Melissa Kossler Dutton and her family, including her sons Nick, 16, and Alex, 14, visited the Cap City Fine Diner and Bar, which won our 2020 Family Faves reader survey in the Best Family Meals category. chic.
With the good weather, we decided it was time to have dinner outside. Knowing that we wanted to dine al fresco, we started looking for patios. Several friends noted that Cap City Fine Diner and Bar improved their patio game during the pandemic. As he’s consistently one of the top voters in Columbus Parent’s annual Family Faves reader survey, we decided to go. We visited the original location, Olentangy River Road, of the Cameron Mitchell Restaurants diner-style restaurant. Cap City also has branches in Gahanna and Dublin.
We started with an order of blue cheese chips ($ 10.99). I have tried making them at home with mixed success. Cap City is perfection. The sauce is creamy and smooth but not runny, and they use just the right amount of crumbled blue cheese to infuse the dish with the signature cheese flavor.
I was delighted to learn that the Monday Blue Plate feature is shrimp and oatmeal ($ 23.99). It was fantastic. The menu describes the sauce as spicy and it was, but the cheese oatmeal really softened the heat. Large chunks of ham, bell pepper and celery added texture. With so few ingredients, the dish might seem simple, but the sauce and oatmeal had many layers of flavor. Along with the warmth of the poblano peppers and the caramel and nutty notes of the Gouda cheese, the sauce also had citrus undertones. If the dish had been served with bread, I would have wiped up what was left.
Although we were force-fed our meals, which were all generously portioned, we decided to share a Blueberry Cobbler ($ 7.49). The cobbler had pieces of real fruit and the filling was sweet and crunchy. It was a great end to a great dinner. One thing I really liked about the experience was the pace of our meal. The food dishes always came out soon after we ordered them, but the waitress gave us time to visit and soak up the atmosphere. After months of cooking and preparing meals at home, it was nice to really savor the restaurant experience.
Nick says …
Based on previous Cap City meals, I had high hopes for our visit. My mom called ahead and made a reservation for the patio, which is very large. The area is full of tables and when we went there at the end of April it was surrounded by a tent with flaps that could be opened and closed.
Once seated, we used our phones to scan the QR code that links to the menu. I loved this idea. It is safer against COVID than a regular menu and more environmentally friendly than disposable paper menus.
The first things we ordered were the drinks and the blue cheese chips. I had the Peach Palmer ($ 3.49), a glass of homemade lemonade mixed with iced tea and peach puree. I really enjoyed the flavor. It was a nice mix of lemonade pie and sweetness of tea and peaches. It wasn’t too sweet, not too sour, or too runny. This was by far the best Arnold Palmer I have ever had.
My main course was Jake’s famous Ruben ($ 13.99). The first thing I noticed was the quality of the bread. It wasn’t soggy and the rye flavor wasn’t too strong. Normally I’m not a big fan of rye bread but it was nice and crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. He made the sandwich. The dressing was also very tasty. It goes well with corned beef and sauerkraut. The sandwich had a good balance of dressing, sauerkraut and meat, and it all went perfectly with the soft, creamy Swiss cheese that topped the sandwich.
We were all impressed with the presentation of our dessert. It arrived in a tea cup and had a sprig of fresh mint on it. The shoemaker was still smoking from the oven. Loved the crispy topping and the way the ice cream created a melted sauce on top.
Alex says …
When I heard we were having dinner in Cap City I was excited because we had ordered take out earlier in the pandemic and wanted to visit the restaurant. The blue cheese chip appetizer was amazing. The flavor wasn’t too strong but still had that blue cheese flavor. The dip also had an excellent consistency, rich and creamy. Despite the generous amount of sauce, the fries remained crispy and delicious.
For my main course, I ordered the Philly Cheese Steak with French Fries ($ 13.99). Imagine a typical cheesesteak sandwich, then imagine it with the highest quality ingredients. Often times, this type of sandwich is made with what appears to be inexpensive pre-sliced meat. However, in Cap City, they use prime rib that they cooked and then sliced for the sandwich. What a difference it makes. The meat was tender, juicy and tasty. It was nestled in an extraordinary hoagie bun that managed to be damp and airy but not soggy at all. The sandwich was topped with the best white cheddar cheese I have ever had. The cheese had so many unique and amazing flavors that it took me a minute to figure out what kind it was.
French fries can make or break a meal, especially with a dish like Philly cheesesteak. Cap City’s fries definitely exceeded expectations. They came out of the kitchen piping hot and expertly seasoned with herbs and the right amount of salt.
For dessert, we ordered the Blueberry Cobbler, which I was happy to hear topped with real Johnson’s ice cream, one of my favorite local ice cream parlors. I was too full to indulge in a lot of shoemaking but the bites I had were excellent.
I would recommend Cap City for families looking for top notch American cuisine.
This story is from the Summer 2021 issue of Columbus Parent.
Cap City Fine Diner and Bar
1299 Olentangy River Road, Columbus, as well as locations in Dublin and Gahanna; 614-478-9999 (Columbus location)
Hours: Monday to Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (all locations)
Prices: Dinner entrees, which include sandwiches, comfort food, seafood, and steak, range from $ 10.99 to $ 30.99. Soups, salads and appetizers are also available. The kids ‘menu has a dozen choices starting at $ 4.99, from traditional kids’ dishes to the restaurant’s signature meatloaf or salmon.
Mom: Shrimps and Grits
Pseudo: Jake’s famous Ruben
Alexander: Philadelphia Cheese Steak