Author Archives: hungrywoolf

Jie’s Good Tasting

chinese restaurant grandview

Chinese
1413 Grandview Ave
Columbus, OH 43212
(614) 824-4657

In the former Grandview location of two short lived businesses – Yogi’s pierogis and Yi’s Bento Express – a new Chinese restaurant, Jie’s Good Tasting, has opened. They have 24 seats for dining in, though due to the cramped accommodations and chaotic, disorganized service, they’re probably best suited to take out.

Despite these caveats, there is a good reason to visit Jie’s, namely homemade dumplings that are easily some of the best in town. Ignore the menu and ask which flavors they have, as the menu is not necessarily representative of much of anything if our visits are any indication. On our last trip there were four types available: San Xian (our favorite so far – a mix of pork, shrimp and chive), pork and napa cabbage, pork and pickled cabbage (our number 2 pick) and pork and celery. 16 come to an order, they’re priced in the $7-8 range, and are served with a pleasant soy/vinegar dipping sauce. What makes them good is the thick but tender wrapper and the juicy and flavorful fillings. They go quickly.

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Also worth ordering are the dumplings in hot and sour soup and the spicy dumplings (smaller portion of 8 dumplings) pictured behind.

chinese dumplings columbus

The pan fried pork buns seemed to be popular with the large groups of Chinese students frequenting Jie’s but we found them a little too chewy and thought that the bread to filling ratio erred too far on the bread side.

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The menu offers a lot of the standard American Chinese take-out dishes (General Tso is present and accounted for) and a few more interesting choices. We enjoyed both the cumin chicken and the cumin beef. Both dishes are moderately spicy, fragrant with cumin and comprise chunks of meat with fried potatoes. Steamed rice must be requested separately.

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The za’ jing noodles, similar to Korean jajagmyun noodles, are boiled noodles served with a black bean sauce and here with your choice of tofu or shrimp.

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The tomato and egg soup claims to be made with homemade noodles but on the day we visited we were skeptical of the claim.

Jie's good tasting

If you love dumplings like we do, then a trip to Jie’s is worthwhile… just set your service expectations low. On both visits we found them to be more or less unfamiliar with diners basic expectations (flatware, water, bowls for soup etc).

El Pollo Loco

New Peruvian restaurant in Columbus

727 Georgesville Rd, Columbus, OH 43228
614.754.6769

El Pollo Loco is a new – as in, opened yesterday (10/19/13) – Peruvian restaurant on the west side specializing in Peruvian charcoal-grilled rotisserie chicken or pollo a la brasa. If you had been to the late, lamented Fito’s on campus, you’ve almost certainly had a very similar style of chicken. Word to the wise – if you liked it there, you’ll almost certainly love it here.

pollo a la brasa in Columbus

The menu lists a wide range of options, but upon opening the chicken was just about all that was on offer, at least as far as entrees go. We did try an order of the salchipapas (french fries with thinly sliced hotdogs), and the papas a la huancayna (cold boiled potato slices in a creamy garlic sauce). Both are pleasant enough, though far from a reason to make a special trip.

el pollo loco peruvian chicken in Columbus

The special trip-worthiness comes from the chicken, which is incredibly moist and tender and wonderfully seasoned.

columbus peruvian food

El Pollo Loco also features a selection of Latin American sodas, including Inka Kola and Kola Inglesa, as well as some house-made beverages. The chicha morada, described as a purple corn drink, was particularly pleasant and had an interesting fruity, cinnamon flavor.

L’Appat Patisserie Cafe

L’Appat Patisserie Café
1159 Oak St.
(614) 252-6822
Website

L’Appat Patisserie in Olde Towne East is best known for its sweet treats, but owner Didier Alapini, has started offering a Pan-African day menu every Thursday. Didier is from Benin in West Africa but his weekly Pan-African menus span the continent from Morocco to South Africa and include all kinds of dishes. Here’s the menu from last week’s inaugural Pan-African day.

african food in columbus ohio

The menu will change every Thursday. Each week’s menu is posted in advance on their Facebook page.

