2016 Best Restaurants: #1 Veritas Tavern

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly
Savory Pumpkin Cheesecake at Veritas Tavern

It really is that good. And here's a scoop: Barring complications, Veritas plans a move Downtown by early spring (see below). In the meantime, it's still worth the short drive to Delaware to eat at the best restaurant in Central Ohio.

Much has been made about the molecular gastronomy razzle-dazzle practiced in chef/owner Josh Dalton's casual little hip establishment, whose name means "truth" in Latin. Well, here's the truth: All that kitchen wizardry is used to create harmony in beautiful dishes that are elegant yet playful, delicate yet powerful.

Small plates are the name of the game. Mainstays include gnocchi so light they practically evaporate on your tongue, leaving behind a sublime memory of cream and sweet crabmeat; bacon risotto with a 62.5-degree egg and miniature biscuit-a haiku about breakfast written in rice; the lean, sous-vide-cooked-then-grilled "shoulder filet" with pop-art-plating flourishes-a delicious steak dinner that won't provoke a food coma.

Veritas especially shines with its fabulous, ever-changing tasting menu. As a September visit proved, every course tells a story. Nostalgia for New Orleans inspires shrimp and grits in the striking form of a chip and dip equipped with a hot sauce-filled pipette. Velvety, stunning corn soup with tapioca-like "blackberry caviar" is an ode to Jeni's ice cream. A reimagined Buckeye candy filled with liquid peanut butter celebrates football season.

Add chef's-garden ingredients, a sophisticated staff with perfect timing, a deep and serious wine list rife with bargains and marvelous cocktails such as the smoke-puffing Brushfire, and it equals 4-year-old Veritas being No. 1 again.

The Best is Yet to Come

Our No. 1 restaurant is ?moving to Downtown Columbus this spring. After months of rumors, chef/owner Josh Dalton says Veritas will relocate from Delaware to the old Citizens Building at 51 N. High St., currently being developed by Edwards Companies.

The restaurant will double in size from its current 1,300 square feet to 2,700, add weekday lunch to its repertoire and feature a more spacious kitchen encased in glass, making it the focal point of the restaurant.

"I feel like the way the industry is going, people want to see what's going on; to see where the magic happens," Dalton says. "We looked at a ton of spaces, and this gives us the opportunity to do the food we want to do."

The move to the stately old building at High and Gay streets will no doubt heighten customers' experience as well, though Dalton intends to maintain a creative and highly curated dining experience in a relaxed environment.

"Veritas is very warm and welcoming. We want to keep that atmosphere," Dalton says. "We are in the Midwest, and we want to make sure that it's warm and welcoming and inviting. I don't want it to be stiff and stuffy."

As for Veritas' current home, Dalton already has plans to open a new restaurant at the Winter Street location. "We'll go Downtown and focus on that space then come back and open up a new concept that we're just as excited about," he says.

Veritas Tavern

15 E. Winter St., Delaware,? 740-417-4074

Memorable Dishes:? Corn and Blackberry soup;Blue Prawn, Curry and Rice