2016 Best Restaurants: #3 Wolf's Ridge Brewing

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

In its third year, Wolf's Ridge Brewing continues to impress, with its cerebral starters and generously portioned mains that show a reverence for seasonal vegetables. The dishes are expertly crafted with a level of complexity that would draw even the most talented home chef to the Downtown restaurant and brewery.

Despite changes in operations in the last year-including the addition of 250 new wholesale accounts for its beer and the addition of a taproom kitchen-chef Seth Lassak has kept a strong hold on the edible masterpieces that grace the plates of the handsomely sparse dining room. For Lassak, produce becomes paint. Thick strokes of garlic or celery purees serve as bases for protein-heavy courses. Dabs of strawberries contrast with splatters of bright green finger limes to create a visual contrast almost as intriguing as the curiously mingling flavors in Lassak's Scallop Crudo.

Lassak is a vegetable whisperer in many of his courses, allowing them to take center-or, more likely, off-center-plate. Take the simply titled starter Artichokes. He adds Mediterranean staples like olives, Marcona almonds and artichokes to grilled asparagus, Romanesco, frisee and a mushroom so meaty that it's apt to send many a vegetarian to the menu for a second glance.

And lest we forget, Wolf's Ridge is a brewery as well. Cocktails and a wide variety of wine (not just the boxed kind kept "just in case" in many a brewery) are served alongside food-friendly beers crafted in-house by Chris Davison. The citrus of the Howling Moon IPA sings alongside halibut and trout, while a late-in-the-dinner N2 the Night Nitro Milk Stout is a perfect pairing with the spicy cheesecake.

Wolf's Ridge Brewing

215 N. Fourth St., Downtown,?614-429-3936

Memorable Dishes:? Scallop Crudo, Habanero Cheesecake

What He's Reading:"When we are changing menus we always go to 'Culinary Artistry' by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. This book showcases seasonal products and has a list of complementing/ contrasting flavors to go with each ingredient. It's a great tool for us to flavor-bounce from one ingredient to another, and keep it as seasonal and simple as possible."–Chef Seth Lassak