Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Leptologists Eat at Stars Grill

Candice: Stars Grill is located next to the discount movie theater at the corner of Bethel and Sawmill.
Paul: That explains the name.
Candice: If they were next to the Petland...
Paul: ... they'd be called Hot Dogs?
Candice: Maybe. Seating is ample. There's room for 60-plus in the large room plus more with outside seating.
Paul: Which is in view of the movie theater entrance.
Candice: There's a small bar too.
Paul: The place smells of fried food.
Candice: It is a burger joint.
Paul: With some interesting specials and menu items.
Candice: Lets get the Poutine: Braised beef with gravy, onions, and cheese over french fries.
Paul: Wow! And the Lentil and Lamb Soup sounds good. It's a special.
Candice: I'll get the Chicken Tortilla Soup.
Paul: The place is known for its stuffed starburgers: burgers with the toppings inside the meat, not on top.
Candice: Stuffed burgers, huh? I'll have the Keyser Soze Burger, filled with sauerkraut and swiss cheese.
Paul: I'll order the Mac Attack, which is filled with...
Candice: ... Macaroni and cheese?
Paul: Correct.
Candice: The Poutine arrives.

Paul: This is an appetizer we've never had before.
Candice: It is good. The beef is moist, the ingredients fresh.
Paul: It tastes like State Fair food.
Candice: But it's healthier than chili fries, though it could use more cheese.
Paul: It's a tasty appetizer.
Candice: And here are the soups.

Lamb and Lentil Soup
Paul: Hmmm, umm... well. The lamb tastes too lamb-y.
Candice: That's not a word. Let me try. It tastes country Greek. It's got a musty, organic taste like the recipe is from someone's Gramma in Athens.
Paul: And the lentils are hard.
Candice: That's a shame. The Chicken Tortilla soup however is solid.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Paul: Not bad. Better than the Lamb and Lentil. I can't finish it.
Candice: The soup was timed well. Here come the burgers.
Paul: Yours is served on Texas Toast.
Candice: So?
Paul: The Keyser Soze Burger should probably be served on a Kaiser Bun.
Candice: Puns are your bread and butter, aren't they?

Kaiser Soze Burger
Paul: I wish you could make money with them, but there's no dough in it.
Candice: Stop.
Paul: But I'm on a roll!
Candice: Please.
Paul: It's the yeast I can do.
Candice: The Texas toast is actually more structurally sound than a bun would be. The meat is juicy. This is a really good burger. Yours?
Paul: Very good. It's like a cheeseburger inside a cheeseburger.
Candice: This concept of stuffed burger turned out better than I imagined.  I really enjoyed that.
Paul: My soup was off, but otherwise -- the Poutine, the burgers -- lunch was pretty good. I expected it to be gimmicky, not tasty.

Mac Attack Burger
Candice: The burgers were excellent.
Paul: The price was right. The wait was a little long, but you do have to cook the burgers long enough.
Candice: The wait wasn't too bad. Overall, worth the price, the wait, and coming back for more.
Paul: Agreed. Why are you snickering?
Candice: It wasn't crumby at all.
Paul: You had to get the last pun in, didn't you.

Candice   Paul   

Worth the Price?
Worth the Wait?
Worth Coming Back?

Stars Grill on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Leptologists Eat at Milestone 229

Candice: What a fabulous location.
Paul: Milestone 229 is located on the Scioto Mile, adjacent to Bicentennial Park.
Candice: With a great view of the fountains and downtown Columbus.
Paul: The architecture is unique, the restaurant semi circular and with glass walls in most directions.
Candice: I love the indoor decor. Love the curved bar. The view and decor are enjoyable. Lets see if the food matches it.
Paul: We agree to order the Crispy Pork Belly for the appetizer.
Candice: I'm going to try the Roasted Gerber Chicken Breast.
Paul: I attempt to order the Mahi, but I'm told it's not available. The Salmon however is. No thanks. I hastily make my second-choice, the Shrimp and Grits. That was disappointing. If you don't have a dish, don't put it on your menu.
Candice: Agreed. If availability is variable, make it a special.
Paul: Yeah. Look at these Pork Bellies!

