Thanksgiving dining options abound for 2012
Ahhh, Thanksgiving! What an exciting and magical day! It's when carefully coiffed and brightly beaming faces giddily lean over a gleaming table to exchange loving familial glances before digging into an enormous and perfectly prepared turkey served by a lady draped in a spotless apron. Wait, you beg to differ?
OK, I was actually describing that famous Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving painting entitled "Freedom from Want." "Freedom from Truth" is more like it. I write this because a few crucial things seem missing from Rockwell's depiction, like: hellish days of harried shopping culminating in a painful, protracted and hysterical internment in the kitchen -- which results in mountains of dirty dishes but not a clean apron; nihilistic drinking, political bickering plus streams of unasked for and unwanted "lifestyle advice" that hardly add up to ubiquitous smiles; dry and taste-challenged turkey, pasty potatoes and lumpy gravy choked back with heaping helpings of resentment, dissatisfaction and unappreciated sacrifice. I might exaggerate for effect, but you get my drift.
Anyway, if you've ever experienced a Thanksgiving more like the second scenario than the first, then you might think about letting highly trained professionals assume all of the pressure while your family simply eats and runs -- hopefully back to clean houses with plenty of TVs and couches. Here are some cheffy upgrades on traditional holiday favorites offered by top-notch restaurants doling out turkey on Thanksgiving day.
169 E. BECK ST., GERMAN VILLAGE
Lindey's -- the grande dame of Columbus fine dining -- has been feeding teeming Thanksgiving crowds for 31 years now, and it'll be serving its famous "Thanksgiving Plate" to about 900 more ravenous patrons Nov. 22.
All of the expected classics will be on it, only they'll be jazzed up with some of that Lindey's flair.
Expect slices of roast turkey to be accompanied by garlic whipped potatoes, that louche green bean casserole (but fashioned with homemade cream of mushroom soup and crunchy house onion straws) plus scratch-made cornbread stuffing and cranberry sauce accessorized with warming seasonal spices such as cinnamon and ginger. The price will be $26 (children eat for half price) and includes complimentary valet parking.
595 S. THIRD ST., GERMAN VILLAGE
Characteristic of this next place, Northern sophistication meets Southern comfort on the Thanksgiving turkey plate at the great G. Michael's ($23). That platter will be teetering over with roasted organic breast meat, bacon-fortified cornbread stuffing, sour cream and chive mashed potatoes, sauteed green beans with caramelized onions and house-made sun-dried cranberry relish enlivened by orange zest plus a splash of Johnnie Walker Red.
MCCORMICK AND SCHMICK'S
3965 NEW BOND ST., EASTON
Free seconds on side dishes will be provided for the traditional Thanksgiving fare at Easton mall seafood specialist McCormick and Schmick's. Preceded by butternut squash bisque (or a salad), this $25 plate will arrive loaded with white and dark meat turkey, mashed potatoes with pan gravy, fresh green beans, orange-kissed cranberry sauce and homey cornbread stuffing. Bonus: Black Friday aficionados will find themselves already camped out at Columbus' premier shopping mall -- if the tryptophan doesn't sap their will to wheel and deal for furiously discounted holiday gifts, that is.
649 HIGH ST., WORTHINGTON
If you're really looking to get a huge feedbag on -- and amateurs need not apply here -- then don your roomiest pants and head to the holiday-perfect setting of ye olde Worthington Inn. This 19th-century gem goes hog wild in honoring America's heroic day of feasting, offering a mammoth buffet. The supporting cast includes soups (butternut squash with a bacon slaw), salads, pastas, a meal-in-itself dizzying array of sides (wild rice with fruits and nuts, buttermilk mashers, roasted sweet potatoes, green beans with wild mushroom cream and crispy leeks, stuffing, cranberry-orange relish and more) plus desserts.
The starring roles will be played by A-list proteins such as: oven roasted turkey with mushroom pan gravy; carved country ham with tropical salsa; slow-cooked beef short ribs with rosemary and red wine; and fennel-crusted salmon with white wine and roasted garlic. The tab for this culinary blockbuster is $37 ($20 for ages 4-12, free for 3 and under), which ain't a bad price when you consider you probably won't be needing any more food the rest of the -- or even the whole next -- day.