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Review: I tried Fireproof Short North and it was lit

Review: I tried Fireproof Short North and it was lit

Regina Fox

In a building that’s been part of the High Street landscape for a century, a local management group is doing something the area has never seen before. Fireproof Restaurant & Bar is now open at 1026 N. High St., serving globally-inspired small plates in an entertaining and upscale lounge atmosphere.

Peerless Management Group strayed from the bar/night club reputation they gained from opening BBR and Dahlia to cater to the “grown adult” crowd, said PMG’s Adam Solomon. Fireproof aims to fill the hole between college bars and stuffy steak houses to give people in the “empty nester” demographic a reason to come to the city while also giving young people a new and exciting dining experience.

It all starts with the ambiance.

Guests are coaxed into the space by upbeat tunes courtesy of a live entertainer (“The type of music you bob your head to,” described Solomon). Warm lighting fixtures hang over comfortable booths and real wood fixtures (get it, fireproof?) break up the cool greyscale aesthetic. The heart of the restaurant is a large, oblong bar accented with copper touches.

Solomon encourages guests to make an entire evening of their Fireproof experience, meaning drinks are in order before even finding a table. For vino enthusiasts, the bar bodes a very impressive wine program both by the bottle and glass. With an innate ability to taste different flavor profiles, Solomon was able to curate a wine list guarantee to suit every palate. In the off chance it doesn’t, though, Fireproof’s cocktails are top notch.

Want to experience Fireproof for yourself? Check out the (614) Happy Hour Launch Party #1 and #2!

I sampled the Prickly Pear Margarita with a presentation just as wow-worthy as the flavor. The smokey and sweet notes of the Spanish Old Fashioned also had me rethinking my aversion to brown liquor drinks.

After a beverage or two to open the stomach, it’s time for the shareables to be passed ’round.

Originally, Fireproof was going to be a Spanish tapas restaurant, but Solomon and his crew didn’t like the idea of pigeon-holing themselves. While the menu does reflect a Spanish influence—like with the restaurant’s signature dish Gambas Al Ajillo—cuisines from all over the world have crept into the restaurant’s offerings in order to include more food people know and love.

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Mexico is presented with the lovely and simple Elote. Asia got a cameo with the Wagyu Beef Dumplings with ponzu dipping sauce. Pay a taste visit to Lebanon with Fireproof’s Baba Ghanoush. There are also Americana favorites like Pork Belly bites, Crispy Drumettes, and Skirt Steak.

Solomon wants the Fireproof dining experience to be “social and interactive,” which speaks to the way the food is presented.

“It’s meant to be put in the center of the table and shared,” explained Solomon, who hopes this family-style of eating promotes conversation among guests and the chance to find a new favorite food.

Most dishes are small, presenting the opportunity for guests to eat their way through the menu without becoming overwhelmingly full. But, with so much representation within the menu, it could be easy for guests to become intimidated. Rest assured, the Fireproof staff has been expertly trained to act as liaisons and make informed recommendations based on guests’ dietary restrictions and/or preferences.

Once you’ve had your fill of the exceptional food, it’s time to elongate your night and return to the oblong bar to keep the good times rolling.

Fireproof isn’t meant to be rushed—the cocktails, the courses, and the communication are meant to be savored. Great time and care was put into every aspect of the bar and restaurant which can only be appreciated if the same amount of time is taken to enjoy them.

So, Columbus, how’s about a night out? I hear Fireproof is lit.

Fireproof Restaurant & Bar is located at 1026 N. High St. For more information, visit fireproofcolumbus.com.

Take a virtual tour of Fireproof in the gallery below.
Note: use the left/right arrows in the upper-left corner to navigate between images.

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