Bon vivant, raconteur and generally artsy fellow Ralph occasionally sends us his comments and reviews that we publish in the Innerart website's Food Review. Here are his latest entries:
Great Eats, Low Prices… Downtown
Now that Jan and I have lived in the Short North for 8 years and in the Arena District for almost five months, I thought it might be well to report to you some of the great discoveries we have made. This isn’t to say we have given up cooking here at home, but let’s just say that we have found many cost-effective alternatives! Keep in mind this is by no means a complete list of places and specials, just the ones we like and that are within walking distance from our loft – not that we really WALK to all of them (biking is good when the weather is good, and driving IS an option). They are listed in no particular order.
1. The Red Star Tavern on Nationwide Blvd. Tuesday is “Buck a Burger Night”, along with half price on draft beers and selected appetizers. There is always a “Buggyworks contingent” down there. Great value and a short walk for us.
2. RJ Snappers. Good deals on bar specials almost every night. On Mondays and Wednesdays Fish and Chips are $8 and selected beers are $2. On Thursdays a
3. Morton’s. The Steakhouse is hidden in Nationwide Two on High Street. Buy a drink at the bar between 5 and 7 pm Monday-Friday and enjoy the complimentary tenderloin sandwiches – inexpensive and quick dinner and great atmosphere.
4. Rigsby’s Still my one of my favorite restaurants for fine dinning. M-F 5-7 they have what they call the “Classy Hour”. This may be the best value for a high-end restaurant in Columbus. Complimentary appetizers at the bar (limited selection). Drinks are full price but the wine selection is superb, and reasonably priced. We ordered the mussels and the Greek meatballs in addition to the wine and the $4 martini.
5. My runner up for favorite restaurant is The Rossi. They really don’t have any specials, but their Lamb lollipops for $9, Yukon Gold French Fries $4, and the Duck Spring Rolls $8 are a real value. And they have one of the city’s best pizzas ($14 for the one that’s bigger than two people should eat) - it is based on the Lombardi pizza in Brooklyn NY. The Rossi is near the end of our walking distance, though NorthStar Café and White Castle are only one block further north on High St..
6. The Press Grill is just full of good values with something every night.
Monday is Nathan’s Famous Hot dogs 2 for $3 bucks; Tuesday is 35 cent wings; Wednesday, 99 cent taco’s; Friday, 2 cheeseburgers & Fries for $6.95; Thursday after 5pm is Thanksgiving Dinner for $9.95 and Sunday is 12 oz. Strip Steak for $9.95. I got hungry just writing this.
7. Due Amici, Monday 1/2 price on wine’s 5-11 pm. They are planning a movie night to begin in March. They always have great well priced and well prepared Italian food.
8. Spice Bar. Great outdoor dinning in warm weather, cozy inside now. Lots of specials: Tuesday is a 14oz Sirloin steak for $10; Wednesday - wings are 15 for $5; Thursday is a $3 Pizza, and Friday is a $3 Spice burger. Happy Hour is 4:30 to 8 M-F; Oh I almost forgot $3 Long Island Ice Tea, $2 Cosmos and Margaritas.
9. Basi Italia. The real Italian deal, hidden away in Highland Alley. Very limited seating indoors but wonderful outdoor dining in good weather. They offer a prefix menu between 5-5:30pm – don’t be late or you’ll miss it! Appetizer, entrée, and desert for $20. In the summer they have Vino on the Veranda.
10. Liu Pon-Xi. Pan-Asian restaurant from the creator of Haiku. They offer _ off all of their appetizers from 3-7:30pm M-F. Try the short ribs - they are really yummy!
11. And for lunch, try Betty’s Bar on Nationwide Blvd right across the street from The Buggyworks. Hand formed half-pound hamburgers cooked to order, served with chips and pop for $5, Monday-Friday at lunchtime (around 11-1).
Other restaurants close by (us) that we also like are Ted’s Montana Grill, O’Shaughnessy’s, Bar Louie, Kooma, Zen, Gordon Biersch, Buca di Beppo, Elevator Brewery, The Happy Greek, The Burgundy Room. And soon Rosendale’s will add yet another option for fine dinning downtown. Hope to see you soon, enjoy.
Jan and Ralph
Of Noodles, Dance, Jazz and Venus
My first week on my new job and I find that I am compelled to once again tell you about some things I have discovered, and some things I have re-discovered.
First is Noodles. This is a new restaurant located at 1390 West Fifth Ave. Recently I have heard about this place and every time I passed it, the lot was full. So not wanting to wait in line at what I perceived as “just another fast food hot spot I didn’t bother to stop. My loss.
This is just not another new concept of the same old same old. This is wonderful. Yes, you must stand in line to place your order. (Though you could phone in an order) Noodles has divided the menu into three major categories; Asian, Mediterranean, and American. Each has four selections, and surprise they are all noodle dishes. You may customize them by adding “Proteins” (Chicken, beef, shrimp and tofu.) You may also add a wide range of “Veggies” Each category also offers a soup and a salad. That compliments the Entrée’s. When your meal is served, and it will be delivered to your table on real plates, it will be fresh and hot. If there is a fly in this soup it could be that it isn’t easy to figure out how to order. There is so much to choose from and they offer three options as to size. You may want to pay some attention to that as it will impact your bill and might also cause you to have significant left-overs. (They have containers for you to take it home, since I think this is not uncommon) Jan and I ordered Bangkok Curry with shrimp, Indonesian Peanut Sauté also with shrimp, The Thai Curry soup, Chinese Chop Salad, all from the Asian section. Jan also ordered the Caesar Salad from the American section. It was a lot to eat but we were up to the challenge.
We were amazed at the richness of flavors and that everything was very fresh with no grease at all. Jan’s Peanut Sauté was even spiced perfectly. The Caesar Salad had freshly grated parmesan cheese and plenty of it.
I am not going to describe each dish; it would take more time than I am sure you want to take. But you do need to try this place out when you want something healthful, quick and relatively inexpensive. Check out the web site at www.noodles.com Sneaking good stuff into your diet since 1995. This is a cool place.
Ok, you have heard me sing the praises of Ballet Met before. But you really must take a closer look at this company even if you don’t think you like dance. The look, and energy of this company, and the fact that they are not a traditional “Ballet company” should inspire you to give them a chance. It is too late for Rendezvous at the Riffe, (and you really missed a great performance) but you still have time to get seats for Whodunit? March 8th to 18th A World Premiere! At The Capitol Theater
On Valentines Day, Jan and I had dinner with some new friends and went to listen to The Jazz Arts Orchestra. This was not the first time we have heard them play but it was the first time we have attended a regular performance. And what a performance it was. The second half belonged to two guests (and the orchestra) Gerald Wilson one of the true legends of the Jazz world and Anthony Wilson; Gerald’s son and a world class talent on his own. When you add the energy of JAG’s Byron Stripling it is really a magic evening. To recite the play list would not describe the energy and power this orchestra generates. But for those of you that know they started with “Sing, Sing, Sing and went from there. They have a couple of up-coming concerts March 14-18th, featuring the music of Miles Davis. April 18-22nd featuring the music of Cole Porter. You should not miss this.
I love Peter O’Toole. Lawrence of Arabia changed my life in many ways. (I will spare you that information) I am sure part of it was the superb acting job O’Toole did in capturing the very quirky character of Lawrence. Through the years O’Toole has continued to entertain us, but his latest film “Venus” again speaks to me in ways similar to that of Lawrence. The film is playing at the Drexel Grandview, try to see it.