Troy Bellot and John Hudson are ready to take customers on a culinary journey.

Troy Bellot and John Hudson are ready to take customers on a culinary journey.

Their new restaurant, Passport 196 at 2816 Fishinger Road in Upper Arlington, represents the food of many cultures throughout the world.

"I'm really proud of this menu," said Bellot, the chef and former owner of Passport Cafe & Catering, a small restaurant at 1335 Dublin Road that was replaced by Talita's Southwest Cafe. "It's simple, casual, fun and affordable -- but very, very unique."

Bellot is putting a smoker to use for several dishes, including a poutine with smoked jerk duck, gravy, fresh-cut fries, pepper jack cheese and blue cheese.

The banh mi sandwich uses smoked pork belly, pickled vegetables, a tangy sauce and homemade duck pate.

His signature dishes include conch fritters served with bimini sauce, a sort of spicy mayonnaise, for dipping and several burgers, including a veggie option composed of black beans, chipotle, Israeli couscous and basmati rice.

"This is a veggie burger that literally is for everyone," he said.

Meanwhile, the Passport 614 burger is a blend of ground short rib, chuck and brisket, sourced locally.

Passport 196 takes over the former Big Fat Greek Kuzina on Fishinger Road. The interior has been gutted and features a comfortable ambience and largely moderately priced fare, with only one dish -- the Brazilian rib eye -- hitting the $20 mark.

The tables and bar are made from the lanes of an old bowling alley near Steubenville in eastern Ohio, Bellot said.

"That's what it is -- wood with a story," he said. "That's what we love."

Hours of operation are 3 p.m. to midnight Mondays through Thursdays, 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 to 10 p.m. Sundays.

Bellot said he and Hudson soon plan to offer brunch Saturdays and Sundays.

For more information, call 614-817-1004.

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It could be the most uncommon bar food in town.

Phuyel Bro's Kitchen -- part of the growing Nepalese restaurant scene that includes Momo Ghar, Namaste Indo-Nepali Cuisine and Himalayan Grille -- has opened in an out-of-the-way strip-mall bar at 980 N. Waggoner Road in Blacklick.

The 92-seat tavern offers a full line of dishes from the Himalayan nation, including homemade momo (dumplings with dipping sauce), thukpa (noodle soup), fried rice, rice and curry and chaumin (fried noodles).

Most come with a protein option, such as chicken, fish, shrimp or mutton. Vegetable versions are available, too.

Nothing is priced more than $13.

Owner Mon Phuyel said customers slowly have been acclimating to the cuisine.

Phuyel said he has been handing out samples on football Saturdays since the restaurant opened seven weeks ago. He also added fries, chicken wings and burgers to broaden the menu's appeal.

However, he said, his scratch-made dishes aren't so uncommon that Western tastes will not adapt.

For example, the samosas are seasoned potatoes wrapped in dough and deep-fried to make the perfect bar snack, he said. The pyaazi is just a different name for onion rings, he said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary