Restaurant Review: Skillet

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Did you know that Skillet - that staunchly local-ingredient-sourcing little dynamo of acheap, kick-ass modern diner- is now serving dinner? Basedon the teemingcrowds I haven'tseen lining up out its door recently (though the place has hardlybeenempty), I'm guessing not.

But going on three months now, Skillet's been whipping up their knock-you-in-the-chopsand beg-for-more ferociously flavored cuisine during evening mealtimes. What's more, well-informed and super-friendly waiters now come to your table, yetprices are still alluringly inexpensive.

How alluring? Well,not a single item on Skillet'sOhio-product-packed menu costs more than a single fancy cocktail at cushier places (translation: all oversized, custom-made sandwiches and "plate"entrees clock in between $9 and $12).

OK, this brings up two pertinent issues: Skillet still doesn't have alcohol-enhanced quaffs, and while its smallish space isn't "upscale" it isdesign-smart and edgy in a masculine,farmhouse-art-school kind of way (yes, I just coined that term).

Let's get to the food, becauseaudacious takes oncreative,scratch-made dinery favorites is what Skillet'sall about. OK, like meat? If not,Skilletprobablyisn't your kind of joint. But if you are a happy carnivore, oh boy, this tiny powerhouseis calling your name.

Before sinking my teeth into the mighty meat, though, I'll mention that only a couple of soups and salads comprise the entiretyof the "appetizers" on Skillet's brief, tersely written menu. From these, the Cream of Tomato ($2.50 per cup) distinguished itself from its genre proudly. Eating surprisingly light for a broth fraught with cream and smoky peppered bacon, it received a contrasting,earthy texture and tastefrom a chunky mirepoix dice.

The Simple Salad of Arugula ($4) was also a delight. BasicallyItalian in its stripped-down aesthetic, it was just fresh, peppery leaves refreshingly, perfectly, treated to salt, lemon and olive oil.

Clean and lean grass-fed beef from nearby Flying J Farms (Johnstown) was the rockstar of my newfavorite burger ($9). The juice-leaking pattyarrived with a textbook seared crust and on a crunchily toasted brioche bungilded with afried localegg, Point Reyes fontina cheese and richness-cutting arugula. An interesting, housemade sweet and thick tomato marmalade came on the side.

More local, grass-fed, high-grade beef crowded a bowl brimming over with comforting joy - this time in slabs of braised Bluescreek Farms pot roast. Playing sidekick in this dynamic duo (Mac & Brisket, $12) was a mountain of crusty, bread-crumb-topped cavatappi macaroni and Amish cheddar cheese.

Darkly cross-hatched, Ohio-raised chicken breastlightly swabbed with a bright and fruity barbecue-type glaze was the meat of the matter on the Grilled Buttermilk-Black Pepper Chicken sandwich ($10). The delicious winner also featured more lemony arugula (love that stuff) and a creamy/tangy surprise schmear of goat cheese.

This brings us to the insane but insanely wonderful Pig Mac ($12). Approximately the size of Pittsburgh, the outrageously massive sandwich (with delicate sweet housemade pickles, tender, cider-braised pulled pork, huge slabs of herby pork loin, bacon, smoked gouda and tons more) arrived with a huge serrated knife stabbing its toasty seeded roll in the middle. Consider that the alarming calling card of an unbelievable, killer sandwich.

Side dish-wise, I recommend the crispy, rosemary-flecked fingerling potatoes ($4). I also suggest you up that ante with a bowl of Ohio-raised Lamb Chorizo Gravy! Dessert will be a bursting-with-butter, lovely textured Griddled Cinnamon Roll with String Icing ($4).

OK, now you should be ready to line up outside Skillet's door at dinnertime, right?

For more local food news and reviews, click to G.A. Benton's blog at


410 E. Whittier St., German Village