r

red_menace's Profile

Title Last Reply

Asian grocery store Columbus, OH (East Side)?

Can't remember the name of it, but there's a pretty decent Asian grocer in the Columbus Square shopping center at the corner of 161 and Cleveland just a couple doors down from Nazareth. I think the owners are Thai, so it has more of a Southeast Asian focus. There's also a good one in the other direction on Refugee Road right next to Bangkok restaurant (killer Thai food...try the Nam Tok)

May 06, 2008
red_menace in General Midwest Archive

New(er) Chicago Dog joint in Columbus...

...well, New Albany actually. I recently went to this little place across the street from Gibby's called Levy's Coney’s and Custard that has a wide variety of dog styles. I tried the namesake Coney which was great, but was especially happy to see they had Chicago Dogs on the menu as well, so I also grabbed one of those. A good Chicago Dog is one of those things that's usually only worth getting when you're in Chicago because most places don't put the necessary efforts into making them at all authentic, so I have to say I wasn’t all that optimistic. All it took was one look at the finished product to determine Levy's was an exception. Not only did they use all the right ingredients...beef dog (pretty sure about this) with a snap in a poppy seed bun, yellow mustard, neon green relish, onions, pair of tomato wedges, pair of sport peppers, crisp pickle spear and celery salt, but everything was assembled in the correct way. There is clearly some attention to detail going on here. After talking to the girl behind the counter who put this $3.25 mound of bliss together, I found out that they go so far as to order the poppy seed buns from a second bakery since their primary baker won't make them. A reasonable facsimile of a Chicago dog could doubtless be made using the excellent buns Levy's nestles their Coney Dogs in, but that would violate the spirit of the Chicago Dog, wouldn't it? I believe this convenience/cost be damned approach to sourcing the proper quality and type of ingredients is one of the hallmarks of a good restaurant, be it high-end or low-brow.

While I cannot attest to the quality of their custard (though a dining companion did enthusiastically recommended the twistcone), I can happily report that the chocolate dipped frozen banana was outstanding. I plan to return on an upcoming Wednesday when they claim to have Chicago style Italian Beef as a weekly special.

Oct 03, 2007
red_menace in General Midwest Archive

Jeni's Ice Cream Flavors (Columbus, OH)

I always do one scoop of the dark cocoa gelato and one scoop of a ligher fruit ice cream or sorbet. That way I can try out different flavors until I find one worth buying a pint of....other than the dark cocoa gelato which is always outstanding.

Oct 03, 2007
red_menace in General Midwest Archive

Thinking Ahead: Locally-raised turkey in Columbus

We brine ours too, Niki. They're outstanding.

Oct 03, 2007
red_menace in General Midwest Archive

Thinking Ahead: Locally-raised turkey in Columbus

For the last few years, we've been getting the Bowman & Landes turkeys. They're from a family farm outside of Dayton and are truly wonderful. The convenient thing is that Weiland's distributes them. Just pick them up at the store right before Thanksgiving.

http://bowmanlandes.com/

Sep 28, 2007
red_menace in General Midwest Archive

Columbus, OH - Thai groceries needed

The grocery is actually just a few storefronts down from Nazareth. Hopefully they'll have gotten more stock when you visit. If you go, make sure to pick up one of the killer Banh Mi at Mi Mi Cafe in the same shopping center. It's been discussed on another thread...

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/385338

Sep 20, 2007
red_menace in General Midwest Archive

Columbus, OH - Thai groceries needed

A new Thai/Viet market just recently opened up in Columbus Square Shopping Center (NE corner of 161 and Cleveland Ave.), I can't remember the name though. I've only been there once, and they're clearly still adding stock, but I know they had fresh kaffir the one time I stopped in there. I'll look for galangal and bamboo leaves on my next visit.

Sep 18, 2007
red_menace in General Midwest Archive

Is there any good Thai in Columbus?

