It’s been a long gray winter in Central Ohio, but after a few days of glorious sunshine spring seems to be on the horizon. Time to stop hiding under blankets and get out and about. If the promise of spring makes you want to get out of the house and try something new, there are some opportunities this week to break out of your winter comfort zone.
This week (March 8th-14th) is Dine Originals Restaurant Week, giving you the chance to sample fixed price menus at 40 plus of Columbus’s independent restaurants. The list includes many of the best restaurants in the city and it is a lower cost way to try somewhere that you have always wanted to. Columbus now seems to have a surfeit of restaurant weeks (3 a year) and my highlights of past restaurant weeks have been Pistacia Vera, Alana’s, Sage and G Michaels. [pictured above: Osso Buco at G Michael’s at the 614 restaurant week]
If you don’t feel like a three course dinner, happy hour can be another low risk way chance to try somewhere. My favorite happy hours at the moment are Rigsby’s, especially for the Monday night $1 oysters and their every day 3 small plates for $10 (try the smoked salmon crostini) and Deepwood (try the mozzarella fritters and frites). [pictured above is the pork belly appetizer at Deepwood]
If you are a pizza fan and looking to branch out from your default pie provider then next Sunday’s Pizza Grand Prix V is for you. Bring your favorite pizza to share and try a range of pizzas from all over the city. Not a take-out pizza purchaser? Then you can enter the home-made pizza competition and learn from pizza pioneer Dave from Weber_cam as he fires up his modified weber grill. There are some interesting new pizza places in Columbus including Clever Crow (at Circus Bar) and Yellow Brick Pizza in Olde Towne East. The above pizza is the carbonara pizza from Bono Pizza and below is the Big O from Yellow Brick Pizza.
If Dine Originals and Pizza aren’t offering enough novelty for you, then Columbus has a wealth of ethnic restaurants and off-the-beaten track hidden gems. Trying a new cuisine can be a mini travel adventure within the confines of 270. Ethiopian, Salvadorean, Ecuadorean – there’s plenty to choose from. We have been on a Vietnamese kick recently with big bowls of steaming pho to warm us up on frigid evenings, and light fresh rolls and noodle salads for a taste of the season to come.
Clockwise from top left: delicious nem nuong cuon (pork on sugar cane stick rolls) at the newly opened Pho Hoa Jennie Cali on Refugee Road; Surprising and refreshing Jellyfish salad at China Jade near 161/71; steaming Pho Tai Bo Vien (noodle soup) at Huong on Morse Road; crispy Bahn Xeo (Vietnamese Crepe with shrimp, pork and mung beans) at Huong on Morse Road. Other favorite Vietnamese restaurants include Indochine on South Hamilton Road and Mi Li Cafe in Columbus Square, off Cleveland Avenue.
What do sunny days and the promise of spring make you hunger for?