Thursday, February 27, 2014

LFM: Barrel 44

How's the week treating everyone?  I wasn't too pleased to look outside and see snow again but I suppose that pesky Pennsylvania groundhog was right!  Let's spice things up with a Local Foodie Moment in spite of the little rodent.

Recently we got dinner with a group of our friends to celebrate one of them moving to Columbus (yey!).  After looking through the options for a Saturday night for a larger group we landed on Barrel 44 on High Street in the Short North.  The recently relocated friend likes whiskey and most of the people in our group like whiskey so it was a bit of a no brainer.

So being the unique creature I am, I was the only one who doesn't like whiskey in a group of whiskey drinkers at a whiskey bar.  What do people like that order?  Enter the Dirty Burn Martini.  This martini was a spicy twist on a classic Dirty Martini, made with pepper infused vodka and served with a pepperoncini and an olive.  I'm not sure why but I've been gravitating towards Dirty Martinis lately, I blame my bestie Holly, she started it!  Anyways, I really liked the spice of this and it was a perfect cue up for my dinner.

By the way, they do have a very good cocktail list with liquors other than whiskey so even if you aren't a fan you'll find something you'll like.

Chris ordered a julep of some sort, I wish I could tell you what all was in it but I forgot to take notes.  He liked it, said it was nice and refreshing but a little sweet.

Our friend Sandra was sitting next to me so she helped me blog (thanks Sandra!).  She ordered the New Old Fashioned which again I can't really tell you what's in it because I'm a silly that didn't take notes.  In our group of friends we always pass around our cocktails for others to try (if they are interested), sometimes people end up liking others' drinks more than the ones they ordered.  In this case, it was Chris and Sandra so they switched drinks and were very happy they did!

I ordered a small 44 salad to start.  It had a great mix of greens, dried cherries, candied pecans, hearts of palm, goat cheese and beet curls with a burgundy vinaigrette.  Typically I don't get too worked up over a salad but this was very yummy, well dressed but not soggy, and the toppings all added great depth of flavors.

Chris, along with three others at our table, ordered the Whiskey Chicken Sandwich.  This was grilled chicken, with cheddar cheese, smoked bacon and special housemade whiskey glaze, with a side of fries.  Everyone seemed to really like it!

I ordered the Mojo Chicken Flatbread, adobo spiced chicken, with black bean jicama salsa, grilled red peppers, queso fresco, cilantro and a citrus mojo glaze.  This was very good, I'm a big sucker for jicama in salsa, it adds a great crunch and texture!  Kudos to Barrel 44 for even using it, its not common and I love it!  There's so many toppings on the flatbread that its a little tricky to eat but still all the flavors were very well paired.

Service was a little slow but we had read that in reviews beforehand and we didn't really have anything pressing to go to later so it didn't bother us.  The restaurant itself is unique in that it has three parallel rooms of tables ranging from high tops to regular dinner tables.  It seems like they use this technique to accommodate larger groups when necessary while still giving other diners a private dining feel.  The website tells of the building's history as a speakeasy so the owners kept that vibe throughout the restaurant with dim lighting, darker walls, etc.

Overall we had a good meal and liked being on the north end of the Short North where there's still options of bars to go to after dinner (and some parking available) but not right smack dab in the middle of the hustle and bustle (The Cap and The Hub areas can be such a zoo!).

Barrel 44 - Short North on Urbanspoon

The Oscars are this weekend, yey!  Chris and I have a busy day planned for Saturday with wedding prep so it will be nice to snuggle in on Sunday for the glitz and glam of the Academy Awards.  Stay tuned for my review of the red carpet!


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