I have to enthusiastically agree with all the recommends for Bangkok. Over the years, I've probably tried a dozen "Thai" places in Columbus. Some have been good...most have been awful. After finding out about Bangkok from a Thai/Laotian coworker a while back, I can now say without hesitation that is the best Thai place I have ever been to in town. Other than a smattering of Chinese items, the entire menu is devoted to Thai dishes, listed in both English and Thai, which I consider a good sign. I figure if you are dining in an ethnic restaurant that bothers to list menu items in the mother tongue of the owners, said establishment is likely to have a good following with the local expat population and consequently, reasonably authentic food.

Bangkok is shamefully inexpensive, and everything I've had there has been very good, but my favorites are Pad Kua Hang, and Pad Kee Mao, which are both made with large rice noodles, and anything on the "Spicy Salad" part of the menu, especially the Nam Tok, Larb, and Yam Nuea. Carnivorous fans of spicy food must try the Nam Tok, a warm beef salad swimming in a scorching blend of hot chili, lime juice, cilantro, onion and Khao Koor (ground toasted rice). Bangkok's version is a seriously great dish that starts out pleasantly tangy and builds to a skull-splitting heat induced crescendo of the "ohmygodthisissogoodicantstopeating" variety. It's so tasty in fact, that I usually have great difficulty ordering anything else. G.A. Benton, one of the better local critics swears by the Nam Tok at Pad Thai just down the street, which I have also heard good things about, but I've never been there. Whenever I'm in that neighborhood for Thai, I always wind up at Bangkok...a bird in the hand being worth two in the bush and all.

The Eastside location on Refugee is decidedly inconvenient for me, but I don't care. Bangkok is so good I would happily fight rabid badgers...or at least 45 minutes of rush hour traffic, to get here when I am in the mood for Thai. If you're traveling with your Nam Tok, ask them to pack the lettuce separately so it doesn't wilt. They are usually most accommodating. No booze though, so I get my Nam Tok and spring roll to go and pick up a nice Riesling or a sparkler on the way home. Maybe next time I'll take a cue from Niki and buy some Singha at the grocery next door and dine-in. Keep in mind that this place pretty much defines hole-in-the-wall, so don't go if you're looking for atmosphere.

Sep 06, 2007
red_menace in General Midwest Archive

taverns, breweries, great pubs in columbus?

As far as quality of beer goes, the premier brewpub in town is definitely Barley's. Their flagship location is downtown, but there is one just a couple miles west called Barley's Smokehouse that I think has slightly better food. The beer is great at both. Personal favorite is the Imperial Stout, might be out of season now, but try it if they have some. I know they also do "Firkin Friday's" at the Smokehouse location...probably at the downtown one too. They tap a firkin of young beer that was made that week...when it's gone it's gone. Some of these have proved to be truly unique and delicious over the years.

Columbus Brewing Company (CBC to locals) is just west of downtown and also makes some pretty good beer. My personal favorite there is the Columbus Pale Ale (CPA) which you can also buy in local stores, and find on tap at some other bars. Haven't eaten here in a while, but I always remember the food being quite good. http://www.columbusbrewing.com/ - not much of a website

The other local brewpub of note is called The Elevator. Also located downtown, this place has a wide selection of their own brews. Of the three, I probably like Elevator's beers the least, not because they're bad, just because I find alot of them seem to be brewed to appear to the widest variety of patrons making them a bit lacking in flavor. I have had some very good beers here over the years, they're just a little inconsistent. I've never really been impressed with the food here other than the bar specials they run though. The menu is in dire need of simplification. That being said, this place truly has one of the most gorgeous bars in the city. Not just the building it's in, which was a pool hall (and rumored brothel) back in the 1800's, but also the decor and the physical bar itself. The backbar is one huge mahogany log that was split down the middle...you can see how the woodgrain on one side of the bar matches the other. There are also cool little things you only only find in old buildings like the tile floor and the gutter that runs runs along the foot of the bar that was used to catch tobacco spit. There's even a little spigot down at one end where the water used to rinse out the gutter ran from. http://www.elevatorbrewing.com/

