13 January 2008

Tip Top Kitchen and Cocktails

Sometimes looks can be deceiving. Take Tip Top Kitchen and Cocktails in downtown Columbus for example.

I had strolled past Tip Top many times, taking it for a dirty little dive bar in the desolate wasteland that is the heartland of the Buckeye capital. Once I got by the unassuming storefront, though, I was more than pleasantly surprised.

The understated wood-accented interior more than makes up for the vanilla character that defines the exterior. Tip Top also has a menu that pushes local produce, alongside an Ohio-themed list of cocktails and brews.

The menu has a ton of vegetarian and vegan options. The kitchen is also open late all week long, which puts it light years ahead of the other downtown establishments that close at 3 in the afternoon and aren't open on weekends.

The spicy corn chowder was delicious. It was chock full of vegetables and had a sneaky bit of heat that slowly overtook my mouth spoonful by spoonful. I also applaud the vegan French onion soup because whichever jerkoff ruined the onion by assaulting it with boiled beef juice should have to be taught at least once in their life how to cook this vegetable properly. It's gooooood soup.

I also sampled the vegetarian pot roast, prepared in a vegetable stock with potato, tomato, carrots and all the fixins (pictured above). Besides Ohio origins, the menu is held together by the central theme of comfort food--hence the pot roast (and hence the mac and cheese and hence the sammies with fried sides).

Sandwiches abound on the menu, including a veggie sandwich, a grilled tomato and cheese, a portabella sandwich, an eggplant, tomato, spinach and mozzarella melt and a vegetarian or vegan Italian beef (Viva Chicago!), which was a giardinera laced delight.

The owner is the same person who owns the Surly Girl Saloon, one of Columbus' best beer-and-a-bite establishments, and the same attitude that defines the Short North watering hole is present in the downtown model. They also own Betty's, and they serve Betty's delicious mac and cheese. The staff is very friendly, and they seem to be able to get people in and out in a fairly efficient manner.

Pop is served in glasses that are the size of a pipe of port. The beer is more conservative than Surly Girl's more adventurous selection, but it still features a few gems. The main drink focus is whiskey cocktails. There is no shortage of whiskey and whisky, as well as a number of drinks that have other spirits in them. The drinks all have an Ohio related name. There is also a small but interesting selection of wines.

Check out the review by the mainstream media, check out the photos, and then get over to Tip Top and sample some of their lovely wares.

Tip Top

Tip Top on Urbanspoon

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