A modest American dinner staple has been reimagined with bold new flavors and enough heft to give burgers a run for their money at Newfangled Kitchen.

Meatloaf sandwiches are the thing at the new restaurant, which replaces C'est Si Bon Cafe at 2258 E. Main St. in Bexley.

The owners, Eric and Laura Dennison, did their share of research before getting things right where they wanted them.

"Obviously, over the last two years we've probably eaten our weight in meatloaf -- and then some," Eric Dennison said.

Newfangled serves five custom sandwiches, with the signature choice being the Fang -- a 6-ounce cut of meatloaf, lettuce, onions, pickles, American cheese and special mayo-based barbecue sauce on an egg-washed bun toasted in a sandwich press, as is the case with most Newfangled sandwiches.

Another choice is the Lucifer's Hammer, which gets some heat from jalapenos, pepper-jack cheese and spicy diablo sauce, while the Joe Cool is a chilled meatloaf sandwich.

"We want to bring some respect back to the meatloaf," Eric Dennison said.

Newfangled offers other sandwich choices, including all-beef grilled bologna, roasted chicken, a turkey Reuben, a tuna melt, egg salad and a vegetarian option, plus side dishes.

Fresh salads and meal salads, such as the tuna Nicoise, also are among the bill of fare, along with soups and two homemade desserts: chocolate kettle-chip cookies and peanut butter pudding.

No individual item is more than $9.

Newfangled Kitchen is not kosher but the meatloaf is made from 100 percent beef, and no pork products are used unless specified on the menu, Eric Dennison said.

Gluten-free bread substitutes are available upon request.

Newfangled Kitchen is in downtown Bexley, across from Capital University. The 900-square-foot upstairs space seats 18.

It joins a growing list of restaurants that use electric kitchen equipment instead of gas ovens and fryers, which require expensive hoods and fire-suppression systems.

Newfangled Kitchen's meatloaf is cooked in a convection oven and the sandwiches are finished on the sandwich press.

Eric Dennison said he has spent most of his professional life in the restaurant business, working for his father, who owned Peppercorns in the Toledo suburb of Perrysburg. He came to Columbus to work at Katzinger's Delicatessen and then Lexi's on Third.

Dennison scoffs at the notion that meatloaf is common and uncomplicated.

"It's not so easy when you start adding other ingredients to it," he said. "It was really important for us to get that right balance."

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays and closed Mondays. For more information, call 614-817-1099.

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Silk Road Asian Cuisine has blazed a trail to Westerville.

The restaurant, which also has an outlet in Lewis Center, has opened at 5963 S. Sunbury Road.

The new Silk Road offers many Chinese and Thai dishes, along with some Japanese items. There's also a build-your-own section.

Signature dishes include crispy Thai red snapper, General Tso's chicken and shrimp-stuffed tofu, which is lightly battered and fried.

Most entrees are $10 to $14.

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A full selection of brunch dishes and beverages is available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at Cosecha Cocina, 987 N. Fourth St. in Columbus.

The modern Mexican restaurant offers dishes such as enchiladas, the Mexican sweet potato hash skillet, churro-fried tres leches bread pudding, masa waffle con pollo frito and huevos rancheros.

Most dishes are $7 to $12.

Reservations are recommended. For more information, call 614-369-1129.

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Congregation Beth Tikvah is seeking contestants for the 13th annual Columbus Souper Bowl Cook-off, to be held Feb. 2 at the synagogue, 6121 Olentangy River Road in Worthington.

Both amateur and restaurant submissions are being sought in the chicken-soup and nonchicken-soup categories. Soups with pork or shellfish will not be permitted.

The deadline for entries is Dec. 31.

For more information, contact Jeff Wasserstrom at 614-760-0026 or jeffwass@yahoo.com.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary