One recent Hump Day, the Gardener Guides went looking for a dining spot – something unique and exciting, yet casual and welcoming. We decided to head over to Forest Acres, which fits that description as well! Forest Acres’ is known as “a city within a city”, and its residents enjoy a wonderful assemblage of restaurants, both large and small.
Tombo Grille has become something of an institution in Forest Acres. Since 2002, when it opened, the modern American bistro has served up a fresh, varied menu made up of local and seasonal ingredients, to people from all over the Midlands. Despite knowing this, only one of us had ever been to Tombo, and so we were unsure about what to expect. It was early for dinner and we were able to sit where we wanted, so we chose a small, tucked-away table surrounded by soft lighting and local art.
Thomas, our wonderful and attentive waiter, helped us with our drink order, relaying the day’s specials and taking our preferences into consideration. Tombo is all about daily specials – featured wines and beers, pizzas, soups, small bites, entrees, as well as deals like Monday Night $9 Burgers, Beer and Live Music, Tuesday Night $5 Pizza & $15 Bottles of Wine, and Thursday Night 3-Course Dinner for 2 for $49. Thomas knew the menu inside and out, and suggested the Smoked Salmon Terrine, Charcuterie and Cheese Plate, and Smoked Salmon Rangoon as best bets, and Virginia insisted that we order the Fried Brussels Sprouts as one of our dishes.
The Charcuterie and Cheese Plate included Thomas Hoe Leicestershire Red, Carr Valley Shepard’s Blend and Irish Porter Cheddar cheeses, Trois Petite Cochon Paté, Olli Toscana and Calabrese Hot salamis, seasonal fruit, a selection of peppers, onions and olives, whole grain mustard and baguette slices. Everything went well together, so you could mix and match items off of the plate and add them to your baguette slice for a perfect bite each time. The Smoked Salmon Rangoon were salmon, scallion and cream cheese-filled wontons, fried and served with a Mandarin chili glaze – an upscale (and better) version of the Chinese food menu staple, crab rangoon. The Smoked Salmon Terrine was accompanied by capers, onions, cornichons, flying fish roe, and crackers, and would be delicious as any meal of the day! The Fried Brussels Sprouts came in a large bowl, with herbed buttermilk dressing. These warm little gems were crispy yet soft, caramelized and sweet; like vegetable candy! We ate the entire bowl and felt great about it, because they’re vegetables. (Also, let it be known that Virginia got a whole bowl of them to go because they were that good!)
The next day, we all remarked how nice Tombo had been, with such a friendly staff and relaxing atmosphere. The food selection was unexpected, yet comforting and satisfying. It’s no wonder the place has become such an invaluable part of the Forest Acres dining landscape!
Phone Number: 803.782.9665
Hours: Open Monday – Thursday: 5:30pm – 9:30pm; Friday & Saturday: 5:30pm – 10:30pm; bar opens at 4:30pm