Fixins and finery
The words “elegant” and “deviled eggs” might look misplaced in the same sentence. But they make perfect sense together when describing Hen Quarter, a sparkling member of the new Bridge Park development along the Scioto River.
Part of a small chain based in the Washington, D.C., area, Hen Quarter's Dublin location is propelled by the vision of owner and Westerville native Ron Jordan and executive chef Cullen Flinn, an Ohio cook who attended Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts in Pittsburgh. The local team infuses downtown-style flair into down-home Southern-style fare.
The restaurant's roomy space tastefully conveys this melding of upscale and casual characteristics. Lighting that's bright but inviting illuminates mostly neutral colors accentuated by bolder shades, parquet flooring, blond wooden tables bearing black cloth napkins and graphic murals of chickens—some of which decorate four dramatic private dining areas.
The expansive wine list is rife with popular labels. Lively cocktails shaken with house-made tinctures, bitters and syrups, plus a wide selection of whiskeys, merit even deeper explorations.
Among dressed-up snacks designed to be enjoyed with such beverages are those heavenly deviled eggs, which arrive upright and with their lush-yet-tangy fillings playing off microgreens, Espelette chili pepper sprinkles and crisp shards of Benton's bacon. Fried green tomatoes also get a tony makeover with a rich crab ravigote enhanced by high-grade shellfish meat.
The dynamic gumbo surrounding a crawfish-topped rice tower is pretty enough to eat, and you should do that. Looking for a feast? That bill is easily filled by lusty short ribs and a carrot-parsnip purée enriched with demi-glace and brightened by gremolata, or the signature fried chicken dinner with large, grandma-surpassing sides such as mac 'n' cheese, grits, mashed potatoes and collard greens.
Meet the Owner: Ron Jordan
Resume: “I've been in the business most of my life—(including) 20 years as a QSR franchisee with Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.”
How do you like to spend a day off? “Day off—that's hilarious. But I love spending time at home with my wife and four young girls.”
What does Central Ohio need? “A fresh perspective on fine dining [like] bigger cities, where it's about more than food. This is what my group is hoping to bring!”
Grits, mashed potatoes or mac 'n' cheese? “Mashed potatoes all day long”
Most-Instagrammed item on the menu: “Our cocktails and chicken and waffles”