Connect with us

Food & Drink

7 local dishes, restaurants praised by national media

614now

Published

on

You’re all here because you already know Columbus is a great place to live. Only recently have people across the nation begun to realize it, too.

Here are seven Columbus food shoutouts from major publications all over the U.S. Eat up!

Momo Ghar | 59 Spruce Street, Columbus

National publication Food & Wine featured the dumpling temple back in early 2018, calling it “One of the Best Restaurants in Columbus, Ohio.” The article explored owner Phuntso Lama’s journey to success including an early retirement, love, ambitions of becoming a bus driver, a “For Lease” sign, and eventually owning two very successful Nepalese restaurant locations.

The combination of the highly-flavorful dumplings, the hefty helpings, and the low price point make the choice of where to dine an easy one for many Cbusers and make Momo the center of many outsiders’ envies.

“This dish is a terrific thing to eat anytime—in the dead of winter, even more so,” writes David Landsel of Food & Wine. “A generous plate of eight plump momos costs just shy of ten dollars. There is house made hot sauce on the side, a fragrant blend of Indian and Mexican peppers. Once you try this food, you will never have any problem finding your way back here.”

Service Bar | 1230 Courtland Ave, Columbus

Avishar Barua is the Executive Chef at Service Bar in the Short North and is making national headlines for his upscale rendition of his favorite childhood treat: Taco Bell.

Food & Wine spent some ink praising Barua for his menu of “pure, elevated fun,” but called special attention to the Cheesy Brisket Crunch, a homage to Taco Bell’s Cheesy Gordita Crunch.

Served two to an order, these tacos are built out of a paratha, a Bengali fry bread sprinkled with Kashmiri chili powder and turmeric. Inside of that is a crispy-fried corn tortilla shell filled with a generous portion of brisket that’s been oak-smoked for 18 hours

“One of the most fascinating dishes, however, tucked away at the bottom of the menu, is something that sounds very much like something you might scarf down at Taco Bell, after a reckless night out,” wrote David Landsel.

The Cheesy Brisket Crunch also got a nod from New York Times.

Watershed Kitchen & Bar | 1145 Chesapeake Ave, STE D Columbus

In a piece highlighting the efforts of Watershed chef de cuisine Jack Moore and Service Bar executive chef Barua, Food & Wine’s Andrew Parks (dang, Food & Wine just adores Columbus!) discusses how the Columbus distilleries have earned a place among the city’s top dining destinations.

“In a lot of ways, Watershed’s success is a reflection of how Columbus has reimagined itself in recent years, with the city’s immigrant-powered restaurants getting the attention they deserve…and more chefs taking bigger risks,” says Parks.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

VASO | 6540 Riverside Dr, Dublin

Popcorn and Halibut Ceviche? In a wine glass? Coming right up!

You may think that combo is quite bizarre, but Esquire thinks Executive Chef David Belknap of VASO at AC Hotel Columbus Dublin and the mastermind behind the dish can change your mind.

Writer Justin Kirkland says Belknap’s experimental pairings are a challenges he likes to take on.

“It’s how he developed some of his most off the wall creations, including this one: a popcorn and ceviche dish that is somehow perfectly spicy, sweet, savory, and a little sour.”

Belle’s Bread | 1168 Kenny Centre Mall

Tucked back in an unsuspecting shopping center in a northern Columbus suburb is what Food & Wine calls “one of America’s best Japanese bakeries.”

Belle’s Bread thoroughly impressed writer David Landsel with its house-made “cream-filled brioche and curry donuts, melon rolls, spectacular-looking danish filled artfully with seasonal fruits, and some of the most perfect-looking loaves of sliced white bread you have ever seen.”

“This isn’t just a place to stop by for a bun and a coffee—this is cultural immersion, not just Japan, but modern-day Columbus, too,” wrote Landsel.

Marcella’s | 615 N High St, Columbus

This Short North favorite stole the appetite of New York Times writer Sebastian Modak. He couldn’t sing the spaghetti carbonara’s praises loud enough.

“I had a very good, if not exactly revelatory, spaghetti carbonara at Mr. Mitchell’s Marcella’s,” he wrote.

FUSIAN | Multiple locations

QSR Magazine has its eye on Ohio-based fast-casual sushi restaurant, FUSIAN. They slapped the establishment on their Summer 2017 40/40 list that names what they think are the best 40 fast-casual concepts with fewer than 40 units.

“We’d like to offer our stamp of approval for those brands we think stand the best shot at becoming the next big thing,” wrote QSR.

