In Ethiopian culture, it is said that people who eat from the same plate, known as mosseb, will never betray one another. Using injera (a crepe-like bread made of teff, wheat, and corn flours) to scoop up chunks of spiced stew to place in a dining partner’s mouth demonstrate the affection and trust that only a shared meal can forge. While they don’t expect guests to feed one another, the chefs at Blue Nile recreates these Ethiopian culinary traditions with a menu of authentic dishes that range from the spicy berbere sauce to milder stews and delicately seasoned lamb and chicken. Served at a mix of traditional Ethiopian tables with American-style tables and chairs, lamb, beef, and chicken dishes are share space alongside vegetarian options such as fresh eggplant, collard greens, and yellow split peas. These combination specials help up to four diners break bread together, encouraging them to share smiles, flavors, and suggestions for what origami animal to make out of the leftover bread.
W.G. Grinders puts hearty oven-baked sandwiches, hot pizzas, and crispy salads into on-the-go hands, mouths, and bellies. For the lightest level of W.G. Hunger, sink your fork into a signature salad ($5.99), including the meaty original Italian, chock-full chef, tangy buffalo chicken, and aptly located Southwest chicken salad. If flat topography eases your fear of toppling off a mound of greens, choose the single-topping 12-inch personal pizza ($7.99), which spreads sauce and sprinkles cheese over a thin crust and includes your choice of bacon, ham, sausage, green peppers, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, or banana peppers. For some Italian flair wrapped in Italian dough, grab a stromboli ($5.99). Your meal also includes a side—choose from chips ($1), side salad ($2), or deli salad ($2–$2.50)—and a 22 oz. fountain drink ($1.49).
Louie's Grill Fusion jazzes up everyday meals with south-of-the-border flavors from Mexico and Cuba that rouse snoozing, spice-craving taste buds. Dip a toe in the meal fountain with appetizers such as fried plantains ($5.49) or a towering plate of nachos ($6.99), or dive right in with a Fiesta burger ($9.79), a half pounder topped with fried onions, slivered avocado, and chipotle ranch with a side of sweet potato fries.
Yabo's Tacos showcases a menu to satisfy a range of appetites at both of its lively locations. A Baja-style menu dazzles palates with an array of fresh, made-from-scratch plates, including flavorful combinations of burritos, tacos, wraps and salads. Kid-friendly choices, fresh baked desserts, and specialty margaritas from the cantina round out meals. While dining, guests may watch their favorite sporting event on one of Yabo's many large-screen televisions. The buzz of a fun, festive atmosphere beckons families to partake in game-day outings or family dinners.
Sweet frosting on a layered petit four. Intricate notes emanating from a nearby piano. Steam rising off a teacup as it sits on a delicate saucer. Signs of old-world elegance permeate every corner of Mozart's Bakery and Piano Cafe, and owners Anand and Doris Saha wouldn't have it any other way. The European-trained couple had been slinging their famed tortes and sugary delicacies in the Columbus area for more than 17 years, having learned the ins and outs of pastry making when training in some of Europe's best restaurants and hotels. Mozart’s has more than 80 authentic European delicacies, which have snagged them titles including Best Dessert from Columbus Alive and Best Bakery from Columbus Monthly. Petit fours and truffles are created using imported ingredients from Europe. Continental favorites ranging from beef stroganoff and chicken cordon bleu to bavarian-style wiener schnitzel reproduce the timeless flavors found in dining rooms from Marseille to Munich.
During their European-inspired afternoon tea, a mini meal of pastries parades to tables arm in arm with a steaming cup of 1 of 16 different loose-leaf teas. Alongside decaf and herbal blends, english-breakfast, earl-grey, darjeeling, and rose-petal teas steep in mugs, letting mitts warm up after stealing the noses of arctic explorers. Canapés come in one-bite flavor explosions crowded with curried chicken salad, tomato and provolone, and smoked salmon with cream cheese. Miniature scones cloaked in devonshire cream and fruit preserves serve as diminutive feasts, and peach marzipan and chocolate petits fours, gluten-free truffles, or tea cookies drop a sweet curtain over the afternoon snack.
Soon, Mozart's culinary team will pair this commitment to European elegance with an equally stately local landmark: beginning in early 2013, the cafe will occupy a new spot in the historic halls of High Street's iconic Cord Camera building.
Old Blue Eyes casts his piercing gaze across the red-walled dining room as the opening strains of “Strangers in the Night” drift into the ears of diners seated at tables dressed in white linens. The aura of a refined 1960s club permeates every nook and cranny of Trattoria Roma, thanks in part to the assortment of framed Sinatra records and photos displayed behind the bar and the ever-present Rat Pack tunes playing throughout the day. Since its opening 22 years ago, the eatery's owners have fostered a cozy-yet-refined atmosphere bolstered by authentic Roman cuisine forged from local ingredients. This tradition continued eight years ago when veteran employee Shawn Mason took over the restaurant’s reigns from the original owners. Though he brought his own brand of hospitality to the mix, he made sure to uphold the kitchen’s tradition of high culinary standards.
As Shawn cheerfully chats with regulars scattered throughout the dining room and at the bar, his partner, chef Matthew Prokopchak, can be found architecting Italian eats with his crew in the kitchen. Having grown up learning the conventions of Italian cooking from his mother and aunts, chef Matthew integrates some of his family’s recipes into the menu, imbuing his dishes with a sense of history and tradition. He assembles his arsenal of fresh produce –from lush tomatoes to fragrant basil– from local farms. While the menu remains largely unchanged throughout the year, each night the friendly service staff sidles up to tables to detail the day's seasonal specials via verbal recitations or interpretive dances.
Amid the dining room’s ruby walls, a series of Orfeo Tamburi lithographs depicting post-WWII Rome––reportedly the only complete Tamburi collection in the United States––hang in elegant frames. The décor works in concert with the savory wafts of garlic emanating from the bustling kitchen to evoke a vintage Italian atmosphere.