101 Beer Kitchen

Let’s start this off with a confession: I’ve already been to 101 Beer Kitchen. Many times. It’s one of my favorite restaurants in Columbus, and with good reason; their handcrafted, seasonal menu items are fresh, flavorful and just about unbeatable. If you’re into beer, their selection is sure to amaze you, but the food is what I really come for.

Trevor, however, had never experienced the magic that is a 101 Beer Kitchen meal. I had to change that.

We went on a recent Tuesday night so as to avoid the weekend crowds – 101 Beer Kitchen doesn’t do reservations, so it’s always a bit of a gamble, but one that pays off big if you can get in (their weekend brunches are always extremely busy, but trust me when I say they’re worth the wait). We went to the location in Dublin, closest to me, but they also have locations in Gahanna and Westerville.

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Our server’s name was Travis, and he was fantastic. As soon as we were seated, he brought us a fresh jug of water (modeled above by Trevor), and we ordered the jalapeΓ±o poppers as an appetizer. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t these, which exceeded any possible expectations. I shouldn’t be surprised, though. 101 Beer Kitchen always goes above and beyond in terms of food.

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These beautiful, breaded, cheese-stuffed peppers drizzled in an apricot glaze arrived at our table, and I think both of our eyes about popped out of our heads. One bite was enough to confirm that we’d made a good choice by coming to 101BK. The apricot glaze and cheesy filling tempered the heat, while the red jalapeΓ±os turned the spice up a notch. They were gone fast.

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Both of us were in a sandwich mood, so I ordered the Tortilla-Crusted Chicken Sandwich, while Trevor ordered the 101 Burger. Mine was served with a side of house-made salt and vinegar kettle chips, and his with garlic and herb fries. Trevor also ordered a side of their insanely creamy mac n’ cheese, which I believe he intended to eat by himself. That didn’t happen.

My sandwich was amazing – a perfect combination of southwestern flavors on a sweet, fluffy bun. The guacamole was out of this world, and the chipotle ranch complimented the crispy, tortilla-covered chicken perfectly.

Trevor said his burger was cooked to perfection, and while I didn’t taste it, I have a hard time believing it was anything but extraordinary. The mac n’ cheese, covered in breadcrumbs and smothered in a six-cheese blend, was one of my favorite parts of the meal. Trevor was kind enough to let me split it with him… and by split, I mean I ended up eating the majority of it.

The two of us can’t go anywhere without getting dessert. After some debate, Trevor ended up ordering the banana split, and I got the blueberry lemon cake, with the understanding that we’d be splitting each.

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Can we all just take a second to appreciate the delight and admiration on his face?

Of the two desserts, the banana split was the clear winner. The blueberry lemon cake was good (if a little on the dry side), but couldn’t even come close to the split – vanilla bean ice cream on top of three butterscotch blondies, topped with caramelized bananas, pineapple, strawberries, slivered almonds and a cherry syrup. It blew us both away.

Trevor was rightfully impressed by the meal, and I was full and happy. I have never, ever had a bad meal at 101 Beer Kitchen. In fact, it’s one of the places I’m most likely to take out of town guests; I think their craft menu is quintessentially Columbus. Their mission statement, placed prominently on the wall behind our table, sums it up pretty well.

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What’s your favorite item on the 101 Beer Kitchen menu? Let me know in the comments!

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