I’m embarrassed to admit that it’s been quite a while since we’ve taken the kids out to dinner. Our warm, sunny days have now been traded out with quite chilly, rainy ones, it’s November in Ohio, and we’re just more likely to sit on the couch these days rather than venture out on the town.
However, on this unseasonably warm day, we headed out to take our annual family photos for our Christmas cards (we know that it’s basically unacceptable to send out a card without cute photos of your kids on it). We decided that since we were already out (and were sporting impressive matching outfits), we would use this opportunity to grab dinner out. Before I go into our experience, I do want to give a shout out to our favorite photographer, Blue Posie Photo & Graphic Design. I seriously can’t stop looking at these photos.
After the photos, we decided to check out one of our old favorites, J. Liu in Worthington. As always, we were a bit hesitant to bring our 2 and 4-year-old into a nice restaurant. What if it’s super quiet in there? What if they lose it (since we just had subjected them to an hour of family photos in the park prior to this)? Should we just order take-out and eat at home?
We go through this EVERY time we want to eat dinner out. No joke. There are so many things to weigh — like their current moods, their nap schedule that day, the type of mac & cheese that the restaurant serves – I could go on forever. We’ll go back and forth for about 20 minutes until one of us finally makes a decision.
On this particular night, we agreed that we would give it a shot — and while I can’t say that my kids were perfectly behaved throughout the evening, they were certainly tolerable, and the service that we received was superb.
We were immediately seated upon arrival at a nice, comfy booth (which we always prefer with our kids). There’s just something to be said about being able to close them in so that they can’t get up and wander around (and they would definitely try this if they were seated in a chair).
Our server was so pleasant — she immediately greeted our kids and seemed genuinely happy to be serving us. Chocolate milk and apple juice were on the menu (check) — and the kids menu was filled with many of their favorites, including sliders (recently a new go-to for Jack) and mac & cheese for Ellie.
My husband and I had a difficult time choosing an appetizer — there were just SO many good options (many of which we had tried before), but went with one of our favorites, the Lettuce Wraps, which were served with minced chicken, bean sprouts, slaw, crispy noodles and a DELICIOUS thai chili sauce.
I’d also put in a strong recommendation for the Calamari, Grilled Avocado and the Tuna Stack, but honestly, I really don’t think you could go wrong with any of them.
We then split the House Salad (one of my favorite salads of all-time) which is the perfect mix of strawberries, bacon, pecans and gorgonzola atop mixed greens, served with a sweet and sour vinaigrette.
Our final selection was a new one for us, the Chicken Carbonara — garlic cream sauce with smoked corn, bacon, scallions and grilled chicken tossed with linguini. This was REALLY good due to the perfect combination of flavors – we were literally competing with one another for the next bite.
All of this, with the addition of an IPA, a glass of wine and two ice cream sundaes made for the perfect night out with our kids — and we can’t wait to head back to J. Liu again.