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On The Town: Restaurant Week

Over the last half-decade, the only constant for Columbus’s culinary scene has been the non-constant, as a blizzard of restaurant and bar openings and closings keep diners’ heads and GPS spinning. That’s why Restaurant Week is here to make sure that twice a year the capital city’s hungry hordes can keep tabs on the area’s [...]
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Over the last half-decade, the only constant for Columbus’s culinary scene has been the non-constant, as a blizzard of restaurant and bar openings and closings keep diners’ heads and GPS spinning.

That’s why Restaurant Week is here to make sure that twice a year the capital city’s hungry hordes can keep tabs on the area’s tastes.

And as the city’s food and drink scene has grown, so has our not-so-little Restaurant Week. Now featuring 120-plus establishments and serving approximately 135,000-150,000 customers fresh fare from special fixe prix menus, RWC has helped put a boost into service industry slow months—not to mention a total of $80,000 for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

This month, as we celebrate our 15th Restaurant Week, we present a small sample of the hundreds of dishes presented, focusing on a few hopping Grandview spots.

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VegHeads Unite! A vegetarian guide to Restaurant Week

Mitch Hooper

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As a vegetarian, it can be tough watching a week of deals on meals in the city and know that you can’t get in on the action. Since most Restaurant Week menus are meat-forward, it’s hard to find a spot that can satisfy your plant-based diet. But the office of 614NOW holds not one, not two, but three people who have ditched the carnivore lifestyle for strictly veggies. Here’s our tips for a fellow VegHead in need.

Fukuryu Ramen (Dublin and Upper Arlington) | $15 per dinner

Try and find a three course meal in the city for $15… We’ll wait! Fukuryo Ramen offers edamame with shiitake mushroom salt, nori fries, or a Fukuryo salad to start your dinner and your miso ramen bowl can be made vegetarian or vegan upon request. Just make sure you get the the matcha soft serve as your dessert.

Mazah Mediterranean Eatery | $15 per dinner

If there’s one cuisine that understands the plight of a plant-eater, it’s Mediterranean food. Whether it’s simply hummus and pita to start with za’atar bread with labaneh as your entree, or trying the falafel with house pickles, nearly everything on this RWC menu is vegetarian/vegan friendly. Well, almost everything. The third-course features more meats, but the spinach fatayer with banadora salad can save you.

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Bareburger (Clintonville and Short North) | $20 per dinner

Whether you choose to start your meal with a kale Caesar salad or pair your Impossible Burger with a side of fries or onion rings, the first two courses at Bareburger are absolutely vegetarian-friendly. You can specify ahead of time if you’re vegan for cheese options and other salad dressings. Finish it all off with a vegan carrot cake, or s’mmmmores (not a typo) if you don’t mind dairy products.

Lineage Brewing Company | $20 per dinner

Lineage is breaking out all the vegetarian and vegan options for RWC as their vegan sloppy joe as well as “grilled” cheese hand pies find themselves as two of the three entrees offered. You can start your meal with deviled eggs, or a trio of dips—Chipotle Hummus, Colombian Aji and Tex-Mex Tomato Salsa—with tortillas chips. Round out your veggie adventure with some spiked desserts—coconut stout chocolate custard or Berliner Weisse Italian Ice—and maybe stick around for a few extra beers.

Basil Thai (Brewery District and Upper Arlington) | $20 per dinner

Basil Thai is a test of eating endurance during RWC as they roll out an all-you-can-eat buffet for just $20 a person. The Panang is a vegan dish featuring red curry with bell peppers, tofu, and a spicy creamy sauce while the lo mein noodles still stand a go-to favorite for vegetarians every where. The best part? You can have as much as you want of both.

Haveli Bistro | $20 per dinner

Haveli is going above and beyond for RWC as their menu features four-courses! The battered and fried vegetables in veg pakora are a solid starter and following it up with some veg manchow soup ensures you’ll still have room for the third and fourth course. Finish off with some mixed veggie curry with garlic naan and you’ve somehow ate your weight without spending all your cash.

