Afternoon delights: Let's do lunch

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

There you go again, with another day spent at a job you secretly resent (come on, everyone does, it's natural) but lately wonder if maybe you're lucky to still own. So like clockwork, you while away the morning hours with one eye flicking on your ticking watch while the other eye watches for snoopers who might glimpse at what's really flicking on your screen.

Lunchtime finally limps along and it's the usual un-enthusing losers. Let's see: you've got a quick and greasy ho-hummer bought from a bummer chosen by a boring co-worker, or then there's that cost-cutting ordeal of a near-meal you brought with you and are trying hard to pretend is perfectly OK.

So when the wearying workday fades away, are you going to make that flimsy munch up to yourself? In other words, in this crushing "when's the next fork going to drop?" economy, are you going to splurge on an expensive and lengthy dinner at one of our city's finest? Probably not, huh? Oh yeah, livin' the dream.

Well, how about you "carpe dinner" by luxuriating in top-notch destination restaurants, savoring food you really want to eat only at about half the cost, and at a quicker - though not rushed - pace? How can this be accomplished, you ask? I'll answer that literally gnawing question by simply suggesting this: "lunch - it's what's for dinner."

See, I think few people think to take advantage of the lowish midday tariffs at our highest-achieving cuisine purveyors; too many lunchtime grumblers, and I can't blame them, assume desirable kitchens aren't operating then or otherwise feel priced-out or intimidated by their nighttime reputations.

But the truth is, a plateful of our elite eateries also offer incredible - and full-size - luncheon entrees for a very affordable $10 to $15. What's more, these pampering businesses are relaxed during a nooner and thus show off their casual side while still cooking up serious food.

Plus, after treating yourself to one of the best, you won't resent settling for whatever at supper. Because when you swap your brown bags for white linens, your green is purchasing fond memories to chew on throughout the day. Relatedly, you're scoring, but not really paying for, the complete fine-dining experience - from excellent bread service to lounging about and soaking up the sweet, eye-candy scenery.

Alternately, you can have "lunch for dinner" to get your feet wet with splashy meals from your pool of "rarely visited and reserved for special events" places - restaurants where you're not sure you want to take the full plunge into dinnertime dollars yet. To these ends, I visited some stellar Columbus restaurants for lunch. Here's a few delicious thoughts.