Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Brewery District: Columbus Brewing Company

I feel that the Brewery District is an abandoned part of Columbus. I have been told that several years ago, it was the happening place to be; the bar scene was fresh, even complete with a piano bar. However, now when you drive on South High between the Statehouse and German Village, down Front Street, it's kind of sad; apart from the High Beck, I hardly frequent the area.

Except, for one location: The Columbus Brewing Company.

The Columbus Brewing Company (CBC) is located on Short Street, sort of behind the Kroger and by Lang Stone Company; it is literally a hidden gem. When you enter CBC, you are immediately in front of the hostess stand. The seating consists of an L shaped area with four to six seater booths, and in the middle, tables for larger parties. When seated in the dining area, you can look into the kitchen. I love this look in restaurants; the ability to watch the chefs, line cooks, and waitresses all work together to ensure customer satisfaction and perfection on a plate.

The bar is a great place to sit. Situated immediately to the right of the entrance, it is a great place to people watch, and, to watch TV if you are grabbing a bite alone. The bar also overlooks the outdoor patio, which fills quickly in the delightful outdoor dining season Columbus is fortunate to have.

The happy hour at CBC is great. Appetizers are half off, and there are great drink specials.

CBC is a great lunch spot as well. Fresh, great salads, soups, and healthy sandwiches. My favorite salad is the roasted chicken salad; crisp lettuce, clean tasting chicken, fresh corn, dates, and the best part, corn bread croutons. I mean, who in this city has corn bread croutons?! The perfect combination in every bite; you can easily get each element of the salad in one bite. I try and recreate the salad at home, but it is not quite the same.

At lunchtime, another one of my favorites is the buffalo chicken wrap. I am a sucker for buffalo chicken. The crispy chicken strip; the spicy sauce; and the bleu cheese. However, CBC's chicken in the buffalo chicken wrap is far from typical; moist, juicy, and not very greasy.

Last night, I went to CBC for a late night dinner with some friends. I arrived around 8:20 to a not-too-badly crowded restaurant for a Monday night. I sat at the bar and waited for my friend to arrive. Skimming the menu, I realized how reasonable the drinks were. $5 for a glass of red wine, pretty cheap beers, and tons of options on any. As a brewing company, CBC serves its own beer in addition to others, and the varieties of home made Columbus beer are great.

I started with a spinach salad. Fresh spinach leaves, goat cheese (plus 10 points), roasted tomatoes, and a light balsamic dressing awaited me, along with fresh lavash bread crisps. The only downside: a cold fork. What is the point of a cold spoon on a salad plate? I have never understood this concept. I hate having cold hands, and a cold salad fork? Anyway...the salad was delish. I cleaned my entire bowl.

Next up: pizza. After a strong case of the Mondays, what better way to decompress than with a cheesy, gooey piece of pie? CBC used to have THE BEST barbecue chicken pizza. Unfortunately, it is no more on the menu. As a good Indian, I am a big fan of fennel. CBC has a great fennel sausage pizza. The sausage is spicy to bite; to complement the heat from the sausage, fresh banana peppers are on top of the pizza. Finally, delicious, fresh provolone cheese is generously placed on top. Last night, the pizza was particularly spicy; apparently, the banana peppers were extra fresh.

Although we did not get dessert, I highly recommend the upside down banana cream pie; fresh sliced bananas, a delicious graham cracker crust, candied pecans, and fresh caramel and whipped cream on top.

CONCLUSION: CBC is the bomb. Go often, and go hungry.

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