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Food & Drink

614NOW Fried Chicken Trail: Forty’s Chicken and Waffles

Mike Thomas

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First came the 614NOW Donut Trail. Then, there was the Mac & Cheese Trail. Now, 614NOW is on the hunt for the best fried chicken this city has to offer. Welcome to the 614NOW Fried Chicken Trail!

Forty’s Chicken and Waffles

2593 N High St

They say life is one big question when you’re staring at the clock, and the answer’s always waiting at the [chicken] store. Sorry, the name of this particular fried chicken establishment is giving me major Sublime vibes.

Forty’s Chicken and Waffles is a rad food counter situated in the back of Old North Arcade on High Street. While chicken grease and arcade game joysticks are a match made in hell, the combination of sweet, pillowy waffles and succulent fried chicken is one for the ages.

Forty’s “tendies” basket before I drowned the whole affair in the pictured syrup

The chicken at Forty’s comes in strips referred to as “tendies,” but this is not the stuff of chain restaurant kids meal baskets. Forty’s generous strips of tender, all-white meat chicken are obviously cut from whole breast pieces, which takes the chore of deboning out of the equation. This means you can spend more time blasting through Dig Dug or Tron, and less time dealing with pesky chicken carcass!

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If I were to compare the Chicken at Forty’s to anything, it perhaps most resembles the strips from a certain chain that rhymes with “Blazing Mains.” The pieces found here, however, are so much larger and more juicy than anything you’ll find at that familiar sauce+garlic toast joint.

Nerd out AND eat fried chicken? I’m sold.

If you’re not yet a believer in the sweet-meets-savory mashup of syrup-soaked waffles and fried chicken, you’d best get down to Forty’s stat. Syrup, and plentiful sauces (chipotle ranch, of I’m not mistaken?) help this chicken shine in spite of it being a little light in the seasoning department for my taste.

Ratings:
Aroma:🍗🍗🍗🍗🍗 (5/5 drumsticks)
Flavor: 🍗🍗🍗🍗🍗 (5/5)
Seasoning: 🍗🍗🍗🍗 (4/5)
Crispiness: 🍗🍗🍗🍗 (4/5)
Overall Experience: 🍗🍗🍗🍗🍗 (5/5)

Forty’s Chicken and Waffles total: 23/25

Large doses of sugar-coated protein are just the thing to fuel your late night Q*bert rampage at the adjoining arcade. Just remember to wash the grease off your hands before diving back in!

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Food & Drink

Restaurant Week Preview: Smith and Wollensky’s classic steakhouse experience

Mike Thomas

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Restaurant Week here! Enjoy 3-course meals at 120+ of Columbus’ best restaurants for a fraction of the cost during Restaurant Week Columbus, July 15-20, presented by (614) Magazine & Marathon Petroleum Corporation.

With deals from some of the area’s top eateries coming in at a mere $40, Restaurant Week is the perfect opportunity to treat yourself to a taste of the good life.

Check out this preview of America’s classic steakhouse, Smith and Wollensky, to see just how far $40 will take you!

First Course

For fans of blue cheese, Smith and Wollensky’s mini iceburg wedge salad is a must (bacon lardons, anyone?) For everyone else, grilled bacon in a burnt orange bourbon gastrique should do nicely.

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Second Course

The second course is where you’ll have a difficult decision to make. Between Smith and Wollensky’s signature filet mignon, tenderloin tips with African spices, and some first-rate chicken and fish preparations, there should be something to suit any taste. But let’s get real—this is a steakhouse. Go for the gusto with the dry-aged, prime boneless New York strip, served au poivre.

Third Course

If you have any room left, you’ll have your choice of a slice of Chocolate cake with Baileys Irish cream, chocolate mousse, and ganache, or coconut cake with whipped cream, Malibu rum syrup, crisp tuile, and shaved coconut. These are supposedly smaller-scale versions of these dessert offerings, but after all the great food that proceeds them, I’m seeing a doggy bag in your future.

Chocolate cake

Smith & Wollensky is located in Easton, at 4145 The Strand W. in Columbus. The Restaurant Week menu will be offered Monday-Saturday from 11:30a-10p, and Friday-Saturday from 11:30a-11p.

Click here to make a reservation

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