Eat Out: What you need to know about Crave's Chef's Menu event

Beth Stallings, Columbus Crave

At Crave, we know there is a story behind every dish. We also know chefs rarely have a chance to get out of the kitchen and share their inspiration with diners. That's why we've launched this new approach to our annual dining out event that gives chefs a chance to showcase their culinary personality through four-, five- and five-plus-course tasting menus.

The goal of this year's Chef's Menu event, which runs Friday, Aug. 28 through Friday, Sept. 4, is simple: to shorten the distance between chef and diner. We know that now, more than ever, diners are taking the time to not only ask where their food comes from, but who is crafting it. We want to spark engagement at the table-to help diners get to know chefs through their food.

The concept of a tasting menu is nothing new. Chefs all over the world have latched onto the idea-typically a coursed meal with two- or three-bite dishes-as a way to showcase a cuisine, a region or even a single ingredient presented in a multitude of ways. The idea is to be able to eat, and enjoy, several dishes in one sitting.

So, we've asked the talented chefs at more than a dozen local restaurants to share the story of their culinary craft through limited-time tasting menus.

Participating Chef's Menu restaurants have taken hold of this idea and run with it. For example, chef Tom Smith at The Worthington Inn has embraced August-one of the best times to live in Ohio, he says. The ingredients on his four-course menu feature ingredients that inspired him to become a chef. Produce like hillbilly tomatoes, sweet corn and white peaches.

And on the five-course menu at Wolf's Ridge Brewing, chef Seth Lassak's love for global cuisine speaks loud and clear. Dishes transition from crab and shrimp roll to goat vindaloo to ancho-rubbed pork tenderloin.

At Basi, chef-owner John Dornback is putting his spin on a classic summer clambake. The four-course meal kicks off with a shrimp and cucumber salad and ends with a lemon-blueberry crisp-and with steamed clams and grilled lobster somewhere in between. It's a delicious deal at $40 per person.

You can browse the complete list of tasting menus here.

Word of advice: make reservations before you go, and mention you're coming in for the Crave Chef's Menu special. Many restaurants are preparing a limited number of tasting menus each evening, and you won't want to miss out on this deal.