Other good bars for beer hounds are the St. James Tavern just north of downtown (dive, but friendly crowd and good selection of drafts and bottles), The Surly Girl in the Short North has a great selection of drafts (always at least one I've never heard of), but not the best service, and on the north end of the Short North is a The Rossi, which is a great little gastropub. Not the best beer selection, but it's a really cool bar with exceptional food. They have Hoegaarden on tap, and it's the only place in town worth ordering a Mojito. Tough to go wrong on the menu at The Rossi, but the burger and pizzas are standouts. Make sure to take a look at the specials board too though. Not in the beer vein, but also downtown is The Flatiron. They pour some of the most well made cocktails in the city (if you're a fan of the classic Martini, try one here) and the Southern inspired food is wonderful. I like the oyster po'boy with fries with an order of bread pudding for dessert.

Jun 19, 2007
red_menace in General Midwest Archive

Melt? Lakewood CLE. . .

You'll need a nap after you eat here, but this place is great. A friend took me here last time I was up in the area. Try the crabcake melt, add bacon to it, and wash it down with a Hoegaarden or a Burning River. Theres something about pork products that goes great with shellfish. Nice slaw and fresh cut fries as well. Real crowded when we got there but we got a round from the bar and only waited about ten or fifteen minutes. Wish they had one in my area.

Jun 19, 2007
red_menace in General Midwest Archive

Granville, OH and Charleston, WV

As far as Granville goes, you have a couple options. Of the two inns, the Granville Inn definitely has better food. After going through a few chefs, they've finally hired a young guy who lives in town with his family and is doing a pretty good job of making the place his own and using seasonal, locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. The atmospere in the Buxton is great, but I've never had a meal there that I would consider to be good with the exception of the occasional bowl of bean soup in the basement bar, which I really enjoy, but they didn't have on the menu last time I was there. At the very least, hit the basement bar for a drink. They have "fuller's mugs" (32 oz. glass), usually Columbus Pale Ale on tap, and a good selection of single barrel bourbons. A little further down the street is Brew's which has decent food, but their draw is a great selection of beer (usually a couple hundred plus), particularly if you're a fan of hard to find Belgian ales. A couple bottles of Witkap Pater (amazingly floral Belgian singel) and one of the wood oven pizzas makes a pretty good meal. Stop by Whit's down the street and get a frozen custard for dessert. There's also a newer place next to Brew's called the Broadway Tavern or something like that, which I've never tried but I heard has pretty good bar food. The restaurant group that owns the great Columbus place called The Rossi (as well as Club 185 and The Press Grille) is opening a place in Granville that should be up and running in July, but it looks like you'll miss that.

May 14, 2007
red_menace in General Midwest Archive

Looking for good Italian/Pizza in Columbus, OH

There's nothing I can think of around Westerville that would approximate what you're used to in New York. You already found Fly Pie which has another location up on Bethel that might be more convenient for you. Pizza Napolitana Downtown is decent, and Sarefino's in the North Market isn't bad, but I still have to recommend Adriatico's thin crust. It is slightly thicker than the traditional New York pie, but greasy and cheesy definitely fits the bill. You might find it's worth the occasional drive to campus after you eat there.

May 08, 2007
red_menace in General Midwest Archive

Looking for good Italian/Pizza in Columbus, OH

My favorite pizza in town is without a doubt Adriatico's. Check it out if you're near campus or downtown. Get the teenagers a Buckeye, which is an absolutely enormous Sicilian style pizza that will feed legions for not much cash. Year before last, my out-of-town aunt convinced me to let my (much younger) sophomore in high school cousin and four of his friends stay at my place while their school team played a a few days worth of state basketball finals. I got them an Adriatico's Buckeye and half-a-dozen two liters of soda for dinner the first night and they liked it so much they made me get them the same thing the following two nights after that. For years I've been getting a thin crust pie with their (truly excellent) sausage, pepperoni and mushrooms washed down with pitcher of cheap beer, but the thick crust Buckeye is great for a big crowd of starving teens.

