FOOD

Columbus Monthly’s 10 Best Restaurants: Josh Dalton’s Veritas Takes the No. 2 Spot

Downtown’s Veritas continues to reinvent itself, most recently taking diners around the world through seasonal menus and supper clubs.

G.A. Benton
Pulpo a la Gallega, an octopus dish, at Veritas in Downtown Columbus

Josh Dalton—the adventurous restaurateur who launched edgy Veritas Tavern in Delaware a decade ago, where he employed a young Avishar Barua (long before Barua became a Top Chef contestant and red-hot restaurateur himself)—is not one to rest on his laurels.

Actually, Dalton—working with his brainy, talented team at the refined Downtown rebirth of modernist Veritas—is more liable to transform his laurels into a tincture emulsified in heritage pork fat that blots a reimagined pozole topped with crispy hominy flakes.

Put another way, even after receiving high praise for stellar dishes from his particular tasting menus, Dalton is inevitably drawn to do something different. In September, this took the form of Veritas’ Spanish Supper Club, featuring an unpublished menu only available to diners after they’d finished its eight courses.

Escabeche, made with mussels, sobrasada and vermouth, at Veritas

That same month, beneath a spiky canopy of dried herbs and fruits hanging vividly from the ceiling in starkly attractive Veritas, we found Dalton clad in a black T-shirt emblazoned with “Speck”—his forthcoming Downtown Italian restaurant, and one of his multiple projects. The restless chef, who expects to engineer seven to eight Veritas menu overhauls this year, passionately describes his tendency to take risks.

“Who wants to be boring and do the same thing every day? We work long, hard hours, and immersing ourselves in new projects reminds us why we fell in love with this tough industry in the first place,” Dalton says.

Dalton, who explains that the idea for presenting menus after the meal was something he picked up from restaurants awarded two and three Michelin stars, is jazzed about the reception his Spanish Supper Club menu received.

Characteristically, that menu (and others exploring Mexican and Nordic cuisines) was preceded by targeted, spare-no-expense travel, intense study and kitchen experimentation. The resulting tour-of-Spain courses included a tapas smorgasbord; mango-happy gazpacho; an elegant escabeche variation with a dairy-enriched broth, mussels and pickled green apples; shellfish-forward paella undergirded by spreadable chorizo; and a Basque-echoing, goat cheese cheesecake with shaved truffles.

Veritas general manager Mitchell Coale, bar manager Alisha Kaplan and executive chef Dan Kamel

Don’t expect those dishes on upcoming visits, though. Like an artist who completed a gallery show, Dalton will have moved on to his next project—new creations sculpted in the flavors of autumn.

Mirroring Dalton’s other seasonal menus, his five-course fall tasting menu—which will be in place through December, albeit frequently tweaked—is posted online. As usual, it can be enhanced by selections from an inventive cocktail lineup and inspired pairings from Veritas’ sophisticated wine list.

Interspersed among the seasonal menus will be more monthlong supper club events designed to transport diners to far-flung locales. Those destinations aren’t cemented yet. But anticipate deluxe ingredients, artful platings where richness often tangos with brightness, plus, as Dalton says, “an experience you’ll remember and a menu to take home as a scrapbook souvenir.” 

Veritas

11 W. Gay St., Downtown, 614-745-3864, veritasrestaurant.com

This story is from the “10 Best Restaurants” package in the November 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.