Crispy Pork Bellies
Candice: This is a nice presentation.
Paul: Thick blocks of pork sit on yam puree next to coleslaw.
Candice: The slaw is very good. It has the right size of shreds and the perfect balance of acidity.
Paul: The yam puree is sweet and complements the tender pork. It tastes a bit like KFC.
Candice: That's a southern mama's authentic crispiness.
Paul: It's pretty darn good.
Candice: The sweetness of the puree and the tangy sour slaw cleanse the palate after the fatty crispiness of the pork belly. It's an explosion of flavor in a bite. The root beer reduction on the pork clarifies the yams. It ends with a clean finish. Well done, chef.

Grits and Shrimp
Paul: Another nice presentation, with the sausage and shrimp surrounding an island of grits.
Candice: The plates are too big for the entrees.
Paul: You can't tell from these up-close pictures. The grits have a nice contrast to the spicy sausage. I get a shrimp shell in my first bite alas. The sausage is only lukewarm, but the texture is good, and the heat lingers on the tongue.
Candice: Where's my fork? How am I supposed to eat my chicken without a fork?

Gerber Chicken Breast

Paul: Your entree does look wonderful: nice, contrasting colors.
Candice: The chicken appears dry. I can at least eat the mac and cheese and beans without a fork.
Paul: How are the side dishes?
Candice: This is excellent macaroni and cheese and the beans are fresh and crisp.
Paul: And here's your fork.

What the Fork?!?
Candice: I was right. The chicken is dry, especially around the edges. I can taste the organic-ness of the chicken, but it's not very good. There needs to be more gravy to make this palatable.
Paul: Too bad. What's our overall impression?
Candice: The appetizer was awesome and parts of the entrees were as well. I wish I had just ordered the mac and cheese. The chicken was dry and ulimately inedible.
Paul: Yes, the appetizer was the best part of the meal. My shrimp and grits were decent, but I wish they had had mahi like it says on the menu.
Candice: Worth the prices?
Paul: Yes. For your entree?
Candice: If it wasn't for the mac and cheese and green beans, I'd say no.
Paul: Worth the Wait?
Candice: Yes. We were seated at once.
Paul: I thought parking would be a problem, but there was ample street parking on the other side of Bicentennial Park.
Candice: And they do have valet parking.
Paul: Worth coming back?
Candice: Yes. Parts of the lunch were absolutely delicious.
Paul: And there are other things on the menu I'd like to try.
Candice: Yes, a mixed review, but nothing that says we wouldn't come back.
Paul: Just not tomorrow.

Candice   Paul   

Worth the Price?
Worth the Wait?
Worth Coming Back?

Milestone 229 on Urbanspoon

The Leptologists Eat at Lindey's

Candice: This entire menu looks good. I want everything.
Paul: That's just not feasible, though I have seen you eat more than a woman of your petite size should be able.
Candice: I love everything about Lindey's.
Paul: This is not our first time at this wonderful restaurant in German Village.
Candice: You're right and we have yet to review it. May I pick both appetizers?
Paul: No.
Candice: Then I'll order the mussels for my appetizer choice. And the lobster bisque for myself.
Paul: And I the shrimp for myself and the calamari as my appetizer choice.
Candice: For my entree...
Paul: I know, the entire menu looks good.
Candice: I could eat everything here!
Paul: But you will limit yourself to what entree?
Candice: Um...Eggs Lindey's.
Paul: Sounds good. I'll get the Crab Cake.
Candice: Love the Crab Cake. Good choice.  Hey, later in the year, we should come and eat on the patio. It's lovely.
Paul: It looks like it would be.  I'll put in on our calendar.  I must note that the inside is also well-appointed.
Candice: It is.  It's a... comfortable restaurant. I've always been at ease here.  Great food, great drink, great service...
Paul: Lindey's has a good reputation and you and I have eaten here before. It is one of our favorite restaurants. Do you think that will affect our review?
Candice: Good question, Paul.  I say Word of Mouth matters. It can help or hinder a restaurant.  For instance, I've dined at restaurants with awesome reputations I will never return to because of poor quality food. And on the flip side, we've had bad food at restaurants we love and that hasn't impacted my revisiting them.
Paul: You trust your own opinion over that of the Internet?
Candice: It's okay, you can call me an independent thinker.  It does make one wonder why anyone would trust us on matters of food, though.
Paul: Trust us, dear reader. We have no idea what we're doing!
Candice: Yes, we do!  It just may differ from experts and well....everyone else?
Look, the waiter has brought us a mountain of mussels! Woohoo!