FUSIAN is right in the middle of the second tier out of four. They call tier two “On the cusp of greatness.” QSR Mag liked FUSIAN’s DIY sushi concept that allows customers to customize their sushi. They also complimented their chef-driven, signature menu items.

Did we forget your favorite local nationally-recognized dish or restaurant? Let us know in the comments below!

Continue Reading
Comments

Food & Drink

Restaurant Review: El Lugar and Alpine bring Spanish, German tapas to German Village

Avatar

Published

on

Displayed proudly along the wall behind El Lugar’s bar are rows and rows of canned seafood—not the ingredient of choice one might expect from an upscale tapas and pinchos restaurant, located in a city with a culinary scene that typically fawns over either traditional American, or fresh and local food. Nevertheless, the Espinaler cans of tuna, razor shells, and cockles reside there like a dare for those with adventurous enough appetites to try some of the finest seafood in the world. 

Photos by Julian Foglietti

El Lugar is a shared effort by co-owners Enis and A.J. Ndreu and Elidon Hizmo to bring new and authentic European flavors to Columbus. Their two new restaurants, El Lugar and Alpine, sit next door to one another and provide different, yet complementary experiences of Spanish and German cuisines. One side boasts a more family-friendly selection of meats, cheeses and hearty vegetables, while the other is fresh Mediterranean flavors of citrus and seafood. Both share an intriguing selection of signature cocktails. 

In contrast to El Lugar, Alpine features cuisine that showcases flavors from across Germany. Nicholas Paxton, the executive chef at both restaurants who was tasked with transforming the owners’ vision into menus, is neither German nor originally familiar with German food, so he brought in consultants more familiar with the region to help develop the recipes. “I love the authenticity that we provide here on the Alpine side,” Paxton said. “There’s a broad spectrum of what German food can be.”

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

Alpine is continuing the tradition of authentic regional food that has helped characterize German Village, where it and El Lugar are located. The two restaurants replaced Juergen’s Bakery, a community staple that provided Columbus with Bavarian-style fare for 50 years. Co-owner A.J. Ndreu said they’d been looking for a spot in the area to open up another German restaurant (they also own Wurst und Bier in Worthington), so when the opportunity presented itself, they jumped.

“I used to buy all my pastries from Rosemarie [Keidel, Juergen’s Bakery’s owner],” A.J. Ndreu said. 

“We just connected and she’s like, ‘I’d love for you to take over and make a German restaurant out of it.’ ”

With that, he and his cousin launched into bringing to life their concepts for German and tapas restaurants, which they’d been developing for a decade.

One of the most instrumental sources of inspiration for A.J. has been traveling around Europe. He lived in France, where he fell in love with French food. But once he experienced all the different ways Spanish cuisine used seafood, beef and pork, he was convinced otherwise. “I thought French food was the best cuisine in the world until I started going to Spain.”

The simplicity of Spanish food is a challenge for Paxton, who says his tendency when developing a recipe is to mess with its components. Spanish cuisine, in contrast, consists of ingredients that can speak for themselves; all Paxton has to do, he says, is figure out how they work together and wait for inspiration to hit.

Back in 2008, Anthony Bourdain traveled to Catalonia for his show “No Reservations” to explore the same flavors that intrigued Ndreu and Paxton. At a little bar about half an hour outside of Barcelona, Bourdain tried Espinaler’s canned seafood, and asked, “How can any chef do better for you than that?” Ndreu was captivated.

“I was like, ‘What the hell is he talking about? It’s canned,’ ” Ndreu puzzled. “So […] I went, and I was amazed. It’s unbelievable. It’s some of the best seafood I ever ate.”

After that, A.J. spent years trying to find a way to bring Espinaler’s products to Ohio, and he finally uncovered an opportunity in El Lugar. But besides the seafood, El Lugar also features Vermut Lacuesta—not the vermouth used for lining a martini glass, but a wine-like drink to be enjoyed on its own or in a cocktail. It also offers the Spanish serrano and ibérico hams, which can be cured for years. The more expensive of the two, ibérico ham comes from black pigs fed an acorn diet and can take up to five years to reach peak flavor.

Next door, Alpine’s menu describes dishes like leberkäse (a meatloaf) and wurstteller (a selection of sausages). Diners can also order raclette, available by the scrape, over any meal. But not forgetting that it’s still in the United States, Alpine offers a handful of American classics during happy hour. These include mini cheeseburger sliders, tater tots with beer cheese dip, and fried chicken wings, among others. 

