January 2007 Issue
January's Featured Restaurant
With a name like "8" and a location in Columbus' artsy Short North, we're expecting High Street's latest culinary offering to be at least a little on the trendy side. The space is long and narrow, seating about 60, and very red. The color of the walls, grouped seating arrangements and tempting bar add to the neighborhood-spot feel that co-owners Bobby Barua, Amit Patel and Mike Yohman are going for. The name, it turns out, refers to something one does there ("ate") and the symbol for infinity - since they'd like to stick around for a while.
"It's high-tech, arty, fun and social," says Barua. "It's where you'd like to come for good food and good drinks with your friends." It's even a great place to catch the game on 8's flat-screen TVs and enjoy all-you-can-eat wings on what the owners call "Football Mondays."
So at first we were a little intimidated, but now we're thinking 8 could be a place where we'd feel right at home. The friendly and gracious server certainly helped (we arrived for a very late dinner and she didn't miss a beat). Staying true to the fun, neighborhood atmosphere, the menu is based in comfort food - but with a twist, of course. These are supposed to be small plates, but the portions are generous.
Bobby mentions the white truffle mac and cheese, made with boursin cheese and topped with sauteed mushrooms, as an item that's fast becoming a favorite among regulars, as well as the pot roast, and fish sticks made with swordfish. We were instantly impressed with the duck confit with creamy ravioli. Other dishes were just as they should be: The lamb chops were tender, the French fries crispy and the Grand Marnier creme brulee a nice turn on this classic dessert.
Chef Ben Graham, previously of the swanky Burgundy Room, created 8's menu with fresh ingredients and dishes made from scratch. While he likes to flex his culinary muscles, he is wise enough to not go overboard on flavor combinations. What results is a dining experience that's accessible, interesting and downright delicious.
8, 733 N. High St., Columbus, 614/294-2413. Mon. 11 a.m.-1 a.m., Tues.-Sat. 11 a.m.-2:30 a.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-midnight. CR