Hudson 29 is the latest Cameron Mitchell concept, and the first one opened this year in Upper Arlington on Lane Avenue. The kitchen produces classic steakhouse fare and sandwiches paired with sushi and flatbread pizza.
The menu has a couple of vegetarian options, and the staff dealt well with questions about dietary restrictions. Service at the restaurant, however, was uneven beyond that.
While one lunch visit in a nearly empty restaurant saw attentive service and great attention to detail, a second night visit was severely overbooked on reservations. My reservation seating was 90 minutes late, and while the front of house offered free cocktails because of the delay, it did not make up for the continued service issues in the dining room. The server never brought water to the table despite numerous requests. Other orders were delivered incorrectly. It would be kind to say the experience was a disappointment.
The food was from chef Jonathan Basch was very good despite the hemorrhaging service flaws. The veggie burger, in particular, was a standout. The house made black bean patty was topped with pepper jack, avocado, lettuce, tomato, red onion and sweet pickle mayo. It was served on a toasted bun.
The cheesy bread rolls are a worthwhile expense. The arugula salad was forgettable.
The vegetable flatbread was piled with arugula pesto, shiitake mushrooms, kalamata olives, pickled red onions and fresh arugula. The flavor is a nice blend of savory, salty and fresh vegetable notes that play together nicely with subtle garlic.
The wine list is heavy on New World labels with some fun choices. There are limited brews with Rockmill carrying the local banner. Cocktails were a nice mix of classics with a few more modern spins.
The dining room and sushi bar are sleek and modern with a nice organic warmth. The couches in the waiting area by the fireplace create an inviting place to relax while waiting for a table.
An inviting space and a few tasty morsels from the kitchen, however, will not be enough to save the place if the front of house is unable to control its reservations book. Improvements in execution will be needed if the restaurant concept is to be duplicated successfully.