Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ganache: Greensboro, NC

Ganache in Greensboro is known for its decadent cakes, wide selection pastries, and breads. Many a Triad bride has scheduled a wedding appointment to view and taste samples of confectionery bliss. Many a prom date has stood in front of the bakery counter salivating over the ornate displays in the front entryway of the restaurant. After all the fanfare and flourish has subsided, it’s time to get to the nitty gritty of this Greensboro restaurant.

Ganache has a new sheriff in town, executive chef, Andy Furness. Furness brings a new outlook and a book full of menu ideas with him. This chef has only been seated for a short time and his overhaul of the menu is apparent with the advent of some new menu items. Overall, the dinner menu is small and has few stand-out dishes.

Furness classifies the revamped menu as American regional seasonal cuisine. It includes Southern classics such as Low Country Crab Cakes ($23) and Charleston Whitefish ($22), along with new favorites such as a Newcastle Bread Bowl ($8). “Farm To Fork” is another idea that is new at the restaurant. It boasts of using local produce, products, and regional agricultural centers to feed guests. Rudd and Goat Lady Dairy farms are just two of the local vendors featured on the menu.

Proscuitto wrapped pork tenderloin ($23)

The menu and the ideas behind it are lofty and ill-executed. The food is often served cold, without garnishes, or overcooked. This diner believed in the menu and everything it stood for, but time and time again, disappointment arrives on a ceramic plate.

The popular and highly lauded whiskey switch ribs ($12) were dry, over-smoked, and a pitiful excuse for meat on a bone. Risotto, which appears in no less than three dishes is indeed a little rice, but Uncle Ben would be disappointed if he knew what was passing as al dente in this restaurant.

The best dishes are the salads. The Brutus ($9), a deconstructed Caesar salad topped with a luscious, goat's milk and Parmesan custard not only embodies the creativity the rest of the menu tries to capture, but it's executed well. The caprese salad ($8) is simple, yet classic. It's fresh and electrified by a generous pouring of balsamic vinegar by your own hand.

The best part of any meal at Ganache should be the dessert, but the bakery fails here as well. The precision and care that is taken into consideration when designing and assembling the cakes is not applied to the taste and fillings of them. The words "soaked" and "layered" appear far too often on the dessert menu. The application of these descriptions has yet to be seen (or tasted). Every cake tested, tasted of, well...nothing. If more time were spent on the wholesomeness of the desserts instead of the outside, this diner would be more apt to stay after an obligatory coffee.

Attempting to tout itself as an after-work hot spot, Ganache does employ crafty and skilled bartenders. The wine lists and beer menu are unmatched in the area. With half-priced wine on Thursdays and a lower-priced Lassez Faire bar menu, these might be the restaurants only redeeming qualities.

The decor and atmosphere lend helping hands to make every diner feel welcome, appreciated, and wrapped with hospitality. Since the food is not at its greatest, your view can help ease that pain.

Butterscotch wood-paneled walls take you around the rotunda that is the seating area, and up to a scenic rooftop patio. The restaurant is festooned with local art from the Marshall Gallery in downtown Greensboro. Behind the black granite bar, and more cushioned seating, there are open-tinted windows revealing the kitchen and bakery. To watch the bakery artisans and chefs at work makes one wonder what is really going on in the kitchen.

Ganache may only be known as a chocolate couverture for desserts but Ganache should be known as a restaurant and bakery with far to go for top-notch billing.

Ganache Bakery
403 North Elm Street
Greensboro, NC 27401

1 comment:

Raezin said...

I definitely agree! The cakes need some work - they're too often dry and flat tasting. Ganache is an underrated restaurant. You simply *must* try the grits. Everything has so much flavor, it's incredible.