If traditional is trendy and old is new again, then The Avenue Steak Tavern hits the target for bringing back the old New York steakhouse. Located in Dublin, Ohio, a northwest suburb of Columbus, the establishment is far from the Empire state, yet once inside, it is easy to think you are in the Big Apple.
Location: 94 North High Street, Dublin, Ohio. There is a second location at 1307 Grandview Avenue in Grandview Heights, Ohio. Website here.
Menu: This is a steak tavern, so the six types of beef steaks ranging from the 6-ounce filet to the 20-ounce porterhouse give the carnivore lots of options, both in size and cut. Add to this the Duroc pork chop and the Colorado lamb chops, and there is no shortage of choices. Prepared to order, any cut can be turned into an Oscar for an upcharge, or surf and turf by adding a 6-ounce lobster tail.
I love the mix and match nature of the menu, allowing patrons to customize a meal. At first glance, the steaks and chops seem pricey, but they do all include a salad and a side.
The five seafood entrees offer a variety of the familiar and unique. The Avenue is part of the Cameron Mitchell group of restaurants, which is known for flying fresh seafood safely and quickly to the Midwest. Atlantic Salmon, Linguine & Clams, and Sea Scallops are all entrees that can be found at many Cameron Mitchell restaurants and can be ordered expecting a high level of quality and reliability.
The sautéed Branzino caught my eye as something unique in Ohio. I’m a big fish eater, so any time I can try a new gift from the sea, I am open. Branzino is a firm, delicate-flavored white fish found in European seas and saltwater lakes. It is popular in Italian, Spanish and Greek cuisines. Paired with a lemon caper vinaigrette, it was a lighter option on what is otherwise a relatively hearty menu.
Veal Milanese, a Roasted Half Chicken, Beef Stroganoff and Steak Frites round out the house specialties. The Tavern Menu of a White Cheddar Cheeseburger, Short Rib Grilled Cheese, Fish Sandwich, and a Crispy “Hot Chicken” Biscuit, all served with fries, offer something for the casual diner.
I can’t imagine going to a steak house and ordering chicken, but I suppose there are people who appreciate the choice. Order a fish sandwich while the person at the next table is devouring a filet? Perhaps on a Friday in Lent, but the thought seems tortuous. Nevertheless, it is there for those who wish for something different.
Thoughts: The restaurant is only open for dinner and also offers an attractive Happy Hour. It’s currently offered daily, which is a great draw on the weekends, as many restaurants only offer this early bird perk on weekdays. A good steak dinner is an investment, so Happy Hour is a great way to try small plates of delicious food at a lower price point.
The white cheddar cheeseburger sliders with sweet pickle mayonnaise are a good choice, as are the steak bites- beef tenderloin tips marinated in chimichurri. Reduced price wine by the glass, beer, and a daily special craft cocktail make meeting friends for an early nosh easy and satisfying.
Happy Hour prices are impressive, but on the other end of the spectrum and even more impressive is the Captain’s wine list. With wines in the price range of $300-$1400 per bottle, it is possible to order the best available wine to pair with a prime cut of meat. Napa Valley’s 2010 Opus One Red Blend was the premier feature on the Captain’s list during my visit. A wide variety of California, Washington and Oregon vintners make the list, as well as international wines from Italy, France, Spain, New Zealand and Argentina.
The crisp white shirts and red suspenders worn by the attentive and well-trained servers set the scene for a formal, yet comfortable atmosphere suitable for a celebration. In fact, dessert is free if it is your birthday. From the number of candle-lit chocolate cakes, cheesecakes, and crème brulees moving around the restaurant, it is evident many patrons go to The Avenue to celebrate.
A gluten-free menu is offered, which is easy to do at a steak house. Most of the menu is naturally gluten-free, making the warm, fresh bread and the desserts the biggest temptation. Steaks, salads, and sides like sautéed mushrooms, green beans, Brussels sprouts, and parsley potatoes all satisfy in a healthful way.
The Avenue fills a need in a town that is filled with business travelers, but also locals who love to dine out in the neighborhood. Reservations are recommended. Even bar seating fills up fast.
Price Range: Steaks and Chops $31-50. Seafood $22-47. Tavern Menu $15-17.
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