Arch City Tavern is the latest addition to the burgeoning gastropub scene in central Ohio. It makes great use of the space, which is decorated with Columbus' signature arches as well as a black and white pencil illustration of the Short North from days gone by.
The food and drinks from Arch City show a great deal of careful craftsmanship. There isn't really a clunker on the menu by partners Komi Memushaj and Xhevair Brakaj.
The kitchen produces a few vegetarian starters, pizzas and a portabella sandwich. The bar serves a great selection of taps including options from Great Lakes, Bell's, Dogfish Head, Columbus Brewing, Four String and 21st Amendment, as well as artful cocktails that explode with flavor. The Kerr Street Mule, a modified Moscow Mule, is made with Watershed vodka, Roake ginger syrup (a simple syrup made by a bartender in downtown Columbus), fresh lime and nutmeg.
The fries are treated with truffle oil and parmesan, served with two different aioli, one a rich, spicy chili dip and the other a slightly bitter fresh watercress aioli with a minty finish. The potatoes look great wrapped up like Belgian frites.
The Bibb salad consists of Bibb lettuce, beets, sliced almonds, artichokes and apples. It is dressed with a Green Goddess dressing. The crunchy and crispy ingredients give the salad a perfect texture.
The portabella sandwich is topped with roasted red peppers, goat cheese, griddled onions and arugula. The mushroom was soft and meaty with one side cooked well enough to give it a delightful crunch. The bun stands up well to the wet ingredients.
With so many gastropubs opening up in the area in the past year, places have to do a lot to stand out. Arch City Tavern definitely rises above the fray.