Randy McGuffin is rolling out a dinner menu at the evolving Blue Turtle Tea & Spice Co. in Westerville.

As of five months ago, Randy McGuffin had never even been to Ohio.

On Saturday, he rolls out a new dinner menu at the Blue Turtle Tea & Spice Co. in Westerville.

He figures he's in tune with the tastes of his guests.

"I believe when it comes to health and flavor, anybody's ready for anything," he said. "So I'm going full speed ahead."

Since graduating from culinary school in Baltimore, McGuffin has spent the last 20 years traversing the country, working in the restaurant industry or owning his own restaurants. After he sold his latest eatery, Chef Gerald in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., his sister Amanda McGuffin-Noll called and needed a chef. The owner of Blue Turtle, she had food service in mind since her store opened in October.

A few months ago, the place started out with a small menu. McGuffin is within reach of 400 organic herbs and spices, not to mention nearly 100 loose-leaf teas.
"It's pretty easy to make everything taste good," he said.

The familiar lunch menu has a few of McGuffin's trademark touches: "ghost chile" made with bhut jolokia peppers from India, lemon dill shrimp salad, pulled pork quesadillas and roasted curry apricot chicken salad, which also comes in sandwich form. Most prices are $5 to $7.

The dinner menu will focus heavily on seafood, which will be flown in fresh from a variety of sources. Other dishes will include braised lamb with rosemary jus and saffron rice, a roasted duck burrito with red chili sauce, black bean, cheddar and sour cream, and an exotic greens salad. With the weather warming, McGuffin is going to try to establish relationships with local producers. Dinner entrees will run in the $9 to $14 range.

"Everything's going to be healthy and fresh," he said.

Portions, however, do not suffer.

"Our portions are big," he said.

"That's why we have to go boxes," his sister added.

The place is open for lunch and dinner six days a week, closed Sunday except for special occasions. For more information, call 614-890-2400.

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Amul India Restaurant has changed hands, which means big changes in the kitchen, and soon, the menu.

Dr. Ravi and Neeru Madan have purchased the restaurant from Lakhvir Singh. They have hired consultant Ashim Vig, who for 37 years owned several restaurants in Toronto. Vig promises to retool the menu and add a number of new entrees. Two new chefs have been hired, one with expertise in Mughlai cuisine and the other in tandoori dishes.

The restaurant has offered weekly specials to introduce some of the new meals, including a small vegan selection and a children's menu, Vig said. Big changes, though, are at least a month away. Amul, which now serves halal meats, will keep the most popular dishes, he said. Among the soon-to-be-added offerings:

The Afghani kebab - a half chicken marinated in 20 herbs and spices for two hours before being cooked in the tandoor oven. Dhaba-style curry - Northern Indian street food cooked at roadside shacks, popular with commuters. Vig said it is among the hotter cuisines to be offered at the restaurant. Murg achari tikka -chicken coated with pickled spices and cooked in the tandoor oven.
Vig said the prices will coincide with the other entrees, most of which are in the $10 to $12 range. Amul is located at 7676 Sawmill Road in the Old Sawmill Square, north of I-270.

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It's no coincidence that Ajay Bansal and Ram Saberhwal have named their new restaurant Bollywood Bistro. After all, it's next to the Cinemark Theater in the Carriage Place shopping center. And Bollywood, of course, is the name of India's movie industry. The interior of the store will take on a movie-themed motif.

The restaurant is expected to open in the next week or so at 2584 Bethel Road in the former Little Athens space. It will seat 58.

Both men were partners in Guru Indian in Findlay, while Sabherwal also owned Sher-e-Punjab in the Kenny Center, which he recently sold.

Bollywood's large menu includes all the popular dishes, such as chicken tikka masala, lamb biryani, saag paneer and shrimp tandoori. Most entree prices are between $10 and $14.

They are looking into acquiring a liquor license, but there is no alcohol in place, Bansal said.

The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner hours daily. For more information, call 614-457-5000.