For The Ashland Beacon
Warning: you might be extremely hungry by the end of this article.
As someone who loves to go out to eat and try new restaurants, I will now be offering “reviews” on local restaurants that are within driving distance of the tri-state area. These restaurants will range from a fun family dinner to a romantic night out, and everything in between.
I am also a college student at the University of Kentucky, so I may choose some noteworthy restaurants in the Lexington area to keep in mind if you are in that locale. For now, we will start with a brand-new restaurant in the heart of Ashland.
The Winchester is one of Ashland’s newest restaurants, located in the Delta Hotel downtown, formerly the Ashland Plaza. I had heard nothing but good things from friends and family who raved about how amazing it was, so my expectations were fairly high going in.
As you go through the hotel entrance, make your way up to the second floor where the restaurant is located. You are met with a buzzing energy caused by crowds of people socializing and enjoying their food and drinks.
The décor is modern, but classic. It also appears to be a more upscale restaurant at first glance, although there were people wearing shorts and T-shirts as well as dress clothes. However, nobody looked out of place.
My boyfriend and I went for date night, so we sat down and began poring over the menu. We are both indecisive, so we looked at the menu beforehand, but still couldn’t seem to make a decision. We finally decided on the Surf-n-Turf sushi as an appetizer, I got the dueling filets with bearnaise sauce and fried corn on the cob, my boyfriend got chicken piccata, and dessert was bourbon banana cream cake.
We were excited to begin with bowls of hush puppies and the bottomless Winchester salad. The salad was a blend of mixed greens, cheese, tomato, bacon, and a ranch-esque house dressing. Salad isn’t one of my favorite foods, but the salty bacon and rich dressing complimented the crisp, fresh lettuce very well. The cheese and tomato also added varying textures and flavor. The acidity of the tomato cut the richness of the dressing, bacon, and cheese.
The hush puppies were served with a delicious honey butter and fried to perfection on the outside, leaving a golden brown and crispy outside and a soft, moist inside.
The Surf n Turf sushi came next. The roll consisted of fried shrimp on the inside wrapped in rice and seaweed topped with thinly sliced filet mignon. I am also not a huge fan of sushi, but wanted to branch out from my normal food choices. The fried shrimp inside was crisp, but I expected a piece of steak inside with the shrimp. The filet was shaved, rare, and laid on top of the roll. It was decent, but not my favorite.
The main courses came shortly after. I was met with two 4oz filets doused in bearnaise sauce and two ears of fried corn on the cob. As I cut into the steak, it practically fell apart. It was cooked medium-rare, and was so tender that it melted in your mouth. The bearnaise sauce went perfectly with the steak, contrasting the umami taste of red meat with creamy, herbal flavors.
The fried corn on the cob was my favorite part of the entire meal. Fried, golden brown corn added an additional snap to the bite and a sweet/salty flavor profile.
As a lighter option, my boyfriend’s chicken piccata was two chicken breasts with a bed of pasta tossed in a light lemon sauce. The dish was indeed light and refreshing, in comparison to a rich steak. The chicken was golden brown and juicy, and the pasta was lightly tossed in a lemon-herb sauce.
The bourbon banana cream cake was also a highlight of the meal. Dueling layers of a banana-bread type cake and a dense white cake were accompanied by a bourbon frosting. The bourbon flavor is subtle, but paired well with sugary, sweet banana.
All in all, my experience at the Winchester met my high expectations. Their menu has something that nearly everyone will like, from boneless chicken wings to bone-in ribeye. The Winchester has high quality food, atmosphere, and staff. It is perfect for any occasion, and we will definitely be returning.