Table Talk: Nine essential spices heat up Spice9 Indian restaurant's menu

Gary Seman Jr.
ThisWeek group
Hyderabadi chicken dum biryani is on the menu at Spice9 restaurant, 8631 Sancus Blvd. in northern Columbus, near Polaris Fashion Place.

Spice9 might be considered an outlier in the great constellation of Indian restaurants across central Ohio.

Based in the restaurant-rich area near Polaris Fashion Place in northern Columbus, Spice9 has augmented its dishes to make them more suitable to the largest swath of customers, said Mahesh Tanneru, who owns the venue with Avinash Narsaraopally, Ram Kasarla and Jagan Abeddi.

Ram Kasarla (left) and Avinash Narsaraopally are two of the four owners of Spice9 restaurant at 8631 Sancus Blvd. in northern Columbus, near Polaris Fashion Place.

That means fewer chili peppers and more of the spices that enliven the food without adding too much heat.

“The way we do it is in between,” Tanneru said.

Because India is such a large country, it offers a wide spectrum of food, he said. Many local Indian restaurants simply adjust the temperature for a Western audience, but there is little variation in the flavor, he said.

The restaurant occupies an unassuming storefront, seating 53, at 8631 Sancus Blvd.

Spice9 – the numeral referring to nine essential spices, with more at the restaurant's disposal in its cupboard – also has an extensive menu, touching all points of the country but essentially making the dishes distinct to the restaurant.

Central Ohio diners have become more savvy in their dining habits, through travel and having their choice of local ethnic restaurants, so they might appreciate the change in direction Spice9 offers, Tanneru said.

“We focus more on the Columbus crowd across the board,” he said.

Signature dishes on the menu include several styles of Hyderabadi biryani (a rice dish named after the city from which it originated), chicken wings, a whole pompano fish cooked in the tandoor oven and several goat dishes using fresh meat from Indiana and supplied by Apna Bazaar, an Indian grocery store adjacent to the restaurant.

A whole Tandoori-style pompano fish, roasted in a clay oven and served alongside mint chutney and onion salad, is on the menu at Spice9 restaurant, 8631 Sancus Blvd. in northern Columbus, near Polaris Fashion Place.
Customer Prakash Chava digs into a rice dish Nov. 11 at Spice9 restaurant, 8631 Sancus Blvd. in northern Columbus, near Polaris Fashion Place.

The menu also includes Indochinese dishes, vegetarian fare and street food, or chaat.

Most entrees are $12 to $15.

For beverages, which are nonalcoholic at the moment, Tanneru recommends the chickoo milkshake, made with a South American fruit that is similar in taste to a pear.

He said the partners have applied for a full liquor license.

Lunch hours are 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Dinner hours are 5 to 9:30 p.m. Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, The restaurant is closed Tuesdays.

For more information, call 614-505-3477.

Bird is the word

Meshikou Chikin, the poultry-centric next-door neighbor of Meshikou Ramen, is open at 150 Bethel Road in northwest Columbus.

With a conspicuous Asian orientation, the carryout-only Chikin offers breasts, thigh meat and wings marinated for at least 48 hours and dredged with special seasoned flour before deep-frying, said Mike Shek, a partner in both restaurants.

A meal, which includes seasoned rice and ginger-citrus salad, is $10. A la carte orders are $7.

Meshikou Chikin has five signature sauces: the signature Meshikou garlic bomb, spicy K pop (Korean), Pacific dry rub, Sichuan “nom nom” and sriracha ranch.

It also has a spicy chicken sandwich – a thigh pounded thin and prepared the same as the other items – with spicy mayo and pickles on a brioche bun.

Sigh of relief?

With the COVID-19 coronavirus threat still present, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants and its sibling, Rusty Bucket Restaurant & Tavern, are hoping to give patrons a reason to breathe a little easier.

All 19 local Cameron Mitchell Restaurants concepts and 10 Rusty Bucket locations have installed an iWave Air Purification system, along with MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) filters, believed to eliminate 99.4% of all airborne pathogens, including the coronavirus.

Both restaurant groups are in the process of implementing the technology nationwide. The cost of the upgrades was not disclosed.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary