Strongwater Food and Spirits
401 W. Town St.
Columbus, OH 43215
1. Pumpkin Spiced Coffee Cheesecake
2. Nashville Hot Chicken
3. Jackfruit Taco
4. “Champagne” Cocktail
5. Maple Shake
The verdict is still out on whether I love the food or the drinks better at Strongwater Food and Spirits. I sincerely hope I don’t have to choose between either, because the vibe and the menu is one of the most unique in the city, in the best possible way. An anchor in the revival of the Franklinton neighborhood (along with Land-Grant Brewing) this fun and funky spot is great for a casual dinner out or late-night drinks with friends. Located in an old industrial building, Strongwater has kept the integrity of the structure, with exposed brick and leaving intact the former executive offices as private mini-rooms. On my most recent visit, I went with a group for New Year’s Eve, and it was so nice to have one of the offices as our own little space.
Now let’s get down to business. You will find innovative twists on some classic dishes on the menu here, as well as many vegan-friendly items. Take the tacos for example. You may have tried tofu as a meat substitute, but how about shredded jackfruit? I hadn’t tried jackfruit before either, but the fruit shreds like pulled pork, and takes on the texture and flavor that real meat would. Add the jackfruit to some jalapeno, cilantro sauce, and butternut squash puree and you’ve got one special taco! I’m a sucker for small plates, Brussels sprouts, and anything with a fried egg, so the Brussels was an easy choice. This appetizer has roasted Brussels sprouts, onions, orange gastrique, sweet potato, a yolky egg, and just enough spice. The salmon was a hit at the table too, with a garnish of apple cider foam. Nashville Hot Chicken is taking over the Midwest, and Strongwater’s take was pretty admirable: a heat-heavy sandwich with chipotle aioli and house-made pickles. Desserts were just as tempting. I adored the chocolate shortbread crust on my Pumpkin Spiced Coffee Cheesecake, and the puffy Apple Fritters with bourbon anglaise were remarkably light.
And oh, the drinks! There are beer and wine options of course, but Strongwater really excels at mixology. The Franklinton Mule is a fun riff on a Moscow Mule, with bourbon instead of vodka. A satisfying winter option is the Maple Shake, consisting of coffee, vodka, soymilk, and maple syrup. My absolute favorite libation was the “Champagne” Cocktail, a blend of prosecco, rhubarb bitters, and a sugar cube. There are too many other good drinks to even list.
Don’t be late to the party! Check out Strongwater and the Franklinton area before it loses some of its grittiness, and don’t be afraid to try an unusual menu item while you’re there.