Note: As we ate at the Flatiron Diner the day before Valentine’s Day, we unfortunately were “mildly” affected by this as their regular menu was not available. The food was still delicious, just a bit different from the offerings on their regular menu.
Thanks to Bethia Woolf, owner and operator of Columbus Food Adventures, I was steered onto the Flatiron Bar & Diner. Located in the city’s Arena District, it seemed the perfect spot to grab dinner before seeing the Columbus Blue Jackets hockey game later that night. The fact that po’ boys and muffulettas, in addition to “smoker” items, were all on the menu only made it that much more enticing to dine there.
The website said that you could call or email for reservations. I did the former and am glad I did as the place is tiny. While there is outdoor seating, it’s Columbus and in February that obviously is not an option. As the name suggests, it’s a miniature replica of sorts of the famous Flatiron Building in New York City. You definitely get the full effect of the building’s unique architecture if you approach it from the back as we did. It’s barely eight feet wide and yet is four stories high and its history dates back to 1914. It was probably one of the neatest places I have ever eaten a meal in. As the space is obviously small and the bar area large enough, you won’t get a quiet meal here but it will be intimate, in a group setting kind of way.
As I stated above, the regular menu wasn’t available the night we dined there, just a special themed Valentine’s Day menu of small plates. My only quibble with this was that with the exception of the jambalaya, nothing else on the Valentine’s Day menu was Cajun/New Orleans themed. That was a tad disappointing since New Orleans style favorites were one of the main reasons I wanted to dine there. But you make the best of a situation, even when food is involved. The spectacular natural lighting for photographs helped in lessening my disappointment too.
D went with a local craft beer on draft for his selection, while I opted for a “house made” ginger ale. Our waitress explained that they no longer had a ginger ale tap but that she could mix a ginger beer with Sierra Mist. It tasted much better than I was expecting.
Each of the small plates was $10, or you could get three for $25. While we sampled each other’s, I went with two, D with three. Mine were as follows:
Beet Risotto with Daikon and Endive
While I love risotto I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from beet risotto. However, this was probably the best surprise all evening. Even though its color was quite “in your face” bold, it was really delicious.
Pork Belly with Sorghum Hoisin and Naan
This had a bit more fat than I would have liked, but it was still quite good. Paired with the Sorghum Hoisin sauce to dip the pork belly in, it offered a distinct taste. The Naan (something I love whenever and wherever) was terrific.
And this is what D ended up ordering:
These appear to be on their regular Small Plates menu so I would recommend getting them. While I am normally not a wings person, I did try one (a heaping portion of five wings came), and liked what I tasted. They were topped with crushed peanuts, scallions, and puffed rice.
While latkes are one of the most difficult and time consuming things to make (at least they are for me), they’re such a simple tasting dish to eat. The ones at Flatiron Grill were not greasy, which I liked. They came with apple chutney and sour cream for dipping.
The presentations was visually stunning. Jambalaya isn’t a course where you stray from the culinary norm and Flatiron’s featured the standard Andouille sausage, chicken, shrimp, and rice. It was exceptionally delicious.
What turned out to just be “small plates” still equaled a lot of food so we were much too stuffed to even contemplate ordering dessert. But between the terrific food offerings and the memorable dining space, it’s a spot I would definitely recommend to others.
Flatiron Bar & Diner
129 East Nationwide Boulevard Columbus, Ohio 43215