Northstar Cafe
 Columbus, Ohio        Date of Visit  11/07/13   

In Columbus for a conference, we took a few opportunities to find some tasty local gnoshage. I was also fortunate enough to catch a cousin I hardly ever get to see and she suggested a couple of places in the Easton area where the conference was being held. Weirdly enough, a student had recently told me about one of the places she suggested, the North Star Café. They loved it, she loves it, what more do you need to know. Everything in Easton is kinda fancy-dancy compared to some other areas of the city and North Star isn’t an exception. There is a glassed off bakery prepping all of the fresh breads and sweet treats. The service is what might be referred to as upscale-cafateria.



If You Were Wondering If It's Fresh Baked...

You walk the line to place your order, there always seemed to be a line except for breakfast the next day…more on that in a bit. You get your beverage, find a table and they bring you a bain marie of  silverware and napkins to eyeball the number of your order and as soon as everything is ready it arrives at your table. With the long line at the door and the look of the dining area I expected to be standing against the wall waiting for a table to open up but they have a mezzanine full of seats ringing the outer wall of the place allowing folks to find a seat pretty quickly.

We ordered the winter vegetable salad, the soup of the day and a Northstar burger. It’s not my usual fare, but I went with the recommendations. I didn’t try the salad or the soup but both looked great and were certainly enjoyed. The onion soup was loaded with onion and was topped with what appeared to be a slice of toasted, freshly baked bread with a thick layer of cheese melted over the top, I should have gotten one, but I have a feeling I should have gotten a lot.

...It Is

Onion Soup With Enormous Crouton

The winter vegetable salad looked interesting and included roasted butternut squash and beets, spiced pecans, Mackenzie Creamery goat cheese and a champagne vinaigrette. It really looked interesting and it was certainly enjoyed.

I ordered the Northstar Burger. If you’ve read much of this you would expect a mammoth patty of tasty cow loaded with strips of pig, hefty slices or lumps of cheese, interesting condiments, that kinda thing. Not to be. Like I said, I went with recommendations. They have a tasty house-ground Niman Ranch burger…I got the Northstar…it’s a veggie burger. I’ve had a few. They have varied from cardboard to, if all the cows died I could probably eat this to stay alive. The Northstar was something else. Brown rice, black beans and beets are hammered into a puck in house and stacked with white cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion, then served with a simple salad. The burger even screws with your head a bit…you don’t order a doneness but it comes mid-rare looking. Pink in the middle and crusty brown on the outside, strange, but tasty strange. Instead of some weird pretending to be beef flavor this thing was proteiny rich and tasty in its own right. The salad had a bright vinaigrette and I had a vegetarian lunch and all was still right with the world. I would certainly get it again.


Healthy, Wintery Goodness

Are You Sure This Is Veggie?


In fact, we tried to return for breakfast the next morning but they didn’t open until we had to be getting ready for our presentation. Big Bummer. I had my eyes on the mushroom frittata, it was not to be.

Famous suggested I try their ginger ale. I don’t want to be mellow dramatic but this stuff is worth a drive to C-bus all by itself. It reminds me a little of Blenheim’s which a doc student turned me onto. Hard to find in the area, Blenheim’s is essentially sweetened and carbonated water with…get this…ginger in it. Real, fragrant, spicy, forward ginger.

They make a regular, which I’ve had and a hot which I can’t really imagine. Northstar’s tastes like it starts the same way but they muddle lime and fresh mint leaves into the concoction which ameliorates some of the spice and makes the whole thing a heady brew making me sorry I live so far away. Man, I wish they opened a little early for breakfast.

Okay, Wow.




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