Table Talk: Chapman’s Eat Market in German Village touts ‘straightforward’ fare

GARY SEMAN JR.
ThisWeekNEWS.com
BJ Lieberman, chef and owner of Chapman’s Eat Market, sits in his restaurant at 739 S. Third St. in German Village on Sept. 15.

Chapman’s Eat Market is offering dine-in services at 739 S. Third St. in German Village, five weeks after opening for carryout only. 

The restaurant, which replaces Max & Erma’s, has introduced a prix fixe menu, with two seatings of 16 at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. 

Chef and owner BJ Lieberman, who has worked in some of the most advanced kitchens in Charleston, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C., tends to downplay his degustation menu and restaurant’s bill of fare overall. 

“It’s just straightforward food,” Lieberman said. “It’s just comfort food to us.” 

In the dining world, however, a tasting menu conjures up images of petite works of art, painstakingly plated and made with emulsifiers, difficult-to-find ingredients, butane torches and liquid nitrogen. 

It is not so at Chapman’s, Lieberman said. 

“To me, we can do a lot of stuff without breaking those tricks out,” he said. 

His chef de cuisine is Wes Grubbs, a connection from his days in Charleston, and his sous chef is Justin Singer, a friend from D.C. 

Lieberman is not revealing one dish – eight is the goal – on the prix-fixe menu, which costs $60 per person, with an optional $30 beverage pairing. 

With the COVID-19 coronavirus still a threat, Lieberman said, he is taking extra precautions, placing tables more than 6 feet apart, which has been the state minimum. 

There is no seating at the tufted bar stools, green with brass supports, or in a private dining room, hidden in a way that is reminiscent of the Prohibition era. 

Austerely decorated, the restaurant’s color scheme includes white-washed brick, pinks and greens. The bar has been reworked, too, and the two wooden mermaids that had flanked the giant mirror have been removed, Lieberman said. 

The restaurant has an a la carte menu, as well as a house-assembled dinner for two ($75), which includes smoked and dry-rubbed beef ribs, Hawaiian-style macaroni and cheese, lemon-braised kale, housemade rolls, pickled cauliflower, whipped butter and a pint of homemade ice cream. 

The ice cream is crafted carefully, having been hand-stirred over an open flame, infused with natural ingredients, chilled overnight and churned the next morning. 

“The whole thing with ice cream is the fewer the ingredients, the better,” he said. 

An example of the a la carte menu is the lamb shank barbacoa, brined for 24 hours, rubbed with a wet marinade, grilled for flavor and cooked in banana leaves for up to 12 hours. The shank is glazed with its own juice upon service. 

The plate setup includes arroz verde, spicy chickpea puree and pickled golden raisins, for $21. 

“That is one of our missions here, to give as much good food at a good value,” Lieberman said. 

Chapman’s burger also is given a few upscale touches. A mix of chuck, brisket and sirloin, it is served on a housemade bun with traditional garnishes and “special sauce,”’ a blend of table-side condiments. 

Lieberman likens it to a “sloppy, delicious fast-food burger.” 

The fries are hand cut, blanched in water with baking soda and salt and deep-fried in pork fat, beef fat and clarified butter, and then fried again per order. 

“The whole thing about a french fry is it being fluffy in the middle and crispy outside,” he said. “That fat gives it flavor.” 

Hours are 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. 

To make reservations for the tasting menu, go to resy.com. For more information, call 614-444-0917. 

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Punk Pigs, pledging fealty to punk rock in both decor and attitude, is taking over space formerly occupied by Baba’s, 2515 Summit St. in Columbus.  

A Friday, Oct. 2, opening is planned. 

Geared mostly toward carryout and delivery, with some limited seating, Punk Pigs is a collaboration of Zach James (Paddy Wagon food truck), Mason Conway (formerly of Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse) and Dan McCarthy (formerly of Tatoheads food truck). 

The menu will include a variety of grilled cheeses, loaded melts, sandwiches and appetizers. Several vegetarian and vegan options will be offered, including a vegan grilled cheese and vegan sauerkraut balls. 

Punk Pigs also will feature a curated list of wines and beers. 

gseman@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekGary