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Eating Columbus OH

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RonnieD

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Eating Columbus OH

by RonnieD » Wed Nov 03, 2010 8:51 pm

I'm in Columbus OH for a week while opening a new J.Gumbo's in the area, so naturally, I am eating out every night in the search of Columbus best places to eat.

For those interested, I'll mini-review the places I am eating in the hopes that it will help other travelers in the area.

I am mostly dining in the Short North district (akin to Bardstown Rd.), very artsy, lots of boutiques, and many indie eateries.

Tuesday:
Betty's (http://bettyscolumbus.com/)

Nice little bar/restaurant. Limited seating so get there early. Good, modern pub-grub with more attention to the kitchen than you might expect. We had the Plantain appetizer and Steve's Afternoon Delight. The plantains were exceptional (comparable to Havana Rumbas) and the salsa yogurt dipping sauce was the highlight. The Afternoon Delight was essentially a potato chip nacho platter (similar to, but better than, what Red Star offers).
My entree was the Tasso and Chicken Penne in a Parmesan cream sauce. The tasso dominated the dish, but overall it was rather good. My companions had the Hot Hot Chicken (chicken breast smothered in Franks Red Hot) and the Artichoke Gorgonzola Pasta. Both were well received.
The pricing is spot on. The decor is 100% classic pin-up art and very fun. Great atmosphere

Definitely worth a visit.

Wednesday:
The Rossi
http://www.rossibarandkitchen.com/

Very nice, modern contemporary American restaurant with a strong bar presence. Atmosphere is exceptional. Smooth jazz piped in, warm lighting, soft seating.
I started with a signature cocktail: the Duck Blind. A dirty martini with pickled cucumber. A very unique cocktail and undoubtedly good for hanging at the bar, but is not friendly to the breath nor does it pair well with the menu. A very strong dill flavor dominates the drink. A disappointing note: there were still ice chips in my martini when it arrived...
My choice of appetizer was the Short Rib Enchiladas with avocado creme fraiche and black bean salsa. A very promising start, the enchiladas were cooked perfectly and the creme fraiche and salsa were exceptional accents.
For salad, I selected the Prosciutto-wrapped grilled Caesar. Very nicely presented heads of romaine wrapped in Prosciutto, grilled and drizzled with Caesar dressing. A nice interpretation of a traditional Caesar, but outside of the presentation nothing terribly new or remarkable here.
My entree was the Lobster Ravioli with asparagus and shallots in a tarragon cream sauce. The tarragon creme sauce was flavorful and worked well with the asparagus, however the lobster inside the raviolis was very dry and plain and I soon found out why: it's bought in, and most likely frozen at that. Overall, the sauce was not enough to carry the dish.
To my dismay the desserts are also bought in, so I passed. To be fair they are bought in from local bakeries that are of high quality, but also nearby, so if I wanted some I could just visit the respective shops themselves.

To top things off, for the quality of the ingredients and final product, the menu comes across as overpriced. I, a single diner, got out with a tab just under $50 (and thankfully only one martini on that bill). If you go to the Rossi, maybe have some drinks and an appetizer, but dinner plans may be elsewhere. A tip off may be that many of the patrons around me were ordering the House Cheeseburger...

Tomorrow night???
Ronnie Dingman.
Head Cook, The Kitchen at Gerstle's Place
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Re: Eating Columbus OH

by RonnieD » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:02 pm

Thursday:

Surly Girl Saloon
http://surlygirlsaloon.com/

Beyond expectation! A comfy little southwestern style saloon with a menu that belies its casual decor. Great atmosphere, prompt and very friendly service (despite a busy, busy night), and great beers on tap. Get there early as tables will be sparse quickly!

I started, on server recommendation, with the Frito Pie (1/2 price during "Howdy Hour"). Simply amazing. Take something as simple as a home-spun frito pie and class it up with zesty chili and a chipotle sour cream and you have pure magic in a lasagna boat! This alone is reason to go to Surly Girl.

Next I had a crock of Pork Posole stew. While a little brothier than the pazolis I am used to, this simple stew was full of flavor and a perfect interlude between the frito pie and my main.

For my entree I went out on a limb and had the Gorgonzola and Bacon Rotini. It had no right to be as good as it was and it was spectacular. Again, simple and honest, this dish was packed with flavor and perfectly cooked. The portion was the perfect size and left me full and happy.

All of this was accompanied by a rich glass of local Barley's stout (all OH brews also half price during Howdy Hour). A great local beer with full body and smooth flavor.

Surly Girl Saloon has been the clear winner of my stay thus far. Perfect in every capacity. Heck, I even bought my wife a tee shirt!
Ronnie Dingman.
Head Cook, The Kitchen at Gerstle's Place
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Re: Eating Columbus OH

by Carla G » Sat Nov 20, 2010 9:49 am

RonnieD wrote:I'm in Columbus OH for a week while opening a new J.Gumbo's in the area


OMG Ronnie! Additional out of state locations? Sorry but you are now officially an chain and are henceforth deemed unworthy of our attention and formerly high esteem. How dare you take your successful restaurant concept and expand it beyond the boundaries of Jefferson County! (heavy sigh) That's what's wrong with good restaurants these days. They want to share.
:wink:

(Hope you know I'm just pokin' ya. Just don't forget your way home!)
"She did not so much cook as assassinate food." - Storm Jameson
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Re: Eating Columbus OH

by RonnieD » Sat Nov 20, 2010 11:45 am

Yeah, I know. But I am working hard to be the anti-chain chain. We don't do things the way the "big boys" do them and I have no intention of starting.

:D
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Re: Eating Columbus OH

by Robin Garr » Sat Nov 20, 2010 4:37 pm

RonnieD wrote:For those interested, I'll mini-review the places I am eating in the hopes that it will help other travelers in the area.

Excellent! Thanks, Ronnie! It's this kind of generous sharing that will make this forum section an archive worth making a special trip to enjoy. :)

I was going to suggest Short North, but I see you've already found it ...
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Re: Eating Columbus OH

by Brad Keeton » Mon Nov 22, 2010 3:45 pm

G. Michael's Bistro in Germantown is excellent.
"I don't eat vegans. They're too bony."
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