In a timeless battle of new and old, rookie restaurant Third and Hollywood takes on long-time favorite Rigsby’s Kitchen. Although both restaurants should be reserved for special occasions, inviting atmospheres and creative menus are sure to please

alisongilbert ’11

THIRD AND HOLLYWOOD

The Short North’s Northstar Café sister restaurant—Third and Hollywood—has dominated the Columbus restaurant scene with bold twists on classic flavors since opening in 2009.

Located at 1433 West Third Ave in Grandview, the upscale eatery boasts roomy, padded, red leather booths and thick wooden tables rather than the usual white tablecloths and china plates. The stylish design of the restaurant features dim lighting, allowing the bar, as well as the booths and individual seating to be lit by slender, hanging lamps. The atmosphere could only be described as sophisticated, taking on the feng shui of a trendy lounge more than that of a five-star restaurant.

The menu features new takes on timeless favorites. With everything from an artfully prepared Caesar salad ($4) to a home-style plate of meatloaf and mashed potatoes ($19), the variety was outstanding. The prices, while high, seemed reasonable after the first bite.

I began with the Guacamole and Pimento Cheese starter ($9)—the bright green guacamole was fresh and speckled with lime, bell pepper and cilantro. The pimento cheese dip was a fantastic mixture of smoky and salty flavors accompanied by occasional red pepper bits. For the main course, I went with the southwestern styled veggie burger ($16). Instead of Northstar’s beet based burger, Third and Hollywood’s updated version features black beans, corn and red peppers. The burger is surrounded by two buttery, toasted, sesame buns and topped with guacamole, red onions, melted Monterrey jack cheese, fresh iceberg lettuce, mayonnaise and a slice of tomato. Though the options for sides are seemingly endless, I went with an order of the hand cut, crispy fries, but the menu offers alternatives such as mashed potatoes, tortilla chips, green bean salad and cole slaw. After enjoying three supremely delicious parts, I was able to conclude that the meal as a whole was a success.

Despite lofty prices, the newest member of Northstar family of restaurants managed to develop healthy-edged modern dishes, using fresh ingredients, creative 21st-century-styling and a homemade attitude.

RIGSBY’S KITCHEN

A consistent finalist on The Columbus Dispatch’s list of the top twenty restaurants in Columbus, Rigsby’s Kitchen has been the talk of the town with critics and food lovers alike since opening in 1986.

The Short North -based restaurant is owned by Tasi and Kent Rigsby and gained notoriety for its simple, but refined menu. Rigsby’s is nestled at 698 North High St. and has the feel of a chic eatery in Italy rather than that of one in the heart of central Ohio. The atmosphere is intimate, graceful and elegant. A long wrap-around bar surrounds the exhibition-style kitchen. But don’t let the dim lighting, beautiful wood planked floors and upscale artwork fool you; there is nothing fussy or formal about Rigsby’s. The owners actually promote a healthy sense of comfort and encourage patrons to dress and act in a casual fashion.

Rigsby’s dishes offer an array of cultural flavors inspired by those of Italy and the Mediterranean. The menu is small and the prices are lofty, but the exquisite flavors outshine the high prices. The restaurant carefully selects the best local food vendors to ensure fresh ingredients year round.

The house sourdough bread was a dark crusted creation, quite possibly the most delicious bread I have ever tasted. I continued with a classic Caesar salad ($8), which was perfectly portioned and plated. The lettuce was crisp and the dressing was neither too light nor too heavy. I followed with a main course of House Made Ravioli with Butternut Squash and Sage Brown Butter ($22). The pasta was exceedingly fresh and practically melted in my mouth. The entrée, while intimidating, was expertly seasoned and stunningly arranged on the plate. I finished with a fantastic Affogato of Jeni’s Vanilla Bean, Honey Ice Cream with Chilled Espresso ($8). The espresso, while strong, was supremely satisfying. Overall my meal was perfect. It was filling, flavorful and superbly executed.

With artful design, creative essence and delicious flavor in each dish, Rigsby’s Kitchen has and will continue to win over any guest.