Arena District Foodie Tour
April 11, 2012
My friend Andria “The Diva” Williams and I decided to treat ourselves to a night out. I love to eat and with so, so many different dining options in Columbus, figuring out where to go can sometimes be a challenge.
I had not been to the Arena District since I had a rip-roaring birthday celebration at The Big Bang Bar in November last year. I thought parking would be a pain, but there were multiple parking garages that were easily accessible with several restaurant and entertainment options within walking distance.
After parking was handled, we headed to Ted’s Montana Grill to start with appetizers and drinks and finished with dinner and beers at Gordon Biersch. It was a great plan with no regrets!
I love trying a restaurant’s signature items; we went with the Bison Nachos and Grilled Shrimp to eat and Lemon Drop Martinis to drink. The nachos are topped with Ted’s signature bison chili and the grilled shrimp are served on garlic Parmesan ciabatta. They were both awesome! I admit I was a little surprised to learn Ted’s included actual bison in the chili but I actually enjoyed the smooth and smoky flavor of the bison.
I can’t forget about the drinks. The Lemon Drop Martini was a hit! In addition to the great food and drinks, I loved the laid-back atmosphere. The bartender was charming, friendly and knowledgeable about complimentary food and drink combinations. He also told us that the company is 99% plastic free and uses paper straws. It’s those little details that make want to return.
After our drinks and starters, we took another short walk from Ted’s to Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant. Gordon Biersch has both international and American fare, as well as an extensive beer selection; recently voted the best in the city by Columbus Alive! We unexpectedly stumbled upon an intense March Madness crowd – adding high energy to the experience. Although I don’t follow sports, I love sports fans and the excitement they bring to a place!
When at a brewery, I want to try the in-house specialty brews, but usually can’t get through a full single beer before feeling full. My solution to this dilemma: the beer sampler. Gordon Biersch has a wide selection of beers; from wheat to barley, and light, blonde or dark options. My sampler included the Golden Export, Hefeweizen, Czech Pilsner, Marzen, Schwarzbier (the seasonal brew) and Mai Bock. The Golden Export and Hefeweizen were my favorites. Both are light in color, and according to our knowledgeable server, Hefeweizen is a traditional wheat beer. Although I’m not a big fan of dark lagers, I think the Schwarzbier — which is German for “black beer” — is worth a try. I definitely tasted the roasted coffee finish.
With so many beers at dinner, I wanted to go light for dinner. Conveniently, the menu includes an “On the Lighter Side” section featuring low calorie meals under 575 and 800 calories total. Score!
Andria elected for the Ahi Tuna Salad and I chose the Moroccan Salmon. It was a grilled chermoula marinated salmon, served with seasonal vegetables and jasmine rice. I was pleasantly surprised that the salmon was cooked medium-well without any specific direction. I have no idea what is included in that chermoula marinade, but it was darn good! The fish was moist, flavorful with no additional condiments needed.
Whether you’re looking for American fare with a corner-bar feel or a German brewery with an extensive beer selection and menu, the Arena District has a lot of offer. I would love to hear your take on restaurants and eating at The Arena District. Where have you eaten and what did you think?
Erika Pryor is the host of Digital 411 – an Internet radio show about the Internet heard exclusively on TalktainmentRadio.com. Erika also spends her time as an interactive marketing strategist. After sundown, she can be found singing along at live music events, dancing in the streets at summer festivals and enjoying food cart fare.