I am a big, HUGE proponent of furthering Columbus’ reputation as a foodie town. So when I saw this article in the Washington Post about Columbus and our burgeoning (and I can’t think of a better word for it) AGGRESSIVE food scene, I was very impressed and proud of our big town/ little city.
And while I must thank the author of this article, Jane Black, for playing her part in expanding our reputation, I invite her to leave the epicenter of the city’s food scene (Arena District, Short North, German Village) and venture out into the suburbs for a bite to eat.
People are raving about the Clever Crow and its two locations downtown, the newest one in North Market. And as much as I hate to go to Polaris and recommend people to go to Polaris, it has its benefits.
One being the Mellow Mushroom. They have an astronomical number of beers on tap and have fantastic pizza combinations, most of which can be made vegetarian or vegan. Try the pesto pizza with tofu. Yum.
Polaris also has Cuisine of India, a well-priced restaurant that has a fantastic korma and a reasonably priced buffet that serves a la carte quality portions of their standard menu.
Speaking of Indian food, I have to recommend Indian Oven in the Market Exchange District, an emerging neighborhood that most would recognize as Olde Town East. It’s on Main Street and within walking district of my townhouse. They have an excellent wine selection, amazing dishes that cross the borders of Northern and Southern Indian cuisine and a to die for goat rezala. Yeah, I said goat. If you love lamb, goat is like lamb on steroids. I go every year for my birthday and the Indian Oven neophytes that I expose the restaurant to love it and rave about it and pass the word on. Please give it a try.
Moving further east into Asia, we have Restaurant Silla up in the Northwest Shopping Center off Henderson Road. Go during the weekends at lunch time and enjoy their unbeatable lunch specials that include 7 or 8 classic Korean dishes at 5.99 and even decent sushi. I prefer the soondooboo, a spicy tofu stew with seafood and the beef boolgogi, a slightly sweet, smoky and tender beef barbecue.
Korean food has yet to garner the following that Japanese food has as upscale Asian cuisine, but most Korean restaurants attempt to use the same price point. For this reason, I stick to this special menu and avoid places like Min-Ga on Bethel that charge insane prices for just decent Korean fare.
Speaking of other overpriced Asian restaurants, some of you may experience Lee Garden at the Chinese New Year Celebration that will be thrown on 2/4/11. Lee Garden, while fine, demonstrates an inability to properly price their dishes proportionately to their quality. Opt instead for Sunflower at the corner of Sawmill and Hard Road and indulge in their weekend dim sum, which is served in the traditional Hong Kong style: in carts that circulate the restaurant. It’s nearly as good as the dim sum I’ve had in DC. Try the turnip cake and the savory roast beef buns and the egg tarts for dessert. You won’t be sorry.
I’m thinking this will be a two-part at least blog, so I leave you with one more recommendation for now. Try Coco’s Grill on 5th Avenue, off of Olentangy River Road. It’s in the same plaza that has Jimmy John’s and the liquor store, next to Burger King, across from the Meridian apartments. Sounds like it should be soul food, right? Well, it’s not.
The family is Chinese and Korean and serve up extremely authentic and delicious dishes. Try the salt and pepper pork and beef flat noodles. Also try asking for the Chinese menu. (Yes, a lot of restaurants will have a separate menu for their Asian clients that do not include dishes with crinkle cut carrots, celery or water chestnuts in brown sauce.) There are some tasty treasures in there if you are willing to take the leap.
To be continued!