I have to admit, it’s one of my favorite times of the year. I love Dine Originals Week and the time just preceding it, when I can click through all the different menus and get my game plan together. This month’s DOC week runs Monday, March 7th through Sunday the 13th.
The 53 fine establishments that are part of the Dine Originals family are helmed by some of Columbus’s best chefs. And they are a deeply creative bunch. They make my job of deciding where to have dinner next week very, very difficult. The restaurants all offer three course menus for $10, $20 or $30. A price for every pocketbook and palate.
It’s like choosing a favorite child. But here are a few ideas:
- Take a little drive out to Granville to visit Short Story Brasserie. Offering two dinner menus, each for $30, you’re spoiled for choice. Especially because some of the choices include Lobster Borsin stuffed chicken or a cassoulet withMerguez and duck confit. As an FYI the two weeks following DOC is Black Truffle Madness. Something that I would like to experience.
- Stop in at The Clarmont for lunch or dinner. This Columbus institution founded in all the way back in 1947 is offering one lunch menu at $10 and two dinner menus, one at $20 and one at $30. While you’re there, try a Twixlen 2.0 (named after my friend Lori’s twitter handle) with limoncello, sambuca and Cointreau, plus some lemon and blood orange bitters. Tasty tipple.
- Make a reservation at Alana’s, which can always be counted on for some surprises. It is a truly chef-driven, seasonally-focused restaurant. This time, Alana offers a $30 menu with choices for each of the three courses. One exciting entrée is the Bollito Misto (traditionally seven meats and seven vegetables and seven condiments) that I’m sure Alana will put her own delicious spin on. And any chef that includes fennel pollen and a “study” of cookies on a menu is alright in my book.
- Have a quick breakfast or lunch at Katalina’s Cafe Corner. This week KCC is offering two $10 features and two $20 features. Piquing my interest is the authentic huevos rancheros (the breakfast of champions) and the spicy shrimp and chorizo served over cheese grits. I’m making my mouth water typing up this post.
- Cross your fingers for a bit of warmer weather so you can enjoy a $10 Sampler at Pistacia Vera on the sweet patio. Or heck, if there’s cold weather, enjoy it inside with some of the best coffee around. This platter is the stuff of dreams: pate de fruit, chocolate bombe with tawny port mousse, Valrhona chocolate bon bons. Handcrafted artisanal desserts for only $10 is a steal. Share it with someone you love, or at least like a whole lot. I really enjoyed their offerings last DOC week.
- Plan a date at Rigby’s, a star in the crown of Columbus’s cuisine. James Beard Award nominee Kent Rigsby is always moving cuisine forward. His menus are consistently exciting and this week’s choices at $30 are no different. The chicken liver pate is calling to me as a first course as is the shrimp risotto and the braised short ribs with pine nut and Parmesan topping. There is no wrong choice here.
- Have afternoon tea at Mozart’s. A sweet idea for an out of the ordinary coffee break, for $20 for two, you can enjoy three courses of savory and sweet snacks.
- Grab a pint at Elevator Brewery because it’s included with your three-course meal. The dinner menu for $30 includes choices like crab manicotti and Caribbean pork. And most all of the dishes feature one of the handcrafted brews made at Elevator.
- At Skillet enjoy fresh off the farm ingredients skillfully transformed into whimsical and delicious dishes. The $30 menu is my top pick for fresh, creative food in a comfortable and unpretentious setting. I’ve gotten really excited about the Farm Stand “Cracker Jack” Salad and the Tamworth pork belly. For dessert, hand pies are an option that should never be passed up by a clear-headed person. Add to this that Skillet is a run by the generous Caskey family (who fed all the folks at the Slow Food Columbus Flying J dinner last year) and they have my heart’s (as well as my stomach’s) attention.
- And I just have to mention Surly Girl Saloon, because honestly, there’s not a more fun place to grab some beers and bar food. I love this place. For $30 for two people, you have choice of two “cruise” menus Mexico or Jamaica. And $15 for a bucket of Red Stripes or Coronas completes the mini-vacay.
Enjoy the week, dear eaters. There are so many choices, get out there and dine!