Dine N' Dish Review: John Bookwalter Winery & JBristro
Great ambiance...amazing food & wine!
If there is any place in the Tri-Cities that offers a great place to relax, listen to some great music, and enjoy some awesome food and wine, John Bookwalter Winery & JBistro do just that.
Lately, people have been asking me where the best food in the Tri-Cities is. I really try to not let myself say any one place serves the best because what I may consider “the best” isn’t what the next person may consider the best. What I do try to do is give a “short list” of places that do things really well. There is no doubt that JBistro does many things well.
Let’s start with how relaxing it can be here. Depending on their capacity or any private parties occurring, you will have a few different seating areas to choose from. Here is what’s nice about finding a place to relax at Bookwalter; you have options. You can sit, watch, and listen to the live music on the front porch area. You can also sit in the covered area to the east side of the building where there is plenty of shade on a hot day. There is also seating in the back down below where you can be a little more secluded and out of the way.
The atmosphere at Bookwalter, especially on a warm sunny evening, is hard to beat. The Tri-Cities has many places to choose from, but I highly recommend keeping Bookwalter near your “top of mind” choices.
Proscuitto & Capicola Appetizer: The Proscuitto & Capicola Appetizer is a usual fixture on their appetizer menu. This is a simple, but very flavorful appetizer. It is made with locally made Ethos Flatbread, Rosemary Chevre (goat cheese), pear, and truffle honey. The combination of the Rosemary Chevre, pear, and the prosciutto is a flavor combination you will not find anywhere else. This appetizer is light, delicious, and a great way to start any meal.
Tomato Bisque: If you’ve never had the Tomato Bisque, you absolutely need to. It’s made with Heirloom tomatoes, cream, basil, and pecorino Romano cheese. The way Chef Mark Schwegel and his team are able to blend the flavors of these ingredients is truly an art. I have had many a Tomato Bisques at other restaurants and they always fall just a little short in comparison to JBistro’s. The next time you’re there and haven’t had the bisque yet, you really should.
Normally, I order the Wagyu Ribeye for dinner, but when I saw that Copper River Salmon was available, I really couldn’t pass it up. Based on how delicious other items on the menu are, I really had high expectations for the salmon. Needless to say, it did not disappoint. The salmon had very rich flavor, it was perfectly seasoned, and it was served on a bed of delicious mashed potatoes and perfectly cooked asparagus.
Garlic Chicken: The Garlic Chicken is absolutely delicious. The chicken itself is half of a chicken from Draper Valley Farms. It’s perfectly seasoned and sitting on black garlic whipped potatoes with a roasted garlic butter sauce, as well as a bed of wilted spinach. When talking to my friends about the food at JBistro, I find myself re-using a certain phrase... “you will find flavors here that you won’t find anywhere else in the Tri-Cities.” The Garlic Chicken is no different.
Dungeness Crab Mac & Cheese: If you haven’t had the Dungeness Crab Mac & Cheese yet, you seriously need to. If you need to tell yourself it’s totally calorie free just so you don’t feel guilty about how rich and gooey it is, go ahead. It’s totally worth it. This Dungeness Crab Mac & Cheese is made with Beecher's Flagship Cheddar, Kurobuta bacon, a spiced crust, and white truffle oil. You will find huge chunks of crab surrounded by ooey gooey cheese and noodles. If you like Mac & Cheese, you will LOVE this Mac & Cheese.
Wagyu Ribeye: Ok.. now time for my favorite. This is the entree I order almost every time I eat at JBistro. I love the Wagyu Ribeye. It’s that simple. I love it. The flavor of the beef is some of the best you will find in the Tri-Cities. It’s perfectly seasoned and can stand on it’s own. However, Chef Mark also gives you the option of adding their Truffle Set.
The Truffle set is a trio of deliciousness that you can dip your ribeye into. The first is their truffle butter, the second is the black truffle salt, and the third is their white truffle oil. Your taste buds will be ruined for anything else for a very long time.
On top of all of this, the ribeye is served with JBistro’s blue cheese potato cake. This potato cake absolutely sets off the flavor of everything else on the plate.
Crème Brûlée: For those who love Creme Brulee, you will certainly love JBistro’s White Chocolate Creme Brulee. They put their own spin on it and the sugar on top is about as thick as you’ll find anywhere. You will not be disappointed and it’s the perfect way to top off any meal.
My Final Thoughts
I talk about Bookwalter and JBistro a lot. I have people ask me where to go for great food and atmosphere. I’m finding that most people haven’t heard or haven’t realized that they offer a full kitchen with amazing food. Chef Mark and his team source as much of their product from local purveyors. They put that extra care into every item on their menu and it shows. In addition to this amazing food, they offer a venue that has live music, bocci ball, and a very relaxing atmosphere. I hope you find Bookwalter and JBistro as enjoyable as I do and visit them very soon.
For more information and directions, visit John Bookwalter Winery & JBistro.
Photography by Martha Marisa Photography for Waddido.com.