Apr 26, 2007
red_menace in General Midwest Archive

Columbus, OH Chinese (again..?) -- Scallion Pancakes?!

Don't quote me on this, but I seem to recall Silla on Henderson (northwest side) having them. It's a Korean place. To be honest, I'm still looking for a GREAT Chinese place around here that I would recommend to others without reservation. We have excellent Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Korean...but I'm still looking for that one Chinese place that I would be willing to drive more than half-an-hour to get to.

Apr 26, 2007
red_menace in General Midwest Archive

purple haze ?

I wholeheartedly agree with the recommendation for the Map Room. That place is paradise for beer hounds. http://www.maproom.com/ has a list of their bottled and draft beers. Didn't see Purple Haze though.

Apr 20, 2007
red_menace in Chicago Area

Hibachi in Columbus Ohio?

Not sure about Hibachi restaurants around here, but I work with a Korean guy who speaks highly of Kaya...definitely going to try it now. As far as Mexican goes, El Vaquero is alright for a basic fix, but I have to agree with the recommend on Cuco's. $1.50 traditional taqueria style tacos (www.cucostaqueria.com) including lengua, fish, al pastor. La Michoacana is great too. It's a big Mexican market on 161 (North side) that has a restaurant attached.

Apr 13, 2007
red_menace in General Midwest Archive

Columbus, OH - Mimi's (Vietnamese)

It's great to see people discovering this place. I've been going here for lunch about once a week for a few months now, and despite plugs to everyone I know, I was worried the place would close down for a while but his business is definitely increasing. Lately, I've seen folks picking up bags of twenty Banh Mi for lunch. I think the word is out in the Viet community. The owner couldn't be nicer and runs a fastidiously clean establishment. Mi Mi is a classic example of a restaurant picking a handful of dishes, and doing them very well. Other than drinks, there are seriously only four things on the menu. The Pho is great and cheap ($7), with a variety of traditional meats (love that tendon) and lots of very fresh garnishes including the oft overlooked culantro. I'm convinced that his Banh Mi with a Caphe Sua Da is one of the best $6 meals you can get in town.

By the way, thanks for the Eden Center link Selectman...on my list to check out next time I'm out that way.

Mar 30, 2007
red_menace in Great Lakes

Best burger in Columbus ohio?!!? who's got it?!??

Agreed about the "Thurman Burger". Way too much happening there. I stick with the standard cheeseburger and somtimes add bacon. Like I said, Brazenhead/Bag definitely depends on who's working the grill that night. Brazenhead's especially bad on $2 burger night. The patties are smaller and definitely have a mass produced feel to them.

Glad to hear someone else give props to Johnny's. I was afraid I'd be in the minority on that one since it's so divey. The bean soup was a special, but I'm guessing that whatever their daily item is would be pretty good.

Mar 19, 2007
red_menace in General Midwest Archive

Sandwiches Columbus, Ohio

They don't taste like rice flour, but they're still pretty good. Better Banh Mi is at Mi Mi Cafe at Cleveland Ave. and 161. It's a little Viet joint with four things on the menu including very good Pho. The owner has the rolls custom baked to his specs.

Mar 13, 2007
red_menace in General Midwest Archive

Best burger in Columbus ohio?!!? who's got it?!??

Thurman's is definitely a favorite of mine, but their over the top burgers aren't something you can have on a regular basis. For a more "classic diner" (thin patties cooked on a griddle) approach to burgers, I really like the double with cheese at Club 185. Pleasantly greasy, but not overly so, and their fries are top notch...tossed with a little fresh parsley and garlic as I recall. The Gahanna Grill also offers a pretty good burger. So does Ted's Montana Grill (corporate chain I know but I have to give them credit), though Ted's always slightly overcooks their burgers for my tastes I still have to occasionally return for those killer onion rings. The Brazenhead and Bag of Nails both do a nice hefty bar burger, though they can be hit or miss depending on time of day and who's in the kitchen. For what it's worth, I think the flagship Bag in Old Worthington has consistently better prepared food than it's sister locations. The patty melt with an order of wets at the Dube is also nice combination.

