520 S. Front Street
After the cast/crew of American Idiot came down with the flu resulting in the cancellation of the Saturday night performance, Lori and I decided to salvage the evening by getting some dinner.
I suggested McCasky's Grille which opened a few weeks ago in the space once and most notably occupied by Handke's Cuisine.
Prior to the retirement of Chef/Proprietor Hartmut Handke, Handke's was one of central Ohio's premier fine dining establishments. McCasky's is considerably less formal. Reserving the downstairs space, formerly part of a 19th century brewery, for private parties, the public dining area shares space with a large bar and several flat screen televisions just below street level.
The menu at McCasky's is heavy on appetizers and sandwiches with a few standard entrees such as fish and chips, roast pork, and scallops.
I ordered the Pasta NOLA ($12.00) which was a nice portion of penne pasta with chicken, peppers, onion, and mushrooms in an andouille cream sauce, but the NOLA element was a bit lacking.
There was very little spice to the dish. Served with two pieces of garlic bread (which were light on the garlic), it simply did not rise above an average pasta dish.
Lori selected the steak which was listed as black angus beef on the menu at "market price." This allows the chef to change the single steak option on a weekly basis. This evening it was a six ounce Filet of Beef ($16.00).
Lori reported that the steak would have benefited from better seasoning and flavor and that the vegetables (zucchini, broccoli, and carrots) were fresh and proved to be the highlight of the meal. Unfortunately, the yukon gold mash was overpowered by butter.
Having just finished two average meals, we were hoping our luck might change with dessert. Fortunately, it did.
Even though the menu advised that "Our desserts are large enough to be shared," our server (identified as "Sweetness" on our bill!) was successful, but not overly aggressive, in convincing us to order one for each of us. Admittedly, it wasn't a difficult sell!
We shared the Aztec Brownie ($7.00) and Strawberry Shortcake ($7.00). The chocolate brownie was spiced with cayenne pepper and matched with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and drizzled with hot fudge sauce.
Whereas the cayenne dried out the brownie a bit, the flavor was very good and the ice cream and hot fudge sauce accounted for the necessary moisture content.
The strawberry shortcake was another highlight of the evening. The moist pound cake is homemade by the mother of one of the owners, Rich McClusky, and was so good that I could overlook the lack of fresh strawberries. The cake and vanilla bean ice cream were smothered with a strawberry sauce.
Having been a fan of the world-class fare prepared and offered by Chef Handke at this location, I was a bit apprehensive about trying out the building's successor occupant. Granted, there is nothing other than the building that is common between the two establishments.
For Brewery District revelers, McCasky's Grille fits the bill as a casual eatery with few variations on typical pub fare.