Saturday, April 12, 2008

Spagio, Columbus Ohio

Went here with my mother, aunt, and sister for a quick lunch on my Aunt's birthday. A mild Saturday in mid-April, this was my only weekend off during the laborious intern year stint in the ICU.

To begin, with a name like Spagio it seems as though the idea of Spago may have had some influence on the Italian/Pac-Rim fusion menu and as options were available for both brunch and lunch ( the menu was all over the place. As we already had dinner reservations planned at the Worthington Inn for dinner, we settled on a soup, bread, and two Pizzas for the four of us. Great choices all around.

The bread was crusty and refilled without additional requests, but not overly exciting; just what you want in an Italian Sourdough. The lobster bisque, a must for me at any restaurant with it on the menu, was actually one of the best I've had. Somewhat spicy, not overly buttery, with a hint of chives and chunks of whole lobster. While not as spectacular as the option once available at the now departed Fisherman's Wharf, it was certainly far above average.

The Pizzas were hit and miss; one hit, one miss. My mother and Aunt settled on the Tomato Basil Pizza w/ extra virgin olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. While good, the the cheese was a bit overpowering and the tomatoes not quite in season. A little more basil or perhaps some oregano likely would have helped. The wheat crust was perhaps a poor idea in this dish, but for my money, I'd recommend Marcella's version instead. My sister and I opted for more adventure and were generously rewarded with the Brie Pizza w/ sweet apple butter, French brie cheese, pears, and candied walnuts. Somewhat salty, somewhat sweet, and entirely delicious. The sweet and nutty flavour of the walnuts contrasted perfectly with the creamy and sublime brie while the applebutter and pears provided just the right amount of texture and tart. I'm not really sure if this was the best dessert pizza I've ever tasted or the most unique tasting "normal" pizza I've ever had, but either way I'd recommend it strongly.

While the dessert case looked marvelous, we'd already purchased a beautiful cake for my aunt's birthday and weren't feeling entirely gluttonous with reservations already made for later in the day. Service was prompt and pleasant and the coffee service was wonderful. Seating was comfortable and the artwork, while kitchy, was tasteful and clever. I particularly enjoyed the funky pig cutting through the wall and the interesting option to hang Dale Chihuly's dirty napkin in a glass case.While certainly not 'fine dining,' I'd definititely head back for some pizza, coffee, or dessert and i'd love to taste Mediterranean Pasta or Croissant French Toast.

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