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High Street Grill - Cornering the Craft

310 S. High St. Columbus, OH 43215 (614) 220-7007

When you walk in to the lobby of the Westin, you almost feel like you have stepped back in time. The lofted ceiling and stone floor create just the right amount of natural reverb, which gives even the most mundane of conversations a lofty and classy air. Proceed through the lobby and slightly off to the left. There you will find a bar. Behind the bar is an intimate and comfortable dining room. Both of them together are what is now known as the quietly impressive High Street Grill.

In keeping with the throwback vibe created by the historic Westin hotel, the bar at the High Street Grill prepares, by hand, cocktails that have been around as long as there have been cocktails. There is a Singapore Sling, an Old Fashioned and a classic Collins right on the cocktail menu, but any cocktail ever invented is also an option. Some cocktails that had not been invented until the High Street Grill began making them also adorn the extensive cocktail menu. The Cucumber-Melon Mojito is just such a drink. Sure, every place is going crazy with Mojito flavors these days, but High Street Grill has nailed it with this one. It is truly amazing how well melon, mint and cucumber go together, especially when they are carefully and vigorously muddled together by a skillful bartender. Some of the drinks at the Grill defy the laws of space-time by taking an old-time stalwart of a cocktail, like a Cosmopolitan, and modernizing it with blood orange juice. It is the same color as the classic version, but much tangier and less overwhelmingly sweet. It is probably not the best idea to try all the cocktails in one sitting. It is a good idea, however, to carefully choose a few of the outstanding libations to complement diner. So, only drink the first half of the first cocktail at the bar, then move into the dining room for the main event.

Before menus are dropped and everyone is planted in their chairs, tell someone who works at High Street Grill to start an order of the Truffled Kettle Chips. The home made potato chips covered in Alfredo sauce and gorgonzola cheese can be eaten as you ponder which of the starters to try. If you are drinking the Cranberry Limeade, you may want to consider the Stuffed Mushrooms with bacon, cream cheese and goat cheese. The dueling tartness in the cocktail abates the dueling creaminess in the mushrooms. Those drinking the basil martini almost have to have the Oysters Rockefeller. The classic preparation of these delicious shellfish blends perfectly with the aromatic basil. Actually, no matter what you are drinking, the Oysters probably should find their way to the table. The enormous and meaty Maryland Crab Cake begs to have a glass of White Sangria and any of the crispy Flatbreads from Margherita to BLT would love to be consumed in tandem with the Rum Runaway.

Consider yourself forewarned. The salads are huge. So, for the salad course, consider splitting one. While you are at it, choose another cocktail and split it with whomever you are sharing the salad. The Chopped Salad wants a High Street Tea. The Loaded Wedge needs a Gluttony by Vodka. There is a perfect cocktail for each of the salads, and if the first one you try does not suit your fancy, just swipe someone else's and see if it is the right one for you. Chances are, someone at your table has exactly what your palate is looking for. If not, have the server bring you something no one already has. Repeat as necessary, but be careful not to allow yourself to be over served -- with drinks this good, it's easy to get carried away (literally).

Trial and error is a good way to find the appropriate companion cocktail for the entrees as well. High Street Grill's Alaskan Salmon Burger is full of feta and pine nuts which give it an unparalleled richness that could be coaxed to linger a little longer on the tongue by a creamy Vanilla Chai Martini, but which could also be well served by a tart and acidic drink that clears the mouth for another bite. That Blood Orange Cosmopolitan would be perfect for that. Likewise, it would be fantastic with any of the grilled fresh fish like Mahi Mahi, Grouper or Halibut. In fact, that Cosmo could be the go-to drink for any one of the Grill's entrees. It would tackle the huge flavors of mushroom and garlic mashed potatoes that make up a small percentage of the flavor profile of the Wild Mushroom Meatloaf. It has all the meats in it. The veal, beef, pork, asparagus and demi glace that make up the other part of the flavor profile would likewise do great with the Cosmo, but might find something like the Pomegranate Breeze Martini an even better companion. Again - trial and error. If an Angus Reserve Steak sounds just to good to pass up, do not pass it up. Consider, however, having a glass of big, juicy red with it. High Street Grill has a Tempranillo/ Cabernet blend that fits that description perfectly. However, if you really want to stick to meticulously crafted, creative cocktails, consider having a Classic Collins with your steak. It is made the right way - with gin.

Hopefully, there is room left for dessert, because the Deep Dish Granny Apple Pie is exactly what all other apple pies hope they can one day be. With that or Creme Brulee or Chocolate Bread Pudding or Banana Cream Pie or any of the desserts really you should consider a Chocolate Truffle Martini or something warm like a Cafe Columbus. You will have to wait until you get to the High Street Grill to find out what is in that one.