Table Talk

Japanese steakhouse in Polaris looks to Ohio for ingredients

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CHRIS PARKER/THISWEEKNEWS
Chef Kazushige Honda cuts up shrimp in Chef Honda, a new Japanese hibachi grill restaurant at 420 Polaris Parkway.
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By ThisWeek Community News  • 

While Japanese steakhouses are nothing new in Columbus, Kazushige Honda is taking a slightly different approach.

At Chef Honda, his new hibachi grill in the Polaris area, the veteran restaurateur works with a local purveyor to cull as many ingredients as possible -- onions, green peppers, zucchini, meats, chicken, eggs and such -- from Buckeye State farms.

An Ohio Proud member, Chef Honda takes over the former Meijin location at 420 Polaris Parkway, just east of Cleveland Avenue.

Like the many teppanyaki-style restaurants throughout central Ohio, Chef Honda offers live cooking with dazzling cutlery theatrics accented with the occasional burst of flame.

Honda has teamed up with friend Steve Yee, owner of Chi Thai in New Albany area, on the Polaris venture.

It has 12 tables, each seating 10. The new place offers a full line of sushi -- traditional and signature rolls, as well as a build-your-own section.

"Just tell us what you want," general manager Bob Truax said. "People seem to appreciate certain ingredients over others, so it gives them more choices."

They've even devised a sushi shooter, which features honey liqueur, sake, fish roe, sea urchin, a raw quail egg and candied lemon.

The setting is a homecoming of sorts for Honda, who was one of the chefs at the original Benihana in New York City.

Since then, he has traversed the country, working at various restaurants.

In 1984, he moved his own restaurant, Otani, from Cleveland to Columbus. Located in Northland, it remains one of the original sushi restaurants in central Ohio.

Honda said he has no intention of selling or changing Otani. Yet, the 68-year-old said he was eager to get back behind the grill, even if he's a little rusty.

"I have a lot of energy, leave everybody behind," he said.

Chef Honda is open lunch and dinner hours daily. For more information, call 614-882-2222.

 

Bru is now North High Brewing, just one of many changes at the Short North-area spot.

In the upcoming weeks, the low-key venue is adding food, more of its own beers on tap and ramping up on-premises brewing for home-brewers.

The rustic establishment, which opened just before the start of the New Year, joins a few other new and highly rated alcohol-related establishments in the neighborhood, including Brothers Drake Meadery & Bar and Middle West Spirits.

North High Brewing, 1288 N. High St. just north of Fifth Avenue, was opened by Gavin Meyers and Tim Ward, an avid home brewer.

They brought on brew master Charlie Davis, an Indiana University graduate with experience at Crown Brewing Co. in Crown Point, Ind., and Finch's Beer Co. in Chicago.

For $160 to $200, home brewers can use the equipment and ingredients to make six cases of beer, Davis said. That does not include bottles.

The place offers 30 beers on tap -- 10 of its own and 20 microbrews from throughout the U.S. -- plus an assortment of beers by the bottle and can and spirituous liquor.

Meyers said he is working with the owners of Commonwealth Sandwich Bar on proprietary sandwiches for the brewery but would not divulge the details.

"Publicly we're saying it's the first of its kind of Columbus," he said. They will be in the $6 to $10 range.

North High Brewing is open lunch to late night hours daily. For more information call 614-824-3139.

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