Paul: That is a huge pile of mussels, covered in bacon, sage, onions, and cream.
Candice: Accompanied by crunchy, oily bread.
Paul: How's it taste?
Candice: Nearly perfect. The mussels are a bit fishy, but the sage contrasts it well with an earthiness. Try one.
Paul: Well...
Candice: I said - Try one!
Paul: Fine. It's a big dollop of food inside these shells. It tastes of fish and there's a bit of grit in here.
Candice: They're mussels, that happens sometimes. Well?
Paul: Mussels are not to my liking, but I can understand your appreciation.
Candice: Cool, you stick to your shrimp and the calamari.

Calamari and Shrimp
Paul: Wow! Awesome shrimp and calamari. The shrimp is cool, not warm and the warmth doesn't draw away from any of the flavor. I prefer the shrimp to the calamari.
Candice: That may just be your penchant for shrimp. I like the calamari more.
Paul: We all know your least favorite seafood is shrimp.
Candice: True. My bisque is good, but not as good as the bisque you received at Chez du Bon. This is a little saltier.
Paul: The appetizers are whisked away and the waiter scrapes the crumbs off with a silver implement.
Candice: I love when they do that. It's thoughtful service.  No one I know likes to lean into crumbs. No. one.
Paul: Even though they brought the soup to me instead of you.
Candice: Perfection is not a reachable state, at least in the forms we currently occupy, let alone which restaurant we choose.

Crab Cake
Paul: Uh, existentialism? You got that from soup?  I'm afraid to ask about the Eggs Lindey's now. We may end up here past the dinner hour. (Note to self: weirdo for friend.) Anyway, this is a lovely crab cake presentation. The cake itself and the corn relish atop is wonderful. The spinach, however is greasy and the potato shoestrings are stale.  Bummer.
Candice: Try a bite of all three together.
Paul: Nope, the potatoes are still stale and the spinach is like a lump in my mouth. The relish is fresh and tasty, the crab cake amazing, but the rest of this dish is off.
Candice: That's a shame.  My Eggs Lindey's look and smell great. (no life/egg/yin/yang comments, Candice, keep them to yourself. This is a food review, not Philosophy corner)

Eggs Lindey

Paul: Are those blackberries?
Candice: Yep. Every piece of this fruit is fresh and delicious.
Paul: And the eggs?
Candice: It's a balanced combination of proteins - eggs and steak. The muffin is pretty soggy, but otherwise this is a classic combination of flavors.
Paul: Well?   A couple missteps from one of our favorite restaurants today. The appetizers were very good, as was the crab cake, though my side dishes were a miss.
Candice: The mussels were great. The bisque was decent. The steak was good and the eggs a nice complement. Very good food, but no, not perfect.  See my comment above.
Paul:  Saw it. Noted it. You're a guru, a lady swami. I get it. I could go on, but we actually have work to get back to.  I will repeat myself too, however - Lindey's atmosphere is enjoyable. Their location in German Village quaint.  Even though, I may have had a few small disappointments, I really enjoy dining here.
Candice: It is a special restaurant.
Paul: Worth the price and worth the wait. A perfect location and close to downtown.
Candice: And it is worth coming back. We will definitely return, if even just to hang out on the patio and talk about nothing.
Paul:  You do have a knack for that.

Candice   Paul   

Worth the Price?
Worth the Wait?
Worth Coming Back?

Lindey's Restaurant and Bar on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Leptologists Eat at Chez du Bon

Candice: This is a first for us.
Paul: Yes, our first French restaurant, Chez du Bon. It's on South High Street just past the Statehouse.
Candice: It's dark coming inside from the street. Loud music is playing.
Paul: It has a grotto-like feel to it.
Candice: We're seated at a small table between a wall and a pole.
Paul: I'll take the pole. You take the wall.
Candice: Shouldn't that be the other way around? I'm the agile one, after all.
I order the Fig Ricotta & Honey Tartine for appetizer and the Sea Scallops Provencale.
Paul: Pfft, I am a crossfit master now.  I stand on my head, for Pete's sake.  I take pole position.
I order the Lobster Bisque and the Duck Cassoulet.
Candice: You're right.  I was mistaken.  My flexibility is of the mind anyway - Look, squirrel!  I can see it now because it's a little brighter because our eyes have adjusted.
Paul: I feel constricted. It's like this pole is looking over my shoulder.
Candice: Make up your mind.  Are you going to twirl on it or let it intimidate you? I see the water is served in a carafe. I like that. Elegance. I especially like the freestyle painting on the walls.
Paul: The colors are a little too dark for my taste, but I can appreciate the artistic sense of it.
The bisque and appetizer arrive.

