Editor's Note: Crave contributor Jill Moorhead blogs about her culinary travels at itinerantfoodies.com
With the crowds lining up at the new Crest, you’d think that it’s the only eatery--or drinkery--in the area. True, it’s one of the first new dining establishments in years to grace the streets of the city’s crunchiest neighborhood (if you don’t count Mya’s Fried Chicken or the on-again-off-again relationship the Yerba Buena food truck has with the area). If you’re in the area and want to grab something without waiting in lines, we’ve got three to try.
Quick Bite: Sushi at Cornerstone Deli
With taste and texture dozens of times better than grocery store sushi (but at grocery store sushi prices), Cornerstone’s sushi is an easy go-to when you’re in a hurry but don’t want the greasy drive-thru fare that’s in abundance in Clintonville. If sandwiches are more your thing, there’s a bonus: they deliver.
Fast Casual: Lavash Cafe
This Mediterranean eatery has quietly expanded, to the north (with a grapevine-covered patio) and to the south (with an additional storefront dedicated solely to catering). With a bright atmosphere and consistent fare, Lavash’s menu appeals to just about any palate. Vegetarians will love the falafel plate served with a crisp, fresh salad, and carnivores should try the lamb kabob sandwich. (Same amount of meat as the lamb kabob, but at a fraction of the price.) The savory basmati rice, topped with slivers of almonds, is a winner, as well.
Fine Dining: Sage American Bistro
While it’s technically in Old North Columbus, Sage American Bistro is close enough to the ‘ville to count as the fine dining restaurant of choice. The restaurant’s food and drink have stayed dependably excellent, despite Chef William Glover’s residence at Gallerie at the Downtown Hilton. Sage’s atmosphere is approachable, while the menu carries a variety of options from safe (Ohio chicken served aside a green bean salad) to squirmy (bone marrow). The pork belly--my favorite--is gone from the menu, but the frisee salad, served with a warm soft poached egg, bacon lardons and bright pickled onions, is there for the long haul. (Interestingly enough, a similar salad is getting rave reviews at Gallerie.)
For a more casual experience, sit at the bar. Grab a cocktail, nibble on the Ohio cheese plate and soak in the urban experience, as the COTA bus makes its presence known outside the windows every 15 minutes. For Clintonvillites, this is charming.