Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Short North: Press Grill

This week, many Columbus restaurants are participating in Dine Originals Week,  in which restaurants will feature a special fixed price menu for either $10.10, $20.10 or $30.10.  It is definitely a great way to try restaurants that you've never been to, or perhaps visit an old favorite that you haven't visited in a while.

So that's what I did tonight.  I enlisted the help of my friend Andy, aka Mick, aka Fergie, to venture to The Press Grill in the Short North.  Andy is one of my good friends from college, we worked on our first job together, and have shared many meals together.  One of my favorite memories from college and the 2006 campaign cycle would be having breakfast at the Olde Mohawk on Sundays with Andy, splitting the Sunday New York Times and devouring breakfast quesidillas.  Unfortunately, The Mohawk doesn't serve breakfast or brunch anymore; it was a real treat.

Anyway, tonight also happened to be the first real spring-like weather evening that Columbus has had (a much needed reprieve from the dismal winter), so it was a lovely evening to be in the Short North.  Press Grill is a local favorite; a very long bar with a few tables, a great view of High Street, and an open kitchen where you can watch your food being cooked.   Press offers many specials: 99 cent taco night, 40 cent wings on Tuesdays, Thanksgiving Dinner Night, and a steak meal on Sundays.  Tonight, however, we ventured for the Dine Originals Special.

Press's deal, for $10.10, gave a plethora of food to chose from:
1. choice of mixed green salad or wedge salad (Andy and I both went for the wedge).
2. choice of the Press Burger (Andy ordered the cow), the Chicken + Pesto Sandwich (that's what I ordered), or the mixed vegetables sandwich
3.  choice of mac n cheese (we  both ordered this), fries, or baked potato.

We ordered 5 wings each to start and this probably ruined the food consumption for the rest of the evening.  Press has some of the largest chicken wings out there and import the wing sauce directly from Buffalo--so when they say "Anchor Bar Wings," it's the real deal.  We were later informed that the sauce is pretty much butter and Frank's Red Hot, but fortunately we were being gluttonous that evening so it really didn't matter.

The wedge is pretty standard. A quarter sized wedge from a head of iceberg lettuce, house made bleu cheese (which is fantastic), bacon, egg, and some tomato and red onion.  I wish my lettuce wedge would have been a little more fresh--I think the salads were prepped earlier in the day, so they must have been sitting in the back, and mine was a little hard-tasted like raw cabbage-like.

Next, the big shabang.  Andy ordered the Press Burger.   It came with two patties, cheese,  lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and a fried egg on top.  He said it was similar to 185's Charles Burger, except it was on a bun and had more veggies.  I told Andy he should have ordered it plain with cheese, which is the style of our former boss (we'll just call it burger a la gray ghost for the sake of anonymity), since he removed all vegetable items (and fruit, if you call tomato a fruit) from the burger.

Anyway,  Andy worked his way through his burger and thought it lacked a certain crispiness that he enjoyed with Club 185's Charles Burger.   We got to talking for a long time and he let it sit for a while, so he enjoyed it more at room temperature.  Needless to say, Andy had a clean plate, so it was pretty tasty.   Beef lovers, what's not to love about two all beef patties with cheese? Haha!

I ordered the Chicken Pesto sandwich.  The sandwich comes on ciabata bread, with a slice of grilled chicken, bacon, cheese, grilled veggies, and homemade pesto.  The pesto was a little on the salty side.  I really do enjoy pesto, but the saltiness overpowered the natural salt from the bacon and from the grilled mushrooms.  The sandwich was pretty large, so I had half of it. Over all, it was pretty tasty.  Minus the salt on the pesto.

And now: the big deal of the main meal: the mac n cheese!!

Mac n cheese, i think, is a pretty much universal staple in American cuisine.  Rotini, elbow macaroni, shells, bowties, any shape, size, form, grain of pasta can be made into a creamy goodness of cheese, perhaps some vegetables and meat, and seasoning.

Press uses elbow macaroni tossed in a sauce made from several cheeses, then a delicious slice of American cheese melted on top.  The mac n cheese comes in sliced squares, so it is easy to dig into with your fork.  This block of cheesy goodness is tossed with pepper, and some other seasoning.  

I had to do a close up to have the full effect of the melted sliced cheese on top.  The bad thing about the mac n cheese is that it does not reheat well.  It is best to eat it at the bar, which, unfortunately was impossible because i inserted a vast quantity of food into my gullet.

CONCLUSION:  Press Grill is a great place to go with friends, on a date, or even by yourself for a bite to eat and a cool city vibe to check out.  I am definitely going to start taking advantage of the Tuesday night deal, for the "butter and red hot" sauce.

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