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The Weekender: Three $$$ restaurants worth the spend

The Weekender: Three $$$ restaurants worth the spend

Alyson Strickler-Vazquez

I get excessively excited when people ask for restaurant recommendations, especially when I rattle off a list of Columbus’ best they have yet to try. You may see the price tags and assume stuffy and pretentious, but these restaurants focus on quality and ingenuity, each with a unique vibe. These restaurants I consider last meal worthy.

Veritas provides an incomparable dining adventure devised by Chef Josh Dalton. There is no difficulty in deciding because you are at the mercy of Dalton’s imagination and his team’s delicate plating skills as they excite your curiosity with a multi-coursed chef-selected tasting menu. Veritas feels like an underground foodie haven, and their rotating dinner clubs during Covid still haunt my palate (yes, I am still craving their cricket salsa). My public plea is for Dalton to bring back his Mexican dinner club because it was worthy of a Michelin star. Veritas also offers over-the-top cocktails and wines that are curated to pair with your courses harmoniously.

Insider tip – if you want to experience Dalton’s genius but don’t think a tasting menu is for you, check out Citizens Trust or his other restaurants Speck Italian Eatery and 1808 American Bistro in Delaware.


Kai’s Crab Boil dumps flavor-packed seafood onto paper-covered tables in a small shopping plaza on Bethel Road. Plastic bags full of crawfish, crab legs, mussels, and any other crustacean you deem delicious, come drenched in warm butter and Kai’s Kajun house seasoning. The seafood, always fresh, is ordered by the pound so you can mad-scientist the perfect creation, and don’t forget to add in a few redskin potatoes, sausage, and corn on the cob. I recommend starting with the house-made cornbread and deep-fried hushpuppies for complete crab-boil experience immersion.

Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse employs one of the best hospitality teams in central Ohio. Walking into their Short North location, you feel the swagger of the city, constructing an unmatched romantic escape. My go-to steak is The Scarlet & Grey, a perfectly named 40oz. marbled tomahawk ribeye perfectly charred and complimented by a buttery mid-rare center. Hyde Park offers an extensive menu of traditional steakhouse fare that’s unparalleled in quality and easily shared. Some must-have sides are creamy sherry poached lobster bisque, nutty and aromatic wedge salad, and luscious lobster mac n’ cheese crowned in a golden bubbly cheese crust.

Inspiring, delicious, and worth remembering, keep this trio in mind the next time you are celebrating a life achievement, or just craving an exceptional meal. 

If you like this, read: The Weekender: Craveable Cronuts

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