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.
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 jalapeño 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.
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 jalapeños turned the spice up a notch. They were gone fast.
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.
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.
What’s your favorite item on the 101 Beer Kitchen menu? Let me know in the comments!