“Panafrican Day” Menu (Thursday, October 3rd 2013)

Soupe du jour
Sweet Potato Soup (Zambia) $4.00
Creamy sweet potatoes, rice, fresh herbs, and spice soup

Sandwich du jour

N’Djamena Chicken Sandwich (Chad) $10.00
Sautéed chicken and bacon, in gruyère spinach sauce on ciabatta loaf, served with roasted potatoes

Entrees: (The first price is lunch and the second is dinner).

Black Olive Salad (Sudan) $9.00 $11.00 (with soup)
Mixed greens, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and black olives with citrus vinaigrette.

Moussaka á la mauricienne (Mauritus Island) $13.00 $15.00
Lamb, beef and eggplant lasagna in eggplant sauce with salad and garlic bread

Dakouin (Benin) $11.00 $13.00
Grilled leg quarter with fresh tomato, green pepper and onion sauce served with Gari porridge

Fish Boulettes (Morocco) $13.00 $15.00
Fish meatballs in sweet peppers and onion sauce, served over vegetable rice

Here are a couple of the dishes that we enjoyed last week. Pavlova beef with a spicy peanut and spinach sauce, served with sweet potatoes and plantain. This Ghanaian dish was available hot or mild and the hot version definitely had a kick.

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Beef steak du nomade from niger – a panini style sandwich with suya beef steak and cheese. This was served with a large plate of roasted vegetables and potatoes.

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L’Appat is also offering a seafood night on Fridays.

Seafood Night Menu
September – October Special

(Every Friday Night only: 6:00pm -8:30pm)

Soupe du jour $5.50

*Salade Seychelloise $16.00
Shrimp, sweet corn, bell pepper and spring mix tossed in spicy vinaigrette
*Dish served with Seafood Barquettes and soupe du jour

Seafood Brik $22.00
Shrimp, sword fish, crab and vegetable in filo dough served with salad

Frites au poisson $18.00
Whole grilled Tilapia served with oven fried potatoes and salad

If you haven’t been to L’Appat we definitely encourage you to check it out. They have a really interesting (and good) assortment of pastries, cookies and cakes. The cafe is a nice light space, open for breakfast and lunch and their regular lunch menu includes soups, sandwiches and salads.

Si Senor Sandwiches & More

peruvian restaurants Columbus Ohio

Cuisine: Peruvian

72 E Lynn Street
Columbus, Oh 43215
614.227.0070
Website (warning -has music)
Facebook
Twitter

Open M – F, 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, Saturdays, noon to 4:00 pm

Click here to map it!

Si Senor, best known as a popular downtown sandwich shop, just relocated from Long Street to a new larger location on Lynn Alley. The “& More” in their name refers not just to salads and desserts but also to their weekly Peruvian specials. On Saturday lunchtimes, the owners offer Peruvian-style ceviche and a weekly Peruvian special.

The ceviche, which comes in two sizes, is made with small chunks of tilapia fillet, sliced red onion, hot peppers, aji amarillo (peruvian yellow peppers) and lots of fresh lime juice. It’s served with sweet potatoes, salad and sweet corn. It’s unsurprisingly acidic – the lime juice is used to ‘cook’ the fish – but we didn’t find it too spicy.

