There are those weeks when we just have to have a night out without the kids. I promise that I love them very much, but time away is sometimes much needed, especially during the long winter months of being cooped up in the house. So, when my husband and I discovered that three of our most favorite spots in the Short North were literally within walking distance of one another, we decided to book a babysitter and head out to try out some delicious dishes and cocktails.
The Table, a popular farm to table restaurant was our first stop of the night. Located on E. Fifth Avenue, this quaint, cozy restaurant was the perfect place to be on a snowy February evening. While we were so tempted to snack on one of their amazing charcuterie boards (we’ve had this before and would definitely recommend), we decided to venture out of our comfort zone and order the Squash Ribbons. Wow — so glad that we did — they were so, so good. Squash served with seasonal pesto, tomatoes, mushrooms, pickled onion, chili oil and parmesan – yum.
We ate every last bite while sipping on a martini (husband) and a glass of red wine for myself. Bonus – it’s happy hour every Friday and Saturday from 5 – 7 p.m. at the bar and patio (when weather permits) which features both food and drink specials. You can also enjoy happy hour Tuesday – Thursday and Sunday from 5 – 9 p.m.
Our next stop was Brothers Drake Meadery, a cocktail bar that features live music, local art and of course, mead. If you are not familiar with mead, it’s an alcoholic drink made with fermented honey and water. Brothers Drake features a variety of different flavors, including my personal favorite, the Apple Pie which is made with local apple juice, wildflower honey, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. It’s basically a piece of homemade apple pie in liquid form — amazing. My husband and I decided to share a mead tasting so that we could not only enjoy the Apple Pie, but also some of their other fantastic flavors.
Our final stop of the evening was the much-talked-about Service Bar, a restaurant that’s creating a buzz with not only locals, but has gained quite a bit of national attention lately. Recently highlighted in Food & Wine and The New York Times, this hot spot has been a date night location for us on multiple occasions. It’s difficult to recommend dishes here because everything is just so, so good. You really can’t go wrong — but I would recommend that you go in with an open mind as it definitely won’t be your typical, every-day meal.
We love that executive chef and owner, Avishar Barua, incorporates classic fast food favorites into his menu, and the Cheesy Brisket Crunch has both of our hearts (yes, I’ll admit that it has mine too). This play on Taco Bell’s Cheesy Gordita Crunch is filled with oak smoked brisket, pepperjack queso, salsa guasacaca and salsa macha.
We also enjoyed the Lamb Dumplings. Warning – these are pretty spicy, but oh so delicious too. They’re complimented with bok choy, crushed garlic and ginger soy – and have the perfect amount of heat.
The Shrimp and Grits is also top-notch and Service Bar puts their own unique spin on this classic entree. This dish is the perfect concoction of shrimp, curry, saffron coconut rice grits, crispy taro beresta and pickled eggplant.
And finally, the dish that had us so perplexed (and amazed) came off the ‘Secret Kitchen Menu’ (which you can find by following @secretkitchenmenu on Instagram). The Bengali Egg Florentine was delightful — crispy arugula, a slow poached egg, jhai muri, aloo tikki, apple chutney and bourbon maple yogurt.
Overall, it was an evening filled with experiencing some of the best culinary treasures that the Short North has to offer 🙂