According to a Columbus Alive article, Holy Smoke Barbecue owner Stan Riley is so dedicated to cooking his meats over freshly chopped wood that he has been known to haul tree trunks to the back of his restaurant and take an axe to them right there. He then puts the wood into his outside smokers. He told the magazine that the freshness of the wood was important because it determined the flavor of the smoked meats?the fresher the wood was, the more potent the flavor.
These flavorful meats include hand-carved brisket that has been in the smoker for more than 15 hours, St. Louis?style spare ribs, and smoked chicken. Signature sauces, such as spicy chipotle barbecue and sweet and smokey barbecue, finish them off. Customers can dine in a newly remodeled space complete with a full seating area and a bar.
Since 1985, Alex's Bistro on Reed has charmed diners with its seasonal take on American and European classics. These days, under the leadership of German-born and -trained chef Daniel Kern, the bistro's menu narrows its focus to French and Italian flavors. Using natural meats and sustainable seafood, Daniel pairs 8-ounce filet mignons with blue cheese potatoes and crowns risotto with a full pound of Maine lobster. Both dishes, like a bulk of Daniel's menu, are gluten free, and several other courses can be prepared without gluten. Whether gluten free or full, all feasts unfold within a spacious dining room rendered intimate with soft, romantic lighting.
When the sun cracks through the night sky, the chefs are already busy at The Best Breakfast and Sandwiches. They pop biscuits into the oven and stir pots of country gravy. Customizable omelets are stuffed with each customer?s choice of meats, cheeses, and veggies. Lunchtime hours find the grills and stoves lit for slabs of chicken or reuben sandwiches featuring in-house corned beef. Chefs also mix their own chicken and tuna salads, which are tucked into sandwiches or ladled atop salads.
Craig and Laura Decker seem to have a difficult time making up their minds. They also seem to have a knack for turning this indecisiveness into an advantage at every turn. When it came to opening their new business, for example, they briefly wondered whether it should feature a wine shop, a wine bar, or a gourmet bistro. Their solution? All three.
This spirit of inclusivity pervades The Wine Guy Bistro, where the Deckers pair seasonal wine varietals with globally inspired cuisine. Rather than choose between European elegance and New-American pizzazz, they settled on a compromise they describe as “Old World chic.” This label suits a menu that features small plates of housemade meatballs and bruschetta alongside assorted cheeses from around the world. The focus on small plates is in keeping with the Deckers’ have-it-all mentality and gives diners the option to sample several dishes without having to barter with adjacent tables.
Blue Ginger’s chefs have no shortage of sources when they need inspiration for their next dish. Rather than limit their scope to a single region or country, they scan recipe books from across Asia and pick out their favorites as starting points. Some of the recipes they dig up date back centuries, but they’re more interested in looking toward the future than dwelling on the past.
It’s certainly a bright future they envision—one in which the best elements of various Asian cuisines have joined forces in the same dishes. There are even some influences from outside Asia that make it into the mix, as the duck fajitas and pan-roasted chilean sea bass will attest. This inclusive spirit isn’t just limited to the food. An extensive drink menu features imported beers, martinis blended with sake, and cocktails stirred with miniature world flags.
At C'est Si Bon Cafe, crepe-makers take the delicate, ultra-thin French-style pancakes and fold them over both sweet and savory ingredients while patrons look on. The buttery pockets hold everything from roast beef, blue cheese, saut?ed mushrooms and onions, fresh arugula, and a bourbon sauce to Nutella, bananas, and pecans. The reviewer at Columbus Underground particularly loved the dessert crepes, calling the Banana "dynamite" and saying "its butter and brown sugar make the flavors blend into something akin to old-school dessert favorite, Bananas Foster."
C'est Si Bon Cafe's hand-scrawled chalkboard menu shows off the crepes, which can accommodate gluten-free diners. Staffers also assemble breakfast crepes.