FOOD

Columbus Monthly’s 10 Best Restaurants: Progressive Indian Restaurant Rooh Lands at No. 6

The Short North establishment puts a contemporary twist on familiar Indian fare with its delightful cuisine and notable beverage program.

Nicholas Dekker
Genevieve Johnson, bar manager at Rooh, aims to craft cocktails that boast colorful, dynamic presentations. The Short North restaurant offers self-described “progressive” Indian cuisine.

It’s no secret that a Eurocentric perspective has dominated Columbus’ fine-dining scene. Enter Rooh, offering self-described “progressive” Indian cuisine that playfully draws on tradition while creating something new.

While Columbus diners may be used to a certain kind of Indian fare, Rooh is shedding a whole new, contemporary light on the cuisine. A good example is the butter chicken. What has become a familiar part of lunch buffets and a staple served in Styrofoam carryout containers is given a new spin: delightfully tender chunks of chicken served in a red pepper makhani (a lentil-based sauce) with cashew, fenugreek and butter powder. Meanwhile, the lamb keema Hyderabadi, reminiscent of shepherd’s pie, layers a whipped potato mousse over green peas and tender lamb. It’s a must-order served with house-made brioche for scooping.

Equally of note is the fantastic beverage program led by Genevieve Johnson. The rotating cocktail menu is grouped according to the six rasas, or tastes, of ancient ayurvedic wisdom: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. Each drink, often served in fun glassware, is designed with the same care and attention as the food. For instance, in the sweet category, the Grass is Greener arrives in a decorative metal cup with Watershed’s Four Peel gin, Amaro, pistachio Orgeat, a melon blend and bitters topped with a corn meringue foam.

Potato Tikki and a Pink City Cocktail at Rooh in the Short North

Take all of this and place it in the heart of the Short North, in a colorful and cleanly designed eatery with giant murals on the wall, and it’s a shoo-in as one of the city’s best offerings.

Rooh

685 N. High St., Short North, 614-972-8678, roohcolumbus.com

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