Top Shelf Mixologist dispatches licensed and certified bartenders to serve guests at private parties, weddings, and other events. These bartenders draw upon decades of experience as they mix together a variety of cocktails and beverages from customer-provided liquor, creating classic drinks or working around a theme.
The menu at Tadka features dishes of double-fried tofu and hot-garlic beef point to Sichuan influence, while tomato-chili paneer and curried noodles brim with Indian spices. Whatever the culinary inspiration, cooks create each dish from scratch at the moment it's ordered. Once ready, servers ferry the feasts to tables in a red and mustard-yellow dining room adorned with waterfalls, Asian accents, and black stalks of bamboo.
Now entering the fourth generation of familial ownership, Ding Ho continues its 55-year tradition of prepping and polishing plates stacked creatively with savory meats. Although many delectable dishes compete for top honors, regulars often launch off from the safe, satiating platform provided by an order of crispy egg rolls ($1.50 each). The char sue bok toy arrives steaming with barbecued pork with Chinese greens in a hot pan ($7.75 dinner only), and the kung pao beef engulfs taste buds with beef, diced vegetables, and peanuts glazed with a hot, spicy sauce ($9.50 dinner only). For eclectic forkfuls of flavor, noodle mavens can indulge in orders of lo mein with pork ($5.75/lunch, $8/dinner), vegetables ($5.25/lunch, $7.50/dinner), or beef ($5.75/lunch, $8.50/dinner) or dig through the curry-splashed Singapore rice noodles in search of buried teeth treasures such as shrimp, chicken, and barbecued pork ($9.95 dinner only).
Among its accolades and titles, Weiland's has also been known for more than 40 years as the "Ultimate Meat Market" ever since the bar by that name closed down due to unshakable shame. Get your Henry the Eighth on during the summer grilling season with a fresh capon and accompany it with local cheeses such as Oakvale Gouda (produced about an hour away in London) or Ohio Blue Jacket Dairy's array of plain and flavored fromages. You can also buy local with Daisyfield pork from Sandusky or Weiland's very own salmon sausage. Otherwise, liven up your next summer cookout or paper-doll picnic with a selection of up to 25 kinds of fresh fish—including yellowfin tuna, certified organic salmon, domestic swordfish, and hand-cut catfish—and a side of fresh-baked bread or one of the seasonal pies from Columbus's own Just Pies. Gourmet groceries such as jellies, jams, chutneys, and sauces from Stonewall Kitchens, French lemonades, Madhouse Munchies, Talenti gelato, and more add a sophisticated touch to an unaccompanied cheese plate or barren hot dog. Prices and specials vary, but a recent special offered St. James Smokehouse smoked salmon in six all-natural flavors (including lemon, garlic, honey, and pastrami) for $7.35, with a pound of Genoa salami going for $4.99 at the deli.
Referencing the tasty time-honored recipes of his grandmother, J. Gumbo's founder, Billy Fox Jr., designed a comforting menu of home-style sustenance. All dishes are prepared using only the freshest ingredients and zestiest spices available, as well as enough love to turn a wooden puppet into a real boy and a sock puppet into a foot. Dive fork first into a hearty bowl of jambalaya, bursting with tender chicken, sausage, and the ubiquitous "trinity" of Cajun cuisine: bell pepper, onion, and celery ($6.50). To deliciously deny the impending mitten season, wrap your hands around a voodoo-chicken po' boy sandwich, a belly-warming feast of spicy chicken and green onions atop french bread ($7.25). The menu is friendly to mild-mannered and thrill-seeking diners alike, with each entree item labeled according to heat––one hot-sauce bottle denotes mild, whereas three signifies a concentration of capsaicin powerful enough to send tongues rocketing to the sub-zero climes of Pluto in search of relief.