Si Senor Peruvian sandwiches

Weekend specials include dishes such as papa rellena, lomo saltado, adobo de chancho, arroz tapado and tallarin saltado con pollo y camarones. On our most recent visit the special was pollo saltado, a dish of sauteed chicken, onions, tomato, peppers mixed with soy sauce, Peruvian spices, and french fries, served with rice. As you can see from the photo below the French fries are stir fried into what amounted to a very hearty portion. We loved the caramelized onion and the flavors of this dish, though the chicken was perhaps slightly overcooked.

peruvian food columbus ohio

Another Peruvian speciality is the empanadas. Available daily, these are filled with ground beef, onions, garlic, raisins and hard boiled egg. The crumbly pastry shell is topped with powdered sugar, which creates an interesting sweet-savory dynamic. The empanadas are served with a wedge of lime and some house-made hot sauce, both welcome accompaniments. Overall, we liked these a lot.

peruvian empanadas si senor Columbus

You’ll also see Peruvian influence in the weekday sandwich menu. Our recommendations would be the chicharron Peruano with chunks of fried pork, pickled red onions and sweet potato mayo or the jumping beef sandwich with roast beef, sauteed onions and tomato, melted cheddar and avocado mayo. On Fridays you’ll often find the popular fish tacos as a special.

peruvian chicharron sandwich

If you still have room for dessert, Si Senor offers some Latin sweets including tres leches cake and flan. You may also find alfajores, buttery sandwich cookies with a homemade caramel filling in the middle (manjarblanco or dulce de leche), coated in powdered sugar.

Sichuan Hotpot

chinese food osu campus

1644 N High St (entrance is on Chittenden Ave)
Columbus, OH 43201
(614) 397-7493
Open 7 days a week, lunch and dinner.

Click here to map it!

Sichuan Hotpot is the latest addition to the campus area’s lineup of Chinese restaurants. Located in a tiny walk-up space on Chittenden Avenue that seats around 24 people, the owners have opted to provide a small, focused menu based upon, as their name suggests, hot pot. No General Tso’s, no orange chicken, just steamy, brothy noodle stew served with this disclaimer; ‘please be aware all hotpots are hot and spicy and may cause discomfort in some individuals’.

hotpot restaurant columbus ohio

All of the hot pots at Sichuan Hotpot include cellophane noodles (made from mung beans), seaweed, wood ear mushrooms (auricularia auricula), lotus root, dried beancurd skin, Chinese cabbage and bok choy. From that starting point, you can choose your protein (or a vegetarian option). There are 10 hot pot options in total: beef, lamb, shrimp, fish ball, shrimp ball, octopus ball, fish tofu, beef tendon ball, luncheon meat (aka spam) and veggie. All are priced between $5.99-7.99, and you can add additional proteins or enoki mushrooms for $1 each.

chinese restaurants in columbus

(clockwise from top left: fish tofu hotpot, beef tendon ball hotpot, lamb hotpot, luncheon meat hotpot)

Among our group of five, the favorites were the beef tendon ball (think flavorful meatball) and lamb (very lamb-y), with a couple of votes for the fish tofu (think mild fish cake) and the luncheon meat. The broth was very flavorful and would probably be classed as a medium spice level – additional chili sauce is available. Temperature-wise, all of our hot pots came to the table steaming and seemed to retain their heat surprisingly well. One bowl makes for a reasonably substantial meal.

chinese food ohio state

There are a few sides/appetizers to snack on while you wait for your hot pot to cool down: crunchy fried chicken, chinese cruller, spring roll and glazed crispy mantou (deep-fried Chinese steamed buns). The chicken was a little more greasy than crispy although the flavor was good, the spring roll was fine but not especially memorable and the mantou, served with a sweet glaze, could almost be a dessert. The cruller is light and crispy and works well dunked into the hot pot. The last (untranslated) item on the sides menu is a sweet Chinese herbal ice tea.

sichuan hotpot Left: glazed crispy mantou and spring roll, right: Chinese cruller 

For those in the campus area Sichuan Hotpot is a nice additional takeout lunch option.

La Plaza Tapatia

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4233 Shoppers Lane,
Columbus, OH 43228.
(Close to the intersection of Broad Street and Georgesville Road behind the Westland Mall)
614.276.2806

Click here to map it!

We’ve been remiss in not posting about La Plaza Tapatia. We actually thought we had written about this restaurant/market combo before, but as we can’t find the post we apologize for holding out on you.

