Whether it’s sports, entertainment, or cooking, no all-star anything is complete without its sidekick. What’s Batman without Robin? Who’s Michael Jordan without Scottie Pippen? And maybe the most important question, what’s a burger without fries?
I’m here to argue that a burger without fries is just a sad and lonely sandwich. The world is a better place with sides. Could you imagine Thanksgiving with no sides? It would be a nightmare. Thankfully, we don’t have to live in a world without entree sidekicks. These are just a few of the can’t-miss menu options here in Columbus.
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
Philco Bar and Diner | 747 N High St.
If caramelized onions can make a $10 burger cost $15, it’s a damn steal that Philco’s side of caramelized brussels costs only $5. The dish truly lets the flavor of the vegetable do the heavy lifting as it’s minimally seasoned with salt and pepper, and tossed in olive oil. But the caramelization process highlights the “meaty” flavor of the brussels while also providing for some crispy and crunchy leaves that fell off during the cooking process.
Sesame Stir Fry Snap Peas
Mitchell’s Ocean Club | 4002 Easton Station
A trip to Mitchell’s Ocean Club is typically on a special occasion—graduations, anniversaries, birthdays—and that usually means the focus is on a stellar seafood entrée, but making a meal out of a single item is no way to celebrate anything.
Nearly every side dish is elevated at Cameron Mitchell locations, but the sesame stir fry snap peas are perfect with everything from steaks to salmon. The simple side features fresh snap peas sauteed in a savory sesame sauce and topped with sesame seeds for the visual pop and textural crunch. The subtle sweetness of snap peas combined with the savory sauce creates for a perfect umami marriage.
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White Cheddar Grits
Hubbard Grille | 793 N High St.
Just because Columbus isn’t in the South doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy southern favorites here like grits. At Hubbard Grille, this Southern treat is on the menu with a slight spin which comes in the form of white cheddar. Anyone who has experienced a bad bowl of grits knows how off-putting they can be—for lack of better words, they become… gritty.
Luckily, the experience at Hubbard is nothing like that. The grits hold their texture without becoming too firm or too mushy, and white cheddar is a great cheese that won’t overpower the dish with too much cheese (if that’s even a thing?) while adding depth, richness, and creaminess.
Elote Mexican Corn Cob
Katalina’s | 1105 Pennsylvania Ave.
Katalina’s has seemingly stolen the city’s heart by way of pancake balls, but that’s not the only delicious dish they have tucked away on Pennsylvania Avenue. Whether you order it straight from the menu, or it comes with your order of breakfast tacos, the elote Mexican corn cob is quite literally dripping with flavor. The quartered corn cob is rolled in guajillo pepper from North Market Spices, smoked paprika, parmesan, and Sriracha-lime aioli. While it is just as messy to eat as you imagine, it’s worth all the stains you might risk on your shirt.
Two Dollar Radio Headquarters | 1124 Parsons Ave.
Similarly to Katalina’s elote corn on the cob, you can snag the cowboy caviar from the regular menu, or as a side to your entrée. The important thing is that you order it. The vegan dish (caviar can be vegan, too) has a relatively simple ingredients list, but these ingredients combined together pack a real punch when it comes to flavor. The bean salsa is zesty and hearty and served with avocado to add some “fat” to your protein-packed dip as well as tortilla chips from Koki’s Tortillas in the Hilltop.