27 March 2013

The Hey Hey Kitchen

Hey Hey is Schumacher Place's most notorious dive bar. Everybody knows it's a great place to go for reasonably priced beers and a little bit of the old neighborhood charm. Vegetarians were limited in what they could eat at Hey Hey since the menu consisted of one item - sauerkraut balls laden with sausage. Those looking for a greater variety from the kitchen will be excited now that Angela Theado has taken over the dining room Thursday through Saturday nights.

Theado runs The Coop food truck, which many times parked outside of the Hey Hey. She previously spent time in Alana's kitchen.

There are not a tremendous amount of vegetarian items on the menu. The staff, although they are adjusting to running a kitchen full time, took great care in double checking on the best bets for vegetarian diners.

The tostones with queso fundido are delightful. The fried plantains are crispy yet delicate. They benefit greatly from a squeeze of lime. The queso fundido, served without chorizo, is melted and well toasted. While both dishes were authentic, pairing a Caribbean dish with a Mexican dish is an interesting decision. While the flavors are complementary, they aren't items one expects to see served on the same plate.

This should be a great addition to a neighborhood where the food is getting better every day. It also should allow Hey Hey patrons a chance to grab a delicious and fun bite to eat between drinks at their neighborhood hang-out.

Hey Hey Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

20 March 2013

Grill and Grilled

Grill and Grilled opened in the last week Downtown. It offers Mediterranean salad and wraps constructed in front of diners like Chipotle. Despite its Greek and Middle Eastern ingredients, the lack of protein makes Grill and Grilled a boring option for vegetarians.

The two main items on the menu are salad and a griddled lavash bread wrap. Ingredients include lettuce, tomato, red onion, carrot, cabbage, corn, black olives, cheeses and dressings. A lack of veggies or dressings available again gives vegetarian diners limited choices 

The canned olives are one example of a poor ingredient, because real Kalamata olives would be quite superior to the canned pizza topping sold here. Falafel also would be a solid addition for vegetarian diners, though there is none available at Grill and Grilled. 

The hummus is average, and the baba ghannoush is nearly inedible. The baba is studded with chewy eggplant with the consistency and flavor of a vegetal gummy bear found in an ashtray. 

The dips are served with crackers despite the fact that the restaurant serves a soft flatbread sandwich. I've used crackers at home to eat hummus at home because I was out of pita bread, but I'm hardly accustomed to this in a restaurant. Lavash would be a better vehicle to deliver hummus to my mouth.

Prices are expensive based upon quality. The salads at restaurants like Market 65 are far superior to these for the price.

Grill and Grilled on Urbanspoon

13 March 2013

Maki Go

Maki Go is a new build-your-own sushi roll spot in Downtown Columbus. They have been operating under soft open status for the past week. Like most sushi restaurants, there are a limited number of vegetarian options. By allowing customers to customize ingredients in the sushi, however, Maki Go is an easy choice for vegetarian and vegan diners.

Rolls can be wrapped in nori or soy paper with white or brown rice. The vegetarian protein is a steamed salt and pepper tofu with a subtle flavor that amplifies spices. Other ingredients include cucumber, avocado, green onion, romaine lettuce, jalepeño salsa, panko bread crumbs, cream cheese, and sauces including sriracha, spicy mayo and a slightly creamy wasabi dressing. 

The price for the roll is reasonable, although a side dish like the edamame would be recommended to put together a full-sized lunch. I could pretty easily eat two of the tofu rolls, and maybe more if you dared me.

The miso soup is not vegetarian-friendly as it is made with seafood. The staff was friendly and readily answered questions about ingredients. 

It's a little tricky to find Maki Go from its signage. The awning reads Bistro 8, and there is a paper print-out in the window for Maki Go. There is limited seating for about 15 inside, and the concept is set up for take-out. 

Maki Go! on Urbanspoon

07 March 2013

Harvest Moon Cafe

Harvest Moon Cafe is a throwback, granola-and-backpack hippie restaurant located in Canal Winchester. While most might use the term throwback to describe Canal Winchester, words like hippie are not typically associated with the city. Places like Harvest Moon give vegetarians in Downtown Canal Winchester a restaurant option with fresh, local flavor.

The restaurant at Harvest Moon is attached to the Garden Herb Shop, an area stocked with supplements, natural food products, wines and teas within the same building. The bar is loaded with  organic wines and Ohio beer, including a number from Rockmill. The cocktails are inventive, with many made from Ohio spirits.

There is a veggie soup on the menu. The veggie chickpea soup is usually available, but soups change based upon the season.

The house-made black bean burger has a soft texture that is nuanced by the layers of cumin, black pepper and garlic flavor. The patty is soft, yet holds together into a cohesive whole. It is topped by a kaiser bun, avocado, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, sprouts and choice of cheese. The chips and black bean hummus make the dish a complete meal for $9.

Smoothies are fresh fruit rather than the syrupy goop from which most mall smoothies are made. Drinks are blended smoothly and lightly, accenting their ingredients.

Harvest Moon also offers a vegetarian-friendly breakfast menu. It can get busy because the Cafe seats less than 50, but turnover in the restaurant is quick.

Harvest Moon Cafe on Urbanspoon