Eating Out With Kids: Kitchen Social

This popular Polaris-area restaurant earns praise for its scratch-made food and stellar service.

Melissa Kossler Dutton
Szechuan Noodles

Melissa Kossler Dutton and her sons, Nick, 16, and Alex, 14, snagged a late-season patio reservation to check out Kitchen Social, which marked a year in business in November.

Mom Says…

If you’ve spent any time on the Support Central Ohio Restaurants Facebook page, you’ve probably read rave reviews of Kitchen Social. The restaurant, tucked into a nondescript retail center near Polaris Fashion Place, is very popular with those dedicated to promoting local restaurants during the pandemic. While we were eager to try the eatery known for its made-from-scratch offerings, we were less thrilled about driving 25 minutes through the traffic-clogged streets of Polaris to eat on a patio overlooking a parking lot. (It’s safe to say we may have been a little hangry.) So plan your arrival time accordingly. 

Like other Polaris-area restaurants, Kitchen Social may not be the most scenic spot to dine al fresco. But the owners are doing all they can to make it one of the most comfortable outdoor dining experiences in town, thanks to lots of propane heaters and fire pits, plus fuzzy blankets. 

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Given that we were so hungry when we arrived, I immediately placed an order for the Korean BBQ Cauliflower ($10) and the Street Corn Nachos ($8). That bought us time to review the delicious-sounding options on the regular menu and the brunch menu. Both appetizers were fantastic. The tangy barbecue sauce went perfectly with yum yum sauce and cilantro. 

For my meal, I ordered the Szechuan Noodles ($14). Because of Nick’s peanut allergy, I don’t often get to order Asian food when dining out, but our waiter and the manager assured us the dish was peanut-free. The entrée was bursting with flavor—including a bit of a kick from Fresno chiles. The Szechuan sauce was just the right mix of sweetness, spice and salt. It made for a hearty meal with lots of fresh vegetables and chicken.

Our waiter was super attentive, eager to answer questions and did all he could to add another layer of warmth to our experience.

Nick Says…

When we first went to Kitchen Social, I was not expecting much. I had just come home from camping and was not excited about eating another meal outdoors. I was glad to see that they had so many heat sources on the patio. 

Our waiter was also very nice, and the manager and chef both were walking around asking the guests how the food was. I got even more intrigued when I looked at the menu and saw so many delicious-sounding options. 

For my meal, I decided to share a Crispy Chicken Sandwich ($13) and the brunch menu’s Chorizo Scramble ($11) with my dad. Both were incredible. 

The Street Corn Nachos appetizer was really good. The cheese was melted and creamy, but it did not taste like the stuff you get at a sports game with your pretzel. It had a real cheddar taste—it had to be house-made. It was also drizzled with chipotle crema and lime crema. The three sauces worked really well together. The chips were very crunchy and tasty. 

The chicken sandwich was on a soft bun, but the thing that really made it amazing was the chicken. It was tender and breaded, but not greasy. It tasted amazing, and the breading was really good and crispy, too. It also came with house-cut fries that were nice and crunchy.

Street Corn Nachos

The Chorizo Scramble, however, was my favorite. The egg was fluffy and light. The cornbread was delicious and did not crumble to dust when you tried to eat it. The chorizo was spicy, but not too hot or greasy. The beans and other ingredients all combined to create a delicious bite. When I first saw it, I thought it looked like a mess and I was not sure if it would go well together. But it was really good. It also was tasty reheated as leftovers the next day.

Overall, Kitchen Social was a really good restaurant and I can’t wait to go back. The delicious food and top-notch service made it a great experience.

Alex Says…

When we arrived at Kitchen Social, the first thing I noticed was that their patio was quite neat. It had a lot of fire pits and heaters, as well as some cool lights strung overhead. It was a cold afternoon, but we sat on the patio because of the pandemic. They did everything they could to make the patio warm, covering it in heat sources and providing blankets. 

When the waiter came, he was very friendly—answering all of our questions and making sure we were enjoying our meal. The manager and chef also made an appearance, which was very nice. 

We got the two appetizers, and the nachos were amazing. They were covered in rich and creamy cheese with grilled corn and hints of lime. The cauliflower was good, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the Korean take on barbecue and definitely preferred the nachos. I ordered the Shrimp N’ Grits ($11) from the brunch menu. The menu described it as having a Creole flavor, but I would say it tasted more Asian to me. This didn’t bother me, as I really liked how the flavor complemented the grits. The shrimp itself was very good and not stringy at all. The spice in the shrimp sauce complemented the creamy sweetness of the grits really well. The grits were fabulous with a terrific texture and just the right amount of sweetness. They really provided a great base to the dish. 

The grits were also topped with a poached egg. I’ve been poaching eggs at home lately and have to say this poach was perfect. When I poked it with my fork, the golden insides flowed out onto the grits. Poached eggs are a good way to gauge a restaurant’s skill. A perfect poached egg is not easy to make, and they definitely achieved it. 

For dessert, I ordered the Banana Cream Pie ($6) to go. The next day when I ate it, I was blown away. The pie was topped with almonds and a crumbly crust and had a yummy banana filling, which had a rich, delicious taste. 

Overall, I’d highly recommend Kitchen Social if you’re looking for a delicious brunch or dinner.

This story is from the Winter 2020 issue of Columbus Parent.

Kitchen Social

8954 Lyra Drive, Columbus; 614-505-8492 

Hours: 3-9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays. Note that the patio closed for construction in November and a reopening date had not yet been announced.

Prices: The varied dinner menu includes several kinds of pizzas ($12 to $14), entrée salads ($12 to $16) and entrées ranging from a Tuna Bowl ($14) to a filet ($27). Brunch items range from $7 to $11.

Mom: Great
Nick: Great
Alex: Great 

Mom: Great
Nick: Great
Alex: Great

Mom: Szechuan Noodles
Nick: Chorizo Scramble
Alex: Street Corn Nachos