Alpine and El Lugar present their guests with foreign foods that encourage diners to explore the culinary diversity of Europe. Portion sizes, particularly at El Lugar, may be a bit smaller, but Paxton hopes Columbus diners will recognize the value in great, unique-tasting food and finding excellence in unexpected places.

“We don’t want you to fill up on it. We want you to taste some amazing flavors that nobody else is doing,” Paxton said.

Alpine and El Lugar are located at 525 S 4th St. in German Village. Find out about Alpine at alpine614.com and El Lugar at ellugar614.com.

Continue Reading

Food & Drink

They’ll be nothing to wine about at these 9 local wineries

614now

Published

on

Everyone knows that Columbus is a craft beer city, but fortunately for those who never got acclimated to the yeasty drink, there’s wine. We may not have the best climate for grape growing, but these nine wineries around Columbus are breaking down barriers and serving up delicious bottles to vino lovers.

Camelot Cellars Winery | 901 Oak St, Columbus

Camelot Cellars, an award-winning Urban Boutique Winery, handcrafts all their own wines sourcing premier juices from vineyards all over the world. Offerings include retail wines by the bottle, wine tastings, flights, and event spaces.

Via Vecchia Winery | 2050 S High St, Columbus

This family-owned, urban winery is tucked away off a private lane and hosts 7700 square feet of exclusive venue space. With original exposed brick archways, wood ceiling beams and limestone walls, every experience is sure to be unforgettable.

Wyandotte Winery | 4640 Wyandotte Dr, Columbus

Wyandotte Winery is the first and oldest winery in Central Ohio, conveniently located just miles from Easton Town Center. With wines made from Ohio grapes and a beautiful patio to enjoy them on, you’re sure to enjoy your experience at Wyandotte Winery.

Signature Wines | 3816 April Ln, Columbus

Unlike many urban wineries, Signature Wines makes wines predominantly from whole grapes  and juices brought into Columbus from predominately California and Ohio using traditional, small scale winemaking techniques.  Stop into the Winery to enjoy a glass of wine in a comfortable atmosphere.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

Hidden Lakes Winery | 650 Winchester Pike, Canal Winchester

Hidden Lakes offers a delightful selection of house-made, award-winning wines and unique craft beers. Along with beverages, enjoy food from the newly-updated kitchen while taking in the scenic lakeside view.

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant | 4230 The Strand, Columbus

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants celebrates moments that matter with chef-crafted food, award-winning wines, and life-long friendships. Outstanding wine, modern fare, Napa-inspiring tasting room: Cooper’s Hawk.

Good Vibes Winery | 2 S State St, Westerville

Good Vibes Winery is an urban winery located in Uptown Westerville, offering guests a wine experience, bistro samplings, and a beautiful environment to be enjoyed by friends and family.

Plum Run Winery | 3946 Broadway, Grove City

Plum Run Winery is a family-owned winery focusing on small batches of quality wines made from locally sourced fruit. A 3-acre vineyard located five miles south of the winery provides many of the grapes for the estate wines. Stop by and enjoy the wine and hospitality!

Powell Village Winery | 50 Liberty St, Powell

As one of the first wine négociants in Ohio, Powell Village Winery sources, blends, and produces small lots of high quality vinifera wines from America’s notable grape-growing regions. From bold & dry to sweet & fruity, they strive to create a diverse range of distinct wines for every taste.

Continue Reading

Food & Drink

Tuttle Mall getting a lot sweeter thanks to 2 newcomers

614now

Published

on

Malls have changed a lot over the years. Remember Waldenbooks? Was KB Toys your go-to as a kid? Heck, even Sears will soon be nothing more than a memory.

While mall establishments are frequently lost to the sands of time, it’s rare that you see a former retailer return to a mall it’s already vacated once. Well brace yourselves, sweets fans, because a gooey, sugar-frosted favorite is making a comeback at Tuttle Mall.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

Of course we’re talking Cinnabon, which was last in operation at Tuttle some years ago, and is now listed as “coming soon” on the mall’s directory. But wait! As tempting as it will be to fill up on cinnamon rolls after this long absence, you’ll want to save room for this other coming attraction: it seems Duck Donuts is also setting up shop in Tuttle.

Hop on the treadmill and give your dentist a heads-up, mall lovers—sweets are back at Tuttle in a big way!

Continue Reading

No mo’ FOMO

Missing out sucks. That's why our daily email is so important. You'll be up-to-date on the latest happenings and things to do in Cbus + be the first to snag our daily giveaways

Shop Now!

The Magazines

X