Lobster Bisque
Candice: Very pretty bisque.
Paul: It's wonderful. There's a long, gentle heat to it.
Candice: Let me try.... That may be the best lobster bisque I have ever had. The cream and lobster are perfectly meshed.  It's like the lobster had cream for blood before they killed the poor sucker. Niiiiice.
Paul: Your tartine is plated beautifully.
Candice: It is well done, isn't it? But the figs and arugula have a burnt taste. It's interesting, but weird.

Fig, Ricotta and Honey Tartine
Paul: The figs are sticky and sweet. You're right. It's not a usual taste for a typical American palate.
Candice: The food is brought before our appetizer and soup are done. I don't like that.
Paul: There is not a lot of room on this small table. They should have waited for us to finish.
Candice: You always have my back.  Always.  Even when I'm wrong.  Of course, I do have to put up with you whispering into my ear how wrong I actually am when that happens, but I can live with that.
And, yum yum - these scallops are fresh and juicy and  the risotto is perfectly cooked.  Not squishy and undone, but soft and firm.  Well done, Chez Du Bon.
Paul: That is a nice plump scallop. The risotto is very tasty. Your dish is nicely seasoned.
Candice: Yup, it's good. How's the cassoulet?

Sea Scallops Provencale
Paul: It is magnificent.
Candice: Really? That word.  Alright, hand over a forkful.
Paul: Oui! The flavor is amazing. The duck is rich, but not greasy. The sausage is simple and the mashed sweet potatoes on which it all rests is a wonderful contrast.
Candice: Wow. That... is... amazing. The beans are perfectly cooked. The porridge is a perfect thickness. That is the best cassoulet I have ever tasted.  Two bests.  This is getting to be worth it, eh?
Paul: Agreed. It is fantastic. I'd come back to have this again and again.
Candice: Well, damn!

Duck Cassoulet
Paul: What?!
Candice: You win, asshole. I ended up with the weird food this time. You ended up with the best bisque and the best cassoulet we've ever tasted.
Paul: You can't win them all.
Candice: Well, I was kinda on a roll there...
And, the atmosphere is growing on me. It's not as oppressive as it was when we entered.
Paul: I still feel like someone is looming over my shoulder.
Candice: Embrace it already.  I'm going to walk around to the back.
Paul: I'll wait patiently here....
Candice: Sorry, that was a bit abrupt, wasn't it? You won't believe this. There's a whole other half of the restaurant back there, and it's lit well.
Paul: Let me see. You're right. And no one is seated in this open and brightly lit second dining room.
Candice: I would rather that they had sat us there or at least given us a choice.
Paul: Indeed. What do you think?
Candice: This was a fantastic meal, yours moreso than mine. But mine was still interesting and tasty. There's lots on this menu to sample--
Paul: --I'd get the cassoulet again.
Candice: The dining was elegant and the service was excellent.
Paul: So worth the price?
Candice: For this level of service and taste? Definitely.
Paul: Worth the wait?
Candice: We were seated immediately, and the food came quickly, maybe too quickly.
Paul: And worth coming back?
Candice: Yep.
Paul: Agreed. Three green checks, all around.
Candice: We'll have to find other French places to review.
Paul: How many more are there in Columbus to find?
Candice: You got me, dude.  Google, hello?  Let's go before the pole asks for your phone number.

Candice   Paul   

Worth the Price?
Worth the Wait?
Worth Coming Back?

Chez du Bon on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Leptologists Eat at Ethyl & Tank

Candice: We're on our way to Ethyl & Tank, a new joint near campus.
Paul: Seems like it should be Tank & Ethyl.
Candice: I wonder why they didn't consult you.
Paul: The oversight is glaring. In any case, here we are at this new campus hangout.
Candice: It is just off High Street, across from two tobacco shops. It's a good location.
Paul: We seat ourselves. The place is half full downstairs, empty upstairs. I bump my knees when I sit.
Candice: Because of your immensely long appendages.  I suppose I could just say you're tall.  You are tall, Paul.  The place has a coffee shop, a bar, food, and video games.
Paul: And a goat on the menu.
Candice: That all?  Maybe a sauna and some cots for naptime?  .

