FOOD REVIEW: John Bookwalter Winery & JBistro
I have done quite a bit of writing about food. I really enjoy sharing with people my thoughts on who does great food and why.
I get a lot of questions from friends asking me where they should go eat, or who does a great steak, or any other type of foodie question, and depending on what they ask ,I include Bookwalter in about 99% of my answers.
There are many reasons I keep Bookwalter towards the top of mind when choosing where to eat or when making recommendations. One of those reasons is because Chef Mark and his crew are always innovating. They are keeping their menu fresh and if you take too long to get there, you might miss something absolutely delicious.
For this dinner, we started off with a few appetizers. One of these were the heavenly Avocado Fries. If you haven’t seen or heard of these, they are absolutely delicious. I really enjoy these Avocado Fries because they are perfectly breaded and lightly fried on the outside and tender and delicious on the inside. They are served with a mild Sriracha based dipping sauce that compliments perfectly.
I’ve had Bookwalter’s Flat Breads quite a few times and each time they are perfectly satisfying. This flat bread in particular was especially delicious because the combination of the bread, olives, chicken, and balsamic vinegar really hits on all points. If by some chance you haven’t had any of the flat breads yet, you really should. They make for a perfect appetizer or even when coupled with another appetizer, a delicious light meal.
Bacon Wrapped Dates
Yes, everything is better with bacon. But what makes this appetizer one of my favorites on the menu is how the bacon, dates, and the wine reduction sauce they’re served with compliment each other very well.
Wagyu Sirloin w/ Truffle Butter & Chimichurri
This was my first time trying Bookwalter’s Wagyu Sirloin and to be blunt, the Wagyu Sirloin delivered. Bookwalter uses a 28-Day Aged Wagyu Black Top Sirloin and it was noticeably more delicious than other cuts of sirloin you would find in the Tri-Cities. When you combine this sirloin with Bookwalter’s homemade truffle butter and chimichurri, it is one of the best sirloins you will probably have. It’s that good!
Wagyu Ribeye w/ Lobster Thermidor Sauce
The Wagyu Ribeye is usually my “go-to” steak when I eat at Bookwalter. Each time has been with either their truffle butter or chimichurri sauce. This time I was able to try their ribeye with their Lobster Thermidor sauce. This really raised the bar in my opinion. The creaminess of the sauce and the richness of the lobster really added to the meal. If you’ve had the ribeye before but haven’t tried the Thermidor, you really need to.
I’ve had plenty of delicious pork chops in my time and this one would rank towards the top of my list. This Kurobuta Pork Loin was topped with a Tamarind Glaze that was very delicious. This pork loin was perfectly cooked and was complimented very well by creamy herb polenta and mushrooms. If you’re not quite sure what to get and a great steak just doesn’t seem like the right choice, I would definitely go with the Kurobuta Pork Loin.
There are only a few place in the Tri-Cities that do up a truly delicious burger. Bookwalter is one of those places. Bookwalter’s “Vineyard Burger” is a burger made of Wagyu Beef and Kurobuta Bacon. It also comes topped with Pancetta, Caramelized Onions, a little Blue Cheese, and a delectable jelly made from their Foreshadow Cabernet wine. The Vineyard delivers a mouthful of complex flavors you would not expect from a “bacon burger.” If you are jonesing for a burger and aren’t quite sure where to go, the Vineyard Burger is a solid bet.
Butterscotch Creme Brûlée
A few months back, I had Bookwalter’s Creme Brûlée and it was delicious. The burnt sugar on top was about a mile thick and I didn’t think they could possibly top it. Now here comes their Butterscotch version. Wow…. Just wow. This was by far the absolute best Creme Brûlée I’ve ever had and will be how all forthcoming Creme Brûlée will be judged. I could write about this butterscotch Creme Brûlée until my fingers fall off and I still wouldn’t be able to do it adequate justice. It’ just that good.
RYAN CASTORINA-ROSE, "Foodie"