First the market: Plaza Tapatia is one of the largest Mexican markets in Columbus. It’s also our favorite. Consistently clean and well stocked, it features an impressive fresh butcher’s counter, an in-store bakery, and a large produce section. Dried goods, a snack counter and a fascinating kitchen-ware section round it all out. Some of our favorite things to purchase include: freshly made chorizo,  Koki’s tortillas (often freshly delivered and still-warm!), extremely cheap limes, avocados, freshly squeezed OJ, tres leches cake, paletas (Mexican popsicles) and pork rinds. More generally, though, we like that when we’re looking for a Mexican cuisine ingredient, no matter how obscure, we’re reasonably confident that we’ll find it here.

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The adjoining restaurant is open 7 days a week and during the week (Monday-Friday) they offer a large buffet for both lunch and dinner (9am-9pm). The buffet is divided into three sections: the first consists of soups, entrees and hot sides.  The second section is fruit and desserts. The third section is garnishes, salsas and tostadas. Warm corn tortillas are included with your meal and are brought to the table.

plaza_tapatia

The buffet varies a lot from day to day and there’s a wide repertoire of dishes. Highlights have included posole, pork in green chili sauce, Oaxacan beef chili, pork chops with spinach, huevos with nopales and sopes. There is always a variety of proteins that may include pork, beef, chicken, fish, eggs and beans.

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In addition to the buffet there is a large a la carte menu with lots of meat and seafood options as well as an all day breakfast menu. The most popular dishes, especially at weekends are the parrillada and molcajete.

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The parrillada (pictured above) is a true meat feast. While the menu claims that it feeds 3 to 4 people, we hardly made a dent in it with a group of 3. It consists of grilled chicken, two different cuts of steak (carne asada and aguja nortena), house-made chorizo, head-on shrimp, fresh pork chops, smoked pork chops, nopales (cactus), onions and jalapenos and is served with rice and beans, salad, guacamole, salsa and a seemingly never ending supply of tortillas. All of this for the more-than-reasonable price of $40.99. Don’t fill up too much on the chips and salsa beforehand.

The molcajete ($20.99) is comprised of the same elements but designed to serve two.

If you’ve saved any room there are also desserts from the bakery including their exceptional freshly made churros.

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We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the vast majority of what we’ve eaten here over the years, and the fact that we’ve returned with some frequency might serve to bolster your confidence in that assertion… especially when you consider all of the fantastic taco truck offerings in close proximity.

Which is not to say that the taco trucks aren’t still enjoyed – they most certainly are – but rather that their offerings are inherently limited by their format. Tapatia does a great job of expanding the wide variety of the flavors of Mexico that can be found in Columbus.

It should also be noted that the restaurant does have a liquor license and serves a good range of Mexican beers and tequilas. They also serve margaritas, micheladas, and other Mexican cocktails. On Sundays you’ll often find Norteno or Mariachi bands and the restaurant can get quite lively when there’s a big Mexican soccer game on. It’s a spacious restaurant that can easily accommodate larger groups.

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Columbus International Festival

 

 

 

This weekend marks the 57th Columbus International Festival.  The event will once again be held at Veterans Memorial.

We attended the festival last year and were pleasantly surprised by the variety of food on offer. This is a great time to embrace Columbus’ diversity and enjoy dishes from around the world from ebelskiver to chana masala. You’ll find representatives from countries including Pakistan, Brazil, the Netherlands, Poland, Scandinavia and Taiwan serving up dishes from their countries.

There is also lots of entertainment with music and dancing from a diverse group of countries including Korea, India, China, Bangladesh, Iran, Spain, Germany, Poland, Scotland, England, Slovakia, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Cuba, France, the Philippines, Ireland, Haiti, Russia and many more.

Adult one day entry ticket  $7.00 at the door, or $5 pre-purchased from the website.
Senior and student with ID $5.00 at the door.
Kids age 5 to 12 years $2.00 at the door.
Kids under age 5 $ FREE