Banana Leaf fills its dining room with platefuls of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free Indian meals cooked with fresh spices ground in-house. The juices from 16 curry dishes and seven rice specialties can be mopped from the plate with 10 different Indian breads and washed down with lassi drinks. Banana Leaf?s catering services, which serve small gatherings to weddings with more than 1,000 guests, both please party hosts and literally sustain festive homemakers stuck in a web of their own decorations.
Explorers Club's cozy, 100-year-old brick exterior lends a deceptively comfortable face to the restaurant's constantly experimenting kitchen. Owner Tracy Studer and Chef Dan Varga—both veterans of the late Harold Smith's Gloria Café—root their eatery's fare in playfully updated Latin American food such as chorizo sliders and plantain-topped burgers. Yet, Varga constantly flexes his culinary muscles with unusual menu additions such as his chili-citrus-flavored vegetable lo mein. Monthly menus jet around the globe—614 Magazine notes that after deciding on "a country or cuisine, [Varga] spends months researching the ingredients, history, and flavor profiles, and then experimenting in the kitchen," turning out tributes to Germany, Spain, and his ancestral Hungary. An impressive range of vegan and vegetarian options makes use of soy-based tempeh and tofu, catering to animal-loving humans and self-hating venus flytraps.
At Maanas, chefs create authentic selections of North- and South-Indian cuisine. Within the spacious, 5,000 square-foot dining area, groups can dine on vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, tasting traditional dishes such as paneer tikka masala or chicken vindaloo, or take part in a lunch buffet served daily. Additionally, the restaurant's amiable staff even invites guests to visit their kitchen, to take glimpses of the state-of-the-art facility and dishes currently being made-to-order.
The old saying goes that if you can't stand the heat, you should stay out of the kitchen. That rule is a little harder to follow at Shi Chi Japanese Steakhouse since the chefs bring the kitchen right to you, cooking on special hibachi grills set into the tables. But here the heat isn't simply utilitarian, as the sizzling tables provide the night's entertainment as well. The flames lick pieces of filet mignon, shrimp, and lobster as chefs toss them into the air and onto patrons? plates. In addition to the grilled fare, each hibachi dinner includes soup, salad, rice, vegetables, green tea, and a choice of vanilla ice cream or pineapple sorbet. And, to keep the fun and conversation flowing, the restaurant also serves a variety of domestic and imported beers and sake served hot, cold, and or frozen on-a-stick.
In the midst of invigorating cappuccino-colored walls, bold original artwork, and mirrors filled with smiling reflections, Phia Salon, an Aveda Lifestyle Salon, infuses hairs and pores with pure flower essences and plant-based botanical products. Four levels of talent are available to tackle every service, from an extensive list of cut and color services to hair extensions, waxing, and skin care. Each of their cut and color services is accompanied by a stress-relieving sensory experience that ranges from a mini facial to a soothing hand-and-arm massage.
Phia Salon extends Aveda's commitment to natural products and the environment to its own salon with eco-friendly business practices, such as constantly monitoring and recycling waste and using phosphate-free soaps. The salon’s cork floors are sustainably harvested and surrounded by eco-friendly paint on the walls, and the organic milk used in coffee and tea comes from local, grass-fed cattle who carpool to work.
At Knead—named Best New Restaurant 2010 by Columbus Monthly—the cooks toss salads with lettuce just plucked from the ground and fry eggs straight from the farm. Valuing farm-fresh ingredients, husband-and-wife team Krista and Chef Rick Lopez based their diner-style eatery's menu on ingredients available in Ohio. Rick and his team rotate in selections of sandwiches depending on the ingredients available from their area suppliers, which include local and specialty farmers and vendors and the nearby North Market. Year-round offerings include Grandwiches, which are embraced by house-baked bread and stuffed with locally procured morsels, such as pork shoulder and ham in the Cuban-OH and hormone-free beef and house-cured bacon in the KneaDaBurger.
The restaurant's commitment to local ingredients extends to its specialty drinks and desserts, all of which are made in-house. The sweet selections include oatmeal cream pie—made with from-scratch oatmeal cookies—and cork-size double-chocolate brownie bites, which give nibblers a sugar rush just long enough to say "cork-size double-chocolate brownie bites" three times fast.