Recently however, I had what I have to say is one of the better burgers in recent memory at Johnny's Tavern on Trabue. A buddy of mine with a nose for retro dive bars happened upon this place with his girlfriend, and enjoyed the food so much that he wanted to have a dozen of us join him there for his birthday a few weeks later. Talk about a time warp. With the exception of the jukebox, I don't think this place has changed much since the 60's. It looks a little shady from the outside, but the staff and the other patrons were very welcoming. We had a few drinks, ate dinner, and wound up hanging around for quite a while afterwards getting loaded and playing pool. As the burger and fries were recommended, I had to try those. The patty was probably about 2/3 lb. of fresh beef (tasted like chuck...perfect lean to fat ratio for a burger), looked handmade, and cooked medium-rare as I requested. Iceberg lettuce, thick slice of white onion, okay tomato, cheese of choice and a typical soft bun rounded things out. Not sure if the fries were fresh, but they were nicely cooked (crisp outside, soft and pillowy in the middle). Being that we were obviously new to the joint, the owner came over to our table and asked how the food was. After we effusively praised the burgers, she mentioned how we "should have tried the navy bean soup" that she just made that day. Not being ones to pass up another recommendation, I ordered a cup and another companion ordered a bowl. I very quickly realized I also should have ordered a bowl. Keep in mind that this place is definitely not for the white tablecloth set or those who prefer their bars smoke-free. My impressions are based on only one visit, but I think it's perfect for a few cold beers and a great bar burger at a ridiculously inexpensive price.

Mar 13, 2007
red_menace in General Midwest Archive

Good eats in Columbus

Sound recommendations so far...definitely hit the Flatiron (great on Mondays for the red beans and rice special with housemade andouille and a REAL Martini) and North Market for lunch...both are walking distance from Crown Plaza. Here's a few more in the area...

Indian Oven - Downtown on East Main. Killer Indian/Bangla food, upscale atmosphere.

Thurman Cafe - Local two-fisted cooked-to-order burger institution/dive bar...truly great wings.

Barcelona - upscale German Village place...Spanish derived food, nice bar. Don't know when you're coming, but if it's during the warmer months, they have a gorgeous patio.

Happy Greek - close to convention center...provided it's still open after it's owners recent alleged involvement in an international mortgage fraud ring, you'll find this near Short North Greek place to have excellent calamari, dips, gyros, and baklava. The Kefthedes (medium rare) are my personal favorite. Other than the salads, the side dishes are unremarkable, but everything else is usually top shelf.

Kooma - Pretty good sushi bar right by the convention center.

Zen Sushi - Right across the street form the convention center, not as much a sushi place as a nice spot for a group. Cool atmosphere...get a bunch of resonably priced small plates, good yakitori, etc., fun place to throw back some drinks and snack with friends.

Enjoy...let us know where you go!

Mar 05, 2007
red_menace in General Midwest Archive

I'm thinking of buying a smoker...anybody have one they like?

I've had great 'cue come off vertical smokers before, it's just that I've never been able to produce anything I've been happy with myself. Never used one of the big verticals with the offset firebox though, just the bullet style.

Check out that link I posted for the Afterburner. They make a kit that works in vertical smokers too. I can put a log in mine and know that it'll smolder nicely for eight hours or more and keep the temperature exactly where I set it. Lets me get a full nights sleep knowing my brisket will keep on cooking just how I want it. They also sell fittings that allow you to connect it to a household gas line so you don't have to worry about keeping a spare tank of propane around.

Feb 28, 2007
red_menace in Cookware

Columbus, OH Good eats -- No Chains!!!!

