Written by: Rich Terepak Jr.
Date: June 10, 2013
The proliferation of unique Asian eateries in Columbus continues, with the addition of Papaya Street Grill on Dublin-Granville road, just east of Sawmill Road.
While they feature house specialty items, from the traditional Pad Thai to Red, Green and Yellow Curries, the feature that sets this restaurant apart from most Thai places in town is the build-your-own-bowl feature, pioneered by Chipotle, and copied by so many others. Entrees range from $7 to $13.
The first step in the process brings a choice of noodles, rice or salad. Then pick your protein, which includes choices of Tilapia and Tofu. Bowls come with a vegetable medley consisting of broccoli, carrots and celery, with other items offered at an up-charge. Last, choose from any of 12 house made sauces.
If youâ€™re not willing to take a chance, they offer sample tastes of each of the sauces. I really enjoyed the creamy cilantro sauce, but there appears to be something for every taste.
The house menu features appetizers of the fried and grilled variety, with the exception of the papaya salad. The Firecracker Shrimp were quite tasty, served over a bed of undressed slaw, then drizzled with firecracker sauce, which tastes like a mix of Sriracha, onion and ginger sauces.
The specialty items consist of different variations on noodles and curries. We tried the Pacific Volcano Noodles ($9), and were very impressed. This dish is similar to Pad Thai, but with fried shallots and cilantro plus their volcano chili sauce.
We also opted for the Red Curry ($9), which was billed as a spicy curry, and lived up to it, although the zucchini and bell peppers did not add a lot to the dish.
The rest of the menu consists of grilled proteins, like Tandoori Chicken, Garlic Basil Ribs, or stir-fried Orange Chicken. They also offer some very interesting sandwiches like Kalua, with pulled-pork and firecracker slaw, to the vegetarian P.L.T. which is Portobello mushroom sandwich.
Perhaps the most unique thing on this Thai menu is the burgers. You can build-your-own, or choose from a few with non-traditional Asian dressings. This feature certainly makes the menu a bit more kid friendly, which Papaya Street certainly is, while at the same time, featuring a small bar with just three seats and a full liquor license.
Papaya Street Grill, 3512 W. Dublin Granville Road, is open 11 am to 9 pm Monday through Thursday, 11 am to 10 pm Friday and Saturday, noon to 5 pm Sunday. 614-889-9300. More information is available at papayastreetgrill.com.