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A special celebration dinner led us to Charleston’s Bridge Road Bistro last week, which just happened to coincide with the South Hills restaurant’s launch of its new fall menu that same night.

We didn’t know or plan that in advance, but were sure glad the universe saw fit to make it happen. After being escorted to the Chef’s Table — another surprise — we enjoyed a night of mostly good food and great service.

There are still some of the same favorite appetizers (bistro chips, stuffed banana peppers, Thai chicken lettuce wraps and fried calamari) and entrees (filet mignon, crab cake and bacon-wrapped meatloaf, which is now smoked) on the new menu, plus a freshened-up lineup of salads and Boujee Burgers.

But they’re now joined by a few new creations as well.

The braised pork shank osso bucco with parmesan polenta was cooked to fall-off-the-bone perfection and just needed a touch more salt to make it sing. The honey-roasted carrots and cider demi-glace served alongside, though, were awesome as-is and didn’t need a thing.

Other new features include chicharron-crusted salmon with spicy corn puree, snow peas and chipotle aioli and a pan-fried walleye with long-grain wild rice, snow peas and lemon dill beurre blanc, and the bar has unveiled some new fall cocktails to enjoy as well.

I said we enjoyed “mostly” good food earlier, just because we were a little underwhelmed by the desserts we tried that night. Although usually spot-on, the cheesecake, chocolate torte and crème brulee were all just … OK.

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Still, it was a pretty nice meal overall.

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In other local restaurant news …

Construction of a large outdoor dining area to be shared through a partnership between Dem 2 Brothers & A Grill and a new, recently opened waffle restaurant is nearing completion on Charleston’s West Side. The S’waffle Shack at 419 Virginia St. W. serves a variety of waffle dishes featuring fruit and whipped cream, cinnamon and cream cheese, peanut butter and chocolate, Nutella and Biscoff cookies, pie filling and ice cream, caramel and more — in prepared or design-your-own combinations. There’s also a variety of coffees, sundaes and two full pages of specialty drinks made with various and sundry sodas, teas, fruit juices and more. Current S’waffle Shack hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. (Once the outdoor area is complete, Dem 2 will be using it for evening service as well.)

A new Texas Roadhouse is being built between Trace Fork and Dudley Farms on the site of the former Ryan’s restaurant between Arby’s and Holiday Inn Express. Ryan’s had been closed since the start of COVID and the building was razed earlier this year.

The former (and closed for years) 7-Eleven at the corner of Oakwood Road and US 119 was also bulldozed last month to make way for a new drive-through-only Dunkin Express, which will join the CVS, One Stop and Kroger Fuel Center on what is becoming a very congested spot along Corridor G.

Bowles Boyz BBQ has announced the opening of a second location just a half-mile up Campbells Creek not far from Dairy Winkle. The popular Sissonville-area restaurant is known for its smoked meats, pulled pork, ribs, brisket and chicken.

Steven Keith is a food writer and restaurant critic known as “The Food Guy.” He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or wvfoodguy@aol.com. Follow @wvfoodguy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

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