If you know where La Plaia is, you have to go check out Mi Mi Cafe. It's a little Vietnamese joint about ten doors further west in the same shopping center...behind the Sunoco on Cleveland Avenue. They have killer Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sandwich) for $3.50. It's seriously one of the best, and by far the most friendly priced, sandwiches in the city. They have a very small menu...just the sandwich and three noodle dishes. The pho is really good too. Excellent broth with very fresh garnishes. As a bonus, the owner couldn't be nicer, the place is very clean, and all the food is prepared (by the owner) behind the counter right in front of you. Ha Long Bay at Polaris is pretty good for Viet too, but despite the limited menu, I'll take Mi Mi any day. Just thinking about those sandwiches makes me salivate.

There's also a very servicable sushi place on Hamilton Road south of Stoneridge called Mr. Sushi. Hate the name, like the place, and it'll save you a trip to the NW side (Kihachi, Akai Hana f/k/a Restaurant Japan...try the sushi counter in the back of the associated Tensuke Market if you're in a rush) if you need a sushi fix. They've got a great fish selection that seems very fresh and always have a couple nice daily specials that the lower end places never carry (uni, live amaebi, toro, ohtoro, hotategai). They're also pretty good about not committing the standard mistakes most non-japanese sushi bars do. Fish and rice are at the right temperature, no split rolls, cuts are well made, etc.

I'm still looking for a really good place for Chinese. I agree with CMH's assessment of Asian Cuisine, but I just don't make it up there very often, and it's kinda pricey. If you're into Mexican, there's a market on Morse Rd. called La Michoacana that has a very authentic (all hispanic patrons) taqueria attached to it. Try the Lengua.

Feb 26, 2007
red_menace in Great Lakes

I'm thinking of buying a smoker...anybody have one they like?

Gotta agree with Weinstein's recommend on the Brinkmann. The hardcore BBQ guys might scoff at it, but I don't think you can do better for $400. I've never had much luck with the vertical smokers like BGE's and Bullets. I had a vertical Brinkmann before this one, and often found myself drying things out. I think having the heat source directly under the meat really decreases your margin for error. I've been doing brisket, pork shoulder, ribs, turkey, trout and various game birds on the same horizontal Brinkmann for over ten years now. By keeping it covered when not in use and cleaning it occasionally, I figure it'll outlive me. I know a pretty serious BBQ'er who started out with the same model, then gifted it to a chef friend of ours a few years back when he needed more capacity. Since then he's probably spent ten grand on three or four high-end stock and custom smokers that he'll only keep for about a year or two before he starts looking for something he knows how to use as well as his old Brinkmann. Meanwhile, the chef friend has proceeded to learn how to turn out near-perfect BBQ. He even made it into a cold smoker using a foil-lined cardboard box and a length of flexible dryer vent hose. I'll be the first to admit it was a dodgy looking setup, but his inaugural batch of cold-smoked salmon was so good we ate ourselves silly. Regardless of which brand you choose, I think the most important things are getting one with an offset firebox and a heavy gauge steel body (the lid should feel heavy when you open it). The thickness on mine is about 3/16" - 1/4" (you might want to check to make sure the new Brinkmann's have the same construction if you're looking at one) which really helps maintain an even temperature and allows me to use it almost all year; a necessity for us Yankees. A lot of people seem to like the electrics because you don’t have to mess around with a fire and many are almost automatic, but I think years of learning to keep the temperature steady on a fire really gave me a good feel for how the whole process worked. Although since then, I've gotten lazier and added an Afterburner (http://www.gassmoker.com/Afterburner_...). It's a propane burner add-on that gives you temperature control as good as any electric. I think one of these and a horizontal smoker with an offset firebox is the best combination flavor and flexibility. Nice thing is, when I want to go back to the traditional lump charcoal method, all I have to do is open the firebox door and slide the burner out.

Whatever you wind up buying, just remember if you have fun using your new pit and your friends and family greedily eat up your BBQ, you made the right choice.

Feb 26, 2007
red_menace in Cookware