- By Alexis Larsen Contributing Writer
If you haven’t been to the Marriott over near UD lately, it’s looking really, really different.
In fact, it’s all grown up.
This summer The Dayton Marriott at the University of Dayton completed a $23 million renovation of hotel rooms, restaurant and conference rooms.
The major remodel ushered in a modern, open restaurant and bar concept that said goodbye to the very dated Gambit’s Bar and Grill and Parmizzano’s Restaurant and hello to Dewberry 1850 Restaurant and Lounge.
The sleek updates, which also saw the closure of Sharkey’s Poolside Lounge, have impressed on multiple visits thanks to modern, hip appointments that look smart and inviting and a menu of tasty, locally sourced dishes being served up.
WHAT TO EXPECT
“With the new restaurant we were able to start with a blank slate. (The) menu hasn’t changed since we opened, but we plan to have a new menu by the first of the year. We plan to introduce an additional à la carte offering for brunches. We also are going to begin a happy hour in the coming months,” said Devin Duncan, Director of Food and Beverage who describes the menu as new American food.
“We really wanted the food to be recognizable and speak to the area, which is why we feature local farms as well as locally sourced products.”
The kitchen is in capable hands with Executive Chef Tim Skiber, who made a very positive impression at a recent specialty dinner Dewberry 1850 put on partnering with Dayton Beer Company. The food Skiber was able to deliver from the kitchen left me wanting to see more of what he could do.
Skiber’s culinary resume shows more than two decades of cooking experience, but the true test is always the food a chef is able to produce and Skiber delivered in every way one would hope over the four courses — including presentation, creativity, use of ingredients and paired flavors.
Skiber is definitely a chef to watch. I’m interested to see where he is able to take the food at this restaurant as well as to see how he is able to showcase his skills with future special food events.
The first course of two large smoked-turkey, blue-cheese fritters dressed with a kicky tomato chutney danced between heavy and light with flavors that gave a nod to the impending winter months. His pork-studded salmon filet poached in lemon olive oil, roasted apples, shallot and parsnip hash bathed in a sweet tea reduction was heavenly with the pork fat cooked into the fish enhancing its flavors.
A 5-ounce ribeye filet sitting atop a butternut squash puree drizzled with a barrel-aged butter sauce was decadent and a homemade pumpkin pound cake with spiced farmers cheese, toasted pipettes and crunchy caramelized brown sugar was another in a string of favorites.
Since opening Duncan says the food has been very well received with several dishes continuing to curry favor with diners.
The lunch menu is mostly salads and sandwiches that are reasonably priced and won’t leave you walking away hungry. All of the sandwiches seem to be piled high and deep with a tiny metal bucket of crispy beer battered fries to compliment.
The salmon on the dinner menu ($15) is a nicely priced dish featuring roasted Elmwood Stock Farm beets, glazed Fox Tail Farm carrots and pickled grapes. Several other reasonably priced options include the meatloaf ($12), chicken broccoli casserole ($12) and herb roasted chicken ($19).
A full bar featuring a slate of wines, craft beers and craft cocktails is available to help compliment any meal or occasion.
BREAKFAST AND BRUNCH
In addition to lunch and dinner, I have been able to enjoy brunch at Dewberry 1850 and have especially loved the price. The buffet breakfast on the weekend is $14.50 a person, featuring made to order omelets and waffles. In the coming months they plan to do more à la carte options, but we have enjoyed adding this as an option to our weekend brunch rotation and a nice change of scenery with something for everyone in the group.
“We really wanted to focus on local. We are working with a newer company called Ohio Valley Food Connection That allows us to have a farm to table set up with many local farmers and distributors. In addition we feature Rooted Grounds Coffee in our restaurant as well as their espresso beans in our coffee shop (open daily from 6 a.m-midnight),” said Duncan. “We really hope to see our restaurant and our chef climb to the top of the heap as it relates to food and beverage in Dayton. (We want to) make this a destination.”