Written by: Steve Stover
Date: November 3, 2017
The Service Bar at Middle West Spirits in the Short North opened October 5 and it was well worth the wait. Middle West, known for OYO vodka and a wide range of spirits, recently expanded with a five-story addition.
The Chef is Avishar Barua, the creative former opening chef of Veritas in Delaware, which was ranked as the region’s top restaurant by Columbus Monthly in 2016. Chef Barua describes the food at the Service Bar as “humbly innovative,” which is a real understatement.
The restaurant centers on the incredible floor-to ceiling, late-1800’s Brunswick bar, saved from a Cincinnati restaurant, with seven kinds of wood, a base of Craftsman doors, and a new white marble top — it is stunning!
We had a comfortable booth with a view of the room. The bar was busy all evening. Communal tables are available in the center of the room, with doors opening to a small patio out front. Parking is available.We shared a 2015 Domaine de Cristia Cotes du Rhone ($42) but, not surprisingly, most guests were enjoying cocktails from the spirits-friendly menu.
The Chef’s amuse bouche was a one-bite, chicken liver mousse in a puff pastry “egg” — flavorful with zip, wonderful.
We shared three “Beginnings” cheese & poof, fire roasted pimento dip, pork rinds in the manner of rice crisps and barrel-aged hot sauce ($11);, “bread & butter,” a rich bun with pepperoni butter ($6); and the “Caesar” of red cabbage, tahini, buckwheat and roasted sesame ($7).
Our entrees included “cheesy brisket crunch,” an oak smoked brisket in Indian fry bread and a crispy corn tortilla with pepperjack queso, and salsa ($16), Scottish salmon with hot potato salad and nasturium flowers ($21) and the excellent MWS burger made of beef, bone marrow and bacon, with special sauce and all the trimmings on a custom potato roll (the only menu item not made entirely from scratch in-house) with the fabulous SB fries (triple fried, best in town) ($15).
For dessert, we shared “cookies & cream” in a cute flower pot and cinco leches cake, with dulce de leche (both $7).
Other popular entrees include the crispy ribs, gnocchi, and a riff on Johnny Marzetti. All of the food was made with passion and attention to detail.
We cannot wait to return to the Service Bar to taste the rest of the menu and more exciting dishes to come.
If You Go
Middle West Spirits Service Bar
1230 Courtland Ave, 43201
Open Wednesday through Sunday for dinner