Dough flips through the air, releasing a cumulonimbus of flour as it lands softly in the hands of chef David Zadnik, who crafts the crucial ingredient each day with help from local ingredients and family recipes. The heritage of the eatery doesn’t just shine through in culinary formulas; the walls at both locations shimmer with old family photos from David's basement and glossy sports memorabilia. Strains of Frank Sinatra spread out smoothly behind conversations in dining rooms dappled with warm wood accents, occasionally spilling out to an outdoor patio or across the Westerville location's outdoor bocce-ball court. Guests sit down for pastas, sandwiches, and suds from Great Lakes Brewery and Peroni, often unaware that these tables held a victory dinner for pugilist Buster Douglas when he returned from defeating Mike Tyson in Japan, but before he picked up his victory dry cleaning.
Every morning, Rita's Italian Ice's dessert-makers show up to work and start smashing fruit to bits. They extract the juices, natural sugars, and sweet flesh of each to infuse into their freshly-made italian ices. The ices pair well with custards and creams for mixed treats, or serve as refreshingly cool treats on their own. The staff even take small groups on behind-the-scenes tours of their kitchens, teaching the secrets to freezing mango juice into a silky-smooth texture or milking a banana.
Fans of battered appetizers will appreciate Mudflats' expansive selection. Dunk fried pickle chips into vats of ranch ($5.49), or try the potato skins ($6.99), full loaded with melted cheddar, crispy bacon, and sour cream. For those preferring a lighter bite, opt for a signature salad such as the Sunburst ($9.99), a fresh and fruity favorite with baby spinach, fruit, feta, red onion, nut brittle, and homemade cinnamon Tabasco vinaigrette. You'll also find a sizable list of sandwiches and burgers.
The expert teppanyaki chefs at Ichiban use their iron griddles as the primary tools in building a menu that sizzles with steaks, seafood, and noodle dishes, and a sushi bar that unfurls with makimono. Although the sushi wears its Japanese pride on its seaweed sleeve, both steakhouses also boast a streak of avant-garde international influence, with such offerings as the seared salmon roll––salmon skin and cucumber topped with seared salmon and salsa ($13). The Crazy roll's deliciousness makes diners believe that their tongues are flavor magnets with morsels of shrimp tempura, avocado, flying-fish roe, and spicy mayo ($7). Hibachi dinner entrees—such as the filet mignon and scallops ($22.95)—arrive with an entourage of sides that include two pieces of shrimp tempura, vegetables, and steamed rice (substitute fried rice for $1.65).
Q2 Bistro's menu of Cantonese-inspired dishes features family-developed recipes as well as flavor combinations hand-me-downed from the master chefs of China. Wake up your taste buds with spicy salty calamari ($6.95) and walnut shrimp ($6.95), or put a crabby tummy growl to rest with an appetizer platter of two crab rangoons, two spring rolls, and two egg rolls ($7.50). After taking down these edible opponents one at a time with flying forks of fury, entrust your taste buds to the man in charge by trying a chef specialty such as the Mongolian trio (tiger shrimp, beef, and chicken sautéed with white and green onions in a spicy Mongolian sauce, $11.25) or spicy pineapple fried rice ($10.55). Q2 also boasts a wide selection of signature rice pots, including the hoisin duo with tofu (tender slices of beef and chicken sautéed with tofu, broccoli, mushrooms, water chestnuts, and bamboo shoots, $10.95), goncho beef with green beans (wok-flashed beef stir fry with green beans, $10.75), and eggplant with minced pork (served in a spicy Szechwan sauce, $10.55). For a more traditional standby, opt for a plate of kong pao chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp ($8.95–$9.95).
Catering to dessert-starved people of all lifestyles, the dessert crafters at Josie's Yogurt create mouthwatering flavors with health-conscious ingredients. Using pure crystalline fructose, a fruit-based sugar with a low glycemic index, allows the sweets stirrers to tempt palates without using traditional sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, cookbook cutouts of turkeys, or other unhealthful additives. Josie's offers many flavors that rotate through stores in groups of 12; Georgia peach swirls into cups with the ease of a southern drawl, and chocolate mousse allows customers to savor the pleasure of sampling a rich dessert without the guilt of having to steal the dessert cart. Regular, low-calorie, and sugar- and lactose-free options regularly dot the menu, filling bowls before being covered with selections from the 36 topping options and five sauces.