SeeSaw celebrates excess.
[Editor's Note: After this article was published, we reported that chef Jonathon Sawyer's name and image had been removed from SeeSaw's website and replaced by executive chef Nate Hall. The abrupt change followed a week in which Sawyer shuttered his Cleveland restaurant Greenhouse Tavern amid mounting personal debt. It is unclear whether Sawyer is still a partner in SeeSaw with Forward Hospitality Group. Its representatives have declined to comment, saying only that Forward Hospitality is assessing the situation.]
In-the-know food enthusiasts have been anticipating the arrival of Cleveland’s James Beard award-winning chef Jonathon Sawyer in Columbus for several years.
But SeeSaw threw us off balance. We didn’t expect the chef’s Short North debut to come packaged with a nightclub. (Given the neighborhood’s rent these days, who can blame him?) Judging by the lines on weekends, many are embracing SeeSaw’s party ethos. Fans of the old Short North, not so much. Either way, are we happy Sawyer’s food is here? Yes.
The ground-floor dining room (the nightclub is upstairs) is an industrial space with ample light streaming in from garage doors and living walls supporting large TVs. The menu consists of well-executed bar food shareables, sandwiches and entrées—many of them wood-fired—with a side of social media-tailored spectacle. As the chef is known to describe it, SeeSaw is what would happen if his award-winning Greenhouse Tavern went to college.Meet the 15 newcomers on Columbus Monthly's Best New Restaurants list.
Case in point: If you’re an Instagram influencer in need of light, you can order The World Famous Edible Candle to pair with a wonderful house-baked pita. The idea is to dip your pita into the melting beef-tallow “wax.” Fun idea, but it offers more gimmick than flavor; perhaps try one of the other dips available instead.
Not to be missed are the restaurant’s Simply the Best Chicken Wings, which come pretty darn close when tossed in Greenhouse Tavern’s signature mixture of garlic, lemon, jalapeño and green onion.
Burgers, fried chicken and steak are all here, but don’t overlook the veg-focused items, such as the buttery mushroom tempura, which features lightly battered hen of the woods mushrooms meant for dunking in an aioli-like gribiche sauce. For something light, the Yoga Master salad, with quinoa, goji berries, grapefruit, avocado and arugula, will ensure you’re feeling good for that 6 a.m. vinyasa class.
That said, SeeSaw celebrates excess. At brunch, grab a friend to tackle the modestly named chicken biscuit, actually two honey-kissed biscuits connected by a seriously large slab of Sawyer’s Seriously Good Fried Chicken. It comes with a side of sausage gravy, because: YOLO.
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