The Lost Shepherd is a comfy and unpretentious place with pretty darn good pub grub.
Most soccer-and-ale embracing, trans-Atlantic-celebrating establishments strike me as gimmicky and hokey. I'm especially put out when, apparently for the sake of "authenticity," I'm forced to precariously teeter on a made-over-there backless chair while choking back poorly prepared food.
Well, now that I've found the Lost Shepherd Tavern in Powell, I can get my "ye olde pub" fix and eat it too - without profound regret or inflationary prices.
Sure, Lost Shepherd evokes a bit of that faux Celt/Brit-farmhouse feel through its neutral tones, hanging rustic windows placed right over stone-colored brick walls, plus a few geometrically folk-artsy touches. But mostly this big, modern and airy space just comes across as a comfy and unpretentious place with pretty darn good pub grub.
And while you can get all the expected brew-friendly sandwiches and of course good fish and chips, Lost Shepherd also branches out into more ambitious fare.
Such as the unusual Artichoke Salad ($8). Hearts of the namesake veggie were scattered about a plate with about a whole deli sandwich-worth of decent-quality pastrami plus thick stalks of roasted asparagus, diced tomato and parmesan cheese. A light vinaigrette tried to unite the disparate items, but I don't think it fully succeeded.
The Southern Fried Chicken Fritters ($8) were more universally pleasing. Five crooked and easy-to-love, lengthy chicken fingers featured flaky, crackly and extra-crispy shells with plump and juicy chicken tenders underneath. They were richly served with mayo jacked up on hot pepper sauce.
A nightly special Fried Green Tomato appetizer was another winner, even if the tart, thinly sliced greenies were on the greasy side. The fun-to-munch crunchy discs were teamed with lettuce plus diced riper red tomatoes for a nifty thematic counterpoint. Drizzled on top was a mustardy remoulade.
The Black and White Tenderloin Sandwiches ($12) were a fantastic deal. A duo of salt and pepper crusted hunks of filet mignon-type beef were given tons of flavor from a mess of deeply sauteed onions. Placed upon soft foccacia rolls, they were like supersized, upscale sliders.
For my side, I got an upgrade to the delicious (though greasy) sweet and hot fries. Those spuds were showered with chili flakes, vinegar and white cheddar - suspiciously similar to the kind famously served at the Flatiron.
A Pan Roasted Walleye entree ($13) treated very fresh and clean-tasting filets to a light and tart cream sauce I'd call milky. This came with a nice and crispy, red-pepper-flecked, good-sized fried risotto cake and presented yet another excellent value here.
Most desserts emanate from Mrs. Goodman's bakery in Worthington, but slices of cheesecake are made in-house; I opted for the Oreo version ($5). I liked its moderately dense texture and tangy dairy flavor and appreciated that the Oreo didn't overwhelm it. Still, I could've done without the boring Hershey's syrup.
But from a good beer selection (try a $6 flight), to free live bands on the weekends, to a Powell Road patio, to food above and beyond the call of the usual U.K.-type pub, the Lost Shepherd Tavern has lots to offer.
To read G.A. Benton's blog, visit ColumbusDiningGuide.com