’s Food & Wine.
Columbus Monthly, March 8, 2017