Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Short North: Marcella's

Marcella's is an Italian restaurant in the Cameron Mitchell's family of restaurants.  If you've never been to a Cameron Mitchell's restaurant, you're really missing out, because it is truly a great dining experience every time.

There are two locations: one in the Short North, and another at the Polaris mall.  I particularly like the Short North location because:
1. it is within walking distance
2. it is prime for people watching as it is in the middle of the Short North

I've never had a bad meal at Marcella's.  The specialty is small plates: pizzas, pastas, cheese plates, and desserts.  Marcella's goal is for diners to share their meals, to not limit themselves to their entree.

Entrees are generally available; I would recommend one of the special pasta dishes, usually the risotto special is pretty good.  There is also an extensive selection of wine which can be ordered by glass, half liter, and full bottle.

Last week, Columbus had its first taste of spring, and it was a good night to go out to eat and for a stroll in the Short North.  I walked up to Marcella's and met some friends for dinner.

My favorite appetizer at Marcella's is the melted pecorino cheese.  Served piping hot in a cast iron dish, this cheesy bowl of deliciousness is served with nicely toasted pieces of bread, apples, and honey.  You also get a nice loaf of cold bread at the table with your meal,and I would recommend having this handy when you order the pecorino cheese appetizer, for the toast points really don't last for too long:

The apples and honey are a delicious complement and are definitely a palate cooler from the intense, bubbly, gooey goodness.

We then ordered the bruschetta.  This is the first time I've ordered the bruschetta at Marcella's.  Normally, when I go with friends, we get the cheese heaven, and many pizzas and perhaps a pasta. The bruschetta are made from the same bread as the table bread; a crusty ciabata that almost has like a sourdough taste.  On top of the bruschetta are tomato sauce, a nice scoop of ricotta/mozzarella cheese combo,a slice of salty and cold prosciutto, and a nice basil leaf on top to add a pretty color:

I wish that the cheese combo would have been warm or really cold, instead of lukewarm.  I guess I just prefer the typical tomato bruschetta.  The colors are great, but it needs to get a proper temperature, be cut into smaller pieces, or get new flavor combo.  Perhaps not tomato and prosciutto.  Or, just basil,tomato, and cheese (or is that too boring?).

I forgot to take pictures of the entrees.  I had the special risotto for the night, which was a Parmesan risotto topped with the house sweet sausage.   It was alright. I  think that the two together was a little much, and I probably should have just gone for the two separately, or just the risotto plain.
CONCLUSION:  If you're planning on a night at Marcella's in between 6-8pm, you definitely have to make a reservation.  And if you want to go on a Friday or Saturday, you best make the reservation way in advance. Oh, and the Red Sangria is amazing. and the shrimp and pesto pizza.

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