Short Order: Harold's American Grille

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly
Autumn Vegetable Salad

While the announced theme of Harold's American Grille, a lively spot in downtown Worthington, is "farm to table," it is only partly that. Mostly, it is a mishmash of all things American.

It is the pleasureof restaurateurs these days to serve foods they like, rather than foods following a particular theme or cuisine. While the announced theme of Harold's American Grille, a lively spot in downtown Worthington, is "farm to table," it is only partly that. Mostly, it is a mishmash of all things American. I can only guess that these are dishes that please the owners (Melanie and Sam Baker) and the chefs. Not to worry. What pleases them should please you, too, because the long and eclectic menu of Harold's is almost certain to offer something you like, and chef Steve Muntean and sous chef Mason Conway execute many different dishes quite well.

From New Orleans comes a fine rendition of shrimp and grits ($18) with bits of tomato and red onion, coleslaw on the side and andouille sausage as an option. The grits are creamy, cheesy and filling, and the plump shrimp on top fresh and crisp. In keeping with the farm-to-table idea, fall and winter bring an Autumn Vegetable Salad ($10) loaded with diced roasted turnips, rutabaga, parsnips and braised beets over fresh mesclun greens. Crumbles of gorgonzola cheese set it all off with a rich and salty bite.

Brussels sprouts can be had locally this time of year, and so they pop up here in several places, including a tasty fried version as a side. The bowtie pasta primavera ($12) has sauteed sprouts along with mushrooms, tomatoes and carrots; shavings of Parmesan cheese and a bit of lemon zest bring it all together. Little cabbages are also found in the chopped salad ($9) along with bacon, tomatoes and blue cheese. My only objection to the salads is that all the dressings I sampled were overly vinegary-but this is a problem endemic to salads all over our fair city.

Good burgers can be had in several styles: beef, bison, turkey, salmon, chicken and the locally made "Luna" veggie options. Size-wise, the burgers are more than substantial. There are also fresh, hand-cut fries done to a crisp, and unlike so many, these fries sport real potato flavor.

Harold's is housed inside a simple brick building in the middle of Olde Worthington. Service was enthusiastic on my visits. The restaurant has a full bar and offers craft cocktails (try the sweet-tart Scioto Sunset).haroldsamericangrille.com