Paul: They have their demographic picked out, don't they.
Candice: This close to campus, they must. Caffeine, alcohol, comfort food, TV, WIFI, and video games.
Paul: What happens in summer when campus shuts down? I don't see many people from the suburbs coming down to campus to eat here.
Candice: Good question.  Maybe, their fans from The Crest Gastropub will find themselves over here. Or maybe, food reviewers will stop in.  Who knows? Anyhoo - I order the Chicken and Waffles. You get the Chicken-fried Steak.
Paul: For appetizers, we get the Potato Skins and Pork Rinds, something I've not seen on a menu before.
Candice: The patio will be nice in summer. I take a stroll upstairs: another bar and a couple walls of video games.  Sweet.
Paul: The appetizers take a while, but finally arrive.

Potato Skins
Candice: Very pretty.
Paul: You are not a fan of skins, are you.
Candice: Nope. Never.  What those I have tried have always been greasy or mealy or just plain icky, but these aren't bad: smooth, spicy skins, with soft potato and nicely seasoned shredded pork.
Paul: Very good skins, fresh, not crunchy, but nice and meaty. So, Potato skins are American sushi.
Candice: Uh, sushi is American sushi. But, if you're trying to make some correlation between finger foods and a particular culture's love for them, then, uh, okay. Now, these pork rinds...are just wonderful.  I have never experienced a fresh pork rind before.  I now understand the desire for mass distribution of the same.  Light, crispy with a deep flavor and barely any grease on your hands. Not oily and overly salted like the packaged brands I grew up on.

Pork Rinds
Paul: Phenomenal. Fresh and lightly seasoned. What a great appetizer. I don't think I can eat pork rinds from a bag ever again.
Candice: That is a vow you should take seriously.
Paul: Two great appetizers. Lets hope the entrees compare.
Candice: Here they are, a lovely presentation for both.
Paul: Mine comes without a knife. It's hard to eat a steak without a knife.
Candice: And the owner brings your crown out late as well.  Your crown being the lovely grill crusted jalapeno topped cornbread. Yum.

Chicken Fried Steak and Gravy
Paul: This plate is ridiculous! It spins.
Candice: It's like the food is running away from you!
Paul: This is a big cut of steak. The gravy is very good.
Candice: Yes, it makes the steak.
Paul: The potatoes are tasty as well. This is a good chicken-fried steak. And it's far more food than I can eat.

Chicken and Waffles
Candice: This waffle is good, but it gets too sugary after a while.
Paul: Nice presentation.
Candice: I have my crown.
Paul: Yes, we know.  It may be invisible to the rest of the world, but I recognize the sparkle of a Queen's head ring when I see one. Your chicken is tasty, but I am not a fan of the cornbread.
Candice: I like it. But there's more here than I can eat.  They put a lot of food on these spinny plates.
Paul: So, what do you think of this place?
Candice: It's cool.  Still feels fresh. If it holds out, I think a little tarnish to its varnish would do it some good.  And, maybe put some felt on the bottom of these discuses otherwise known as those spinny things, also known as 'wow, am I shiny, please smother my brightness with the yumminess of massive food'.
Paul: Food, alcohol, coffee, video games, and free WIFI. What else does a college student need?
Candice: Tuition? Friends? At least one black-out? A bicycle? A lesson in jaywalking? Some solid academic advice?
Paul: Uh, uh..okay, okay.  Fix the tilt on that head ring of yours, and let me know how you really feel.
Candice:  Fine, Tall Paul, back to business. Uhhmm, okay - The design is great, the portions are huge. If it wasn't for these silly spinning plates, the place would be just about perfect.
Paul: Yeah, but I wonder if it's going to catch on. Does it have the coolness young, hip people are attracted to?
Candice: Really?  Young, hip people?  You might as well be wearing a sandwich board saying "Old Geezer" on it.  One doesn't have to be young and hip to appreciate this place.  It could be an erstwhile delusional 40-something woman with a Giant Crossfit Junkie Gollum as a friend.  But, time will tell. So, green check marks all around.
Paul: Worth the price, worth the wait, and worth coming back.
Candice: And, worth the time spent.  It really was a nice meal, food and otherwise.

Candice   Paul   

Worth the Price?
Worth the Wait?
Worth Coming Back?

Ethyl & Tank on Urbanspoon