Vittoria cofounder Vince Romanelli hearkens back to his hometown of Alvito, Italy, with a menu of modern and Old-World Tuscan dishes. The kitchen crafts tender housemade pastas for traditional eats such as chicken cannelloni and lemon-pepper linguine tossed with shrimp, and veal osso buco simmers in white wine and spices. Beneath the barrel-vaulted ceiling of a large, open dining area, patrons can also dig into updated entrees such as a pistachio-crusted breast of chicken adorned with marsala-caramel sauce. For dessert, chefs fill tarts with lemon curd made from Vittoria's signature limoncello and surround amaretto and white-chocolate napoleons with fluctuating borders of raspberry coulis. Wines and cocktails from behind Vittoria's marble-topped bar pair with dinner or with the musical stylings of local bands nightly.
Dishes as vibrant and diverse as the UN’s annual Mardi Gras celebration deck the tabletops at Kogen’s, the seventh Asian-influenced eatery borne from the Mark Pi restaurant group. Drawing inspiration from Japanese street food, Chinese dry-food markets, and upscale American cuisine, the chefs craft an artful and varied menu that embodies both traditional favorites and experimental creations. Here, helpings of pad thai and hunan chicken share real estate with kung pao lo mein and sashimi platters. The signature sushi rolls dabble in a range of flavors, for example, the Margarita roll combines spicy tuna with avocado, lime, and wasabi mayo, and the Fire Dragon roll sets tongues ablaze with tempura shrimp, spicy tuna, spicy mayo, and sriracha sauce.
Mulan Asian Bistro mines the culinary history of China and Thailand to build the entrees and signature noodles dishes that fill the lunch and dinner menus. The dan-dan garlic noodle dish with chicken accessorizes a nest of egg noodles and bean sprouts with a spicy coat of ground chicken stir-fried with scallions, garlic and chili peppers ($5.95 for lunch, $8.50 for dinner). Morsels of battered chicken breast share space with broccoli-cap roommates in orders of sesame chicken ($6 for lunch, $10.25 for dinner), fighting over how much sauce each piece gets and making a chore wheel to decide which has to clean the plate. Coax forth spice-driven salivations with the thai red curry shrimp's bowl of bell peppers, bamboo shoots, and shrimp bobbing in a simmering mixture of sweet coconut milk and spicy red curry ($7 for lunch, $10.95 for dinner). Vegetable entrees break from the meaty chains of traditional proteins with herbaceous items such as the spicy mala string beans ($5.50 for lunch, $7.35 for dinner), which can also double as a vegan-friendly medium for tin can telephones.
The recently renovated brick walls and dark wood paneling of The Bogey Bar and Grill embrace patrons and soak up the warm aromas of a menu of time-tested pub fare. Enjoy a football game or a competitive horse-heckling match on one of The Bogey's many flat-screen televisions while taking on an imaginative appetizer such as the tomato tartare, which gives roasted tomatoes and fresh mozzarella a basil-tinged balsamic bath ($6). The fried calamari, a golden-battered deep-sea treasure, arrives on plates chaperoned by tangy lime and chipotle-tequila mayo ($9). The Bogey's chefs conduct dough-and-sauce symphonies with pizzas such as the Catalonian, a sweet chorus of manchego cheese, bell peppers, and chorizo ($15 for hand tossed, $12 for flatbread). On Thursday nights, crowds sashay to live music while flexing mouth muscles on ambitiously piled sandwiches. The Bogey's signature entree, pan-seared salmon, satisfies game-day appetites and gives patrons the athletic pep of a half-time speech from a Ferrari ($17).
Ohio may be in the Midwest, but the menu at Windy City BBQ Ribs aims to transport diners to another part of the country. Chef and pitmaster Brandon Shy lives up to his slogan of “Put some south in your mouth!” with a heaping spread of southern-style barbecue, from smoked ribs and rotisserie chicken to Dixie sides such as and potato salad and collared greens. Guests can sign their name on the eatery’s Wall of Fame after enjoying a meal in the small indoor and outdoor seating areas. The meat emporium shuts down each day when the food is gone, so calling or sending up smoke signals in advance is recommended.
For 10 years, Wholly Joe's has provided the Columbus metro area with made-to-order Chicago-style eats and treats, saving residents a trip to the eerie, ghost-laden terrain of northeastern Illinois. Joe's uses authentic Chicago-sourced ingredients (including Italian sausage, Italian beef, sport peppers, and Turano Bakery breads) to capture the Windy City's savory, meat-packed cuisine. While Joe's does offer traditional Italian and grill fare—burgers, chicken and fish sandwiches, and pastas—its commitment to the mythic triumvirate of deep-dish pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs, and Italian beef is what keeps visitors' salivary glands replacing their th's with d's. The hand-shaped deep-dish pizza ($14.99 for 12", $16.99 for 14") is made from scratch (Chicago's most abundant commodity after political corruption) and can be topped with Second City staples such as Italian sausage, bacon, and hot peppers. Encased-meat enthusiasts can sample an original all-beef hot dog ($2.75) or Polish sausage ($3.35) with mustard, relish, chopped onions, sliced red tomatoes, cucumber, kosher pickle, and sport peppers—all stuffed into a steamed poppy-seed bun like so many cans of beans in a hobo's bindle. The Italian-beef sandwich ($5.39) features a pile of succulent, thinly sliced roast beef on French bread, soaked in the natural juices of its own delicious iniquity, and can be partnered with a side of crinkle-cut fries (regular, $1.89) or a Chicago-style tamale ($1.99).