Restaurants & Bars

Chicago Area Columbus

Chicago Chowhound Visits Columbus

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Restaurants & Bars

Chicago Chowhound Visits Columbus

Mike McElliott | Jun 16, 2003 12:01 PM

Spent a week in Grove City, Oh. Obligated to dine one night in that fair town with co-workers, but the rest of the time mercifully was able to do Columbus.

Handke's
This is a beautiful restaurant, and the service is awesome--I'd rank the service with Trboyevic greats Le Perroquet and Jovan. There's something ineffably comforting about a waiter or waitress who's sophisticated, competent, and clearly in charge--not in an authoritarian way, but in the I'm-going-to-take-care-of-you-so-relax kind of way. The food was underwhelming but I'm going to chalk that up to bad luck--everyone else that I was with gave the food rave reviews. I ordered two appetizers, both specials. The first was porcini on cappelini in broth. Underseasoned, underflavored--very mild mushroom flavor, not much else. The second was quail on cheese polenta. Good, but not extraordinary. What was spectacular was the accompanying salad of marinated orange peel, red cabbage, and beets. House wine was very good. But the physical beauty of the place and the great service, along with the remaining as-yet-unsampled menu carried the day in terms of my final opinion of this restaurant. Thanks to all on this board who recommended Handke's; it's definitely on my must-return list.

G. Michael's
I'm surprised no one on this board has ever mentioned this one. I've been going there for three years now, and while it's not always stellar, in general I like it very much. Presents itself as "Italian-American bistro," but I don't think that tells you much. As I recall from past visits, the duck breast is superb, but can't remember the treatment. There's also an excellent mushroom ravioli on the menu. This time, I started with fried "potstickers" filled with ultra-tender shredded braised beef in red wine sauce with gorgonzola. Utterly delicious. Main course was chorizo, chicken and mushrooms with house-made fettucine in mildly spicey saffron sauce. Chorizo, sauce and noodles very good, although the chicken was a little dry. My only other gripe is that my "half order" was enough to feed two people. Finished with a panna cotta garnished with fresh fruit. Good selection of wines by the glass. The back room is very pretty, w/ lots of floor-to-ceiling window views of small patio/garden. This is in German Village, at 595 S. 3rd.

Columbus Fish House
Whatever. I was initially very impressed by this place a couple of years ago, not so much this time. Oysters were off, but then maybe that old saw about R months is something that should be followed. Service remains friendly and helpful, wine list is very good, but the food was just OK and, in the case of the oysters, not even that.

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