Friday, December 17, 2010

Road Trip: Lindey's, Columbus, OH

I know it seems like we have been doing a lot of road trips lately, and we have.  This one came about because of visiting Hubby’s family over Thanksgiving. We got a chance to meet up with some of hubby’s friends and leave the kids with the Grandparents and head out to dinner.  We have eaten our way a fair amount around Columbus, but had never been to Lindey’s in German Village.
We were a little early, and our friends were a little late so we enjoyed a drink at the bar while we waited. I loved the bar.  The whole interior of this place is beautiful—the building is turn of the century.  It has a lovely copper topped bar and tin ceilings and beautiful mirrors over the bar.  You feel like you are in an old restaurant in San Francisco or Boston when you walk in. So far, so good.
We were seated and greeted promptly by our professional server—there are a few specials, but I was in love with the appetizer section of the menu. There were so many things I wanted to try that I went with my classic and got one for my main dish as well.  Luckily, everyone at the table got a different appetizer and wanted to share (my favorite kind of dining companions) so I got to try lots of things pretty equally.
We had the chicken, artichoke and ginger potstickers with Asian slaw and sweet chile sauce.  I am a sucker for any kind of potstickers that are different from the traditional pork ones (I like those too, but for some reason I get really excited when I see other flavors).  My favorites were the shrimp and scallop potstickers at Firefly in San Francisco. Yum.  Anyway, I digress.  These were nice.  The wontons were nicely seared and had a bit of crunch to them.  The flavoring inside tasted okay, although I didn’t really pick out a lot of the artichoke flavor.  The slaw was a good accompaniment; it had a bit of a tangy dressing on it that was tasty in the bite with the potsticker.  A little of the sauce was good, but it was pretty sweet.
I also had a fair amount of the Carpaccio.  Wow.  This was a beautiful, very classic, perfect example of Carpaccio.  Paper thin rounds of raw tenderloin with just a bit of sea salt, some wonderfully marinated and grilled (but served chilled) Portobello mushroom slices, and a nice pile of well dressed arugula salad with shaved fennel and parmesan.  There was a little drizzle of chipotle aioli giving a bit of creaminess, and a little variation from the traditional flavors, but not overwhelming the flavor of the beef at all.  Wow, this was stellar. The meat was perfect and fresh, and all the flavors combined with it—the peppery arugula and the creamy aioli and salty parmesan. It was perfect.
We also shared the calamari and shrimp fritto misto.  This was one of the better fritto mistos I have had in awhile.  And they did a good job of making sure the shrimp was butterflied and therefore the same density as the calamari (rings and legs). It was all perfectly tender and was accented well with a squeeze of lemon and the slightly zippy remoulade.  The batter was light and perfectly crunchy
Finally, I had a taste of the tuna tartare as well.  The tuna was lovely, and fresh.  It was done with a soy type sauce underneath and wasabi and crème fraiche on top.  Simple, but the fish was lightly seasoned, and as long as you didn’t grab too much of the wasabi in your bite, was delicious.
The only problem I had with the appetizers was the fact that they brought out the warm appetizers first, and there was quite a stretch between the time when the hot ones were served and the time when the raw ones were served.  Seemed kind of weird that they couldn’t get the cold (actually raw) dishes served at the same time that they could cook other dishes.  Our server was just as perplexed about it as we were.  Luckily, we were having a very enjoyable time with friends, and didn’t mind, particularly since we shared everything.
For my main dish, I had the mussels with sautéed pancetta, sage and shallots and sherry.   This dish was delicious as well flavor-wise, although temperature-wise tasted like it may have been sitting for a few minutes.  My guess is it probably got finished by the person doing apps before the rest of the entrées were finished.  The sauce was almost more of a cream sauce, but beautifully flavored with the sherry and herbs.   The mussels were nice and tender and not too big.  I also ordered a side of the housemade French fries, which were the perfect partner to the mussels.  They were nice and hot and crispy—not too skinny, but still pleasantly crispy on the outside.  If the mussels had just been steaming hot, they would have been perfect.
Hubby had the steak frites which was a flatiron steak with an arugula salad and more of the frites.  The steak also appeared to have been sitting a bit, but the flavor of it was great. Beef is so well accented by arugula I think because of the peppery bite. The flatiron is a slightly fattier piece of beef, but it was sliced against the grain, and the extra fat gave it a nice flavor, but it was still not too chewy. We really enjoyed the grilled flavor on the outside of the meat.  The others at the table had other types of steak that I didn’t try, but which looked quite good.
We also shared a dessert which was the cherry and croissant bread pudding.  It was baked in a dish and served had a creamy interior and a caramelly sauce on the side.  The flavor wasn’t bad, but it was a little more custardy than you generally expect with bread pudding.  There didn’t seem to be that much of the “bread” part in there. 
I loved the atmosphere of this place, and the food was also really great.  The place is pretty noisy, but not so much that you can’t talk to each other.  When I see a place like this, which has expanded a couple times within their block and is a pretty good sized restaurant, but was turning tables the whole time we were there, I wonder why there aren’t more places like this in Indy.  Very well done classic bistro food in a smart, lively environment.
Interestingly, I learned after we got home that the family who started Lindey’s also started the Bravo restaurants which they then sold off.  It is too bad that Bravo doesn’t have even a little of the character and tasty food that Lindey’s does.  But I guess that is the difference between a well run successful independent and a chain.  I just don’t think you get the same passion and personality.
Anyhow, if you are in Columbus, and looking for a charming restaurant with high quality food at pretty reasonable prices ($8-15 for appetizers, $11-15 for pastas and $20-35 for entrées), I would easily recommend Lindey’s, and I think it will be one of my most frequently requested places to go when we visit the in-laws.  And bonus, it is bistro-ish enough the kids would be welcome as well.  I look forward to a return visit.
169 East Beck Street
Columbus, OH 43206

Lindey's Restaurant and Bar on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Looks good and a good reminder that Indy needs more $20-$30 entrée places that are independents.