Surly Girl Saloon
 Columbus, Ohio        Date of Visit  07/13/12    

Jen, our C-bus travel agent for the weekend and resident rock star sent us the link to Surly Girl in the Short North section of the city as an option. After a perusal of the website it was definitely on the list. The space itself is a perfect match for the website, frenetic, homey and dark. The interior of the restaurant makes me think someone went to culinary school and sometime around their third cycle of classes discovered they could tell fortunes and in a classic approach/approach conflict couldn’t decide which to pursue. The answer was apparently both.



Frito Pie. If The Whole Things Was Covered Like This....

Numerous chandeliers barely fight back the shadows while the artwork on the walls devolve from portraits to skeletons depending on the angle. What could they possibly serve here? It probably sounds dangerous like pig innards salad or True Blood. Nope. They serve comfort food.

The host was working his tail off which wasn’t as true of our server although he did get a hand from another staffer who essentially took over for the rest of our stay. We started with the frito pie