10. Worthington Inn

Story by G.A. Benton + Photos by Will Shilling

Time curves in on itself at the Worthington Inn. Here amid quaint old paintings and elaborately carved woodwork, you step into the past to dine in the present.

Inside the delightfully preserved 19th-century country mansion, pink and tender spring lamb chops are lavished with a multi-culti artichoke and harissa ragu straddled by the yin and yang of a sriracha-based sauce and housemade tzatziki.

Or a Sunday-style chicken dinner is elevated with succulently roasted, locally raised poultry graced by a demi-like morel gravy (when in season).

If the Inn's ingredient-driven homemade cuisine seems to defy expectations of its museum-like 1800s setting, actually scratch cooking with local ingredients hearkens back to its Victorian-era roots.

Overseeing the everything-old-is-new-again deliciousness is the freshness-obsessed and versatile chef Thomas Smith, who uses (when available) herbs and vegetables grown in his own garden.

Smith has also added several casual touches to loosen up this fine dining institution--like grilling up a great, grass-fed, Ohio-raised hamburger and starting a breakfast-all-day policy on summery Saturdays during the Worthington Farmer's Market.

Weather permitting, the burger and breakfast are best enjoyed on the Inn's scenic patio with an icy cocktail or glass of wine from a fine vino list. Plan B is definitely lounging in the vintage barroom, where "cheffed-up" pubby munchies are offered and great (free!) jazz bands play on weekend evenings.

Ending with intensely fruity Inn-made sorbets or ice creams is a revivifying warm-weather finale and a fittingly contemporary old-fashioned treat.

Worthington Inn 649 High St., Worthington 614-885-2600 worthingtoninn.com Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday

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