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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Restaurant Review: The Pub Polaris
The day after Christmas, a restaurant opened at the mall on Polaris Parkway*. It's a new offering from the Tavern Restaurant Group called The Pub Polaris , and it purports to be a replica of an English pub.

Some friends and I tried the place out today, and overall we give it big thumbs-up.

The ambiance is nice and the seating is comfortable, although if they're really trying to maintain the illusion that it's a British bar they might want to put on music other than Kenny G-style lite jazz. The wait staff (none of whom were trying fake British accents, thank God) were pleasant and attentive. Matt described the mini-kilted waitresses as "tall, pale, lithe, and spathic." (Spathic refers to rocks exhibiting good cleavage, so thanks to him I've learned a new word today.)

According to him and Alex, the beer selection at the pub is extremely good, and not overly expensive for a Columbus restaurant. They'll even give you free taster glasses of tap beers if you ask; I had a taste of their Old Speckled Hen ale and it was quite good.

The food was top-notch all the way around. The Cokes were made with cane sugar and not high fructose corn syrup. For appetizers we had chips and curry: long steak-cut potato chips served with dipping cups of yellow and green curries, which were all very tasty. We also got the crab dip, which was made with real cheddar cheese instead of processed cheese and delicious. For my entree, I had the bangers and mash. The sausages were accompanied by an ale-onion gravy that complimented the meat extremely well and also went well with the chive-whipped potatoes and peas and carrots. Gary had the shepherd's pie, and Alex had the fish and chips: he got a single enormous piece of perfectly battered fish atop his fries. Both men report their meals were excellent.

For desert, we tried their Tipsy Laird: slices of fried pound cake over custard, dressed with berries cooked in brandy. It was amazing, but obviously not for anyone even thinking about trying to lose weight.

According to the Tavern Group site, the restaurant is intended to provide "gastropub" fare: British-style bar food turned gourmet. I'd say they've achieved their goal. It's not uncommon for restaurants (especially in the ultra-competitive Columbus market) to open with their A+ cooking game and then let the quality slide as time wears on; I hope this doesn't happen at The Pub.

We'll definitely be back. Price-wise, if you're careful you could probably eat for $10-$15, but if you get drinks you could easily end up racking up a $50 bill (Polaris restaurants in general tend to be on the pricier side). Those who are fish-eating vegetarians will find plenty of meal options, but I don't know if a vegan could find much other than plain fries (assuming they're cooked in veggie oil) and the pub salad to nosh on. People with gluten intolerance should do fine here.

You can call the restaurant at 614.781.7829 but it appears that they don't generally take reservations. If you get there early with a party of six people, you might try asking for the King's Table in the back, though.

* A note on getting to the restaurant: The street address is 1554 Polaris Parkway, Columbus, OH 43240. Mapquest will give you unhelpful directions that will take you to the entrance to the Polaris Mall grounds but not to the actual restaurant. The Pub is hidden from the road, but if you circle the mall until you see the big Barnes and Noble and park nearby, and then walk through the bookstore to the back entrance, you'll see the restaurant right there. This is not to be confused with the other B&N that's across the street in the strip mall that has the Best Buy.



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