Restaurant Review: Skillet
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 blog.columbusalive.com/underthetable
410 E. Whittier St., German Village