The spring Dine Originals week kicks off tomorrow and, as usual, there are plenty of great dining options for value seekers and thrill seekers alike. Dine Originals Columbus has 47 members and with many of them are offering two or three distinct menus at different price points, reading through all of the options can be a little overwhelming. It’s also likely to make you extremely hungry.
We spent a couple of mouthwatering hours perusing the menus; what follows are a few of our thoughts and suggestions.
Dine Originals welcomed four new members this winter: Babushka’s Kitchen, Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace, Betty’s Fine Food and Spirits and the Jury Room. If you’ve been waiting for an excuse to try any of these newcomers, this week’s special menus are an excellent opportunity.
Rigsby’s Kitchen is one of our wonderful Short North tour stops, so we have been fortunate to try many of their dishes. One of our favorites appears on the Dine Originals lunch menu: Pappardelle with braised rabbit sugo. This is the also the first time Rigsby’s has offered a lunch menu as part of Dine Originals week. Another Short North tour stop that is participating in Dine Originals week is Tasi Cafe. We’re looking forward to trying their caldo verde, chicken taquitos and tres leche bites.
Several of our German Village tour partners are also participating in Dine Originals week. Barcelona are offering both lunch and dinner menus with lots of options and G. Michael’s had a great low-country inspired dinner menu. Pistacia Vera is offering a brunch/lunch special of their divine quiches with salad and a beverage. If you haven’t tried their quiche yet, add it to your ‘must eat’ list.
Culinary thrill seekers might like to try the crispy pig’s ear salad at Skillet or the crispy veal sweetbreads with duck egg hollandaise at Basi Italia. If you have a sense of adventure you might also try the ‘surprise’ menu at Alana’s.
Most of the restaurants are offering three course dinner options for either $20 or $30, but there are a few $10 dinner deals around if you look. One that caught our eye was at Bodega. They have recently expanded their kitchen and the new menu is getting great reviews. For Dine Originals week they are offering a smoked lobster roll or crawfish and cheddar grits fritters in etouffee sauce ($10 for lunch or dinner). Some of the restaurants (including Black Creek Bistro) are offering four courses and Tony’s is a whopping 5 courses for $30. Rigsby’s 3 course menu includes wine – a nice bonus. The Oak Room at the Granville Inn is offering optional wine pairings for $15 with their dinner menu.
If you gave up sweets for Lent there are plenty of set menus that just feature savory courses and deviate from the appetizer, entree, dessert model. They include Due Amici, Local Roots, The Old Mohawk, Chile Verde, Surly Girl Saloon and Z Cucina.
A few other things that caught our eye were: beer battered asparagus fries at Columbus Brewing Company, Crackerjack crusted salmon at The Top Steakhouse, Salvardorean pork pupusas at Katalina’s and ‘The Deepwood’ (a Dagwood style) Sandwich at Deepwood.
There are lots of options for vegetarians, and some that caught our eye were: Trattoria Roma, G. Michael’s, Elevator Brewery, Deepwood and Black Creek Bistro. The Worthington Inn specifies that they have gluten free and vegan options on request.
It’s fun to try and spot trends in the menus, and one that stuck out was a leaning towards creole-style dishes. Fans of creole flavors will find happiness at Bodega, Black Creek Bistro, G. Michael’s and The Old Mohawk.
As usual, The Refectory is offering a double Dine Originals week, so if you have trouble fitting everything you want to eat into one week you can make a reservation there for the following week and look forward to their flat iron steak with duck ravioli. Their special menu runs until March 17th.
You can view the menus online here or pick up the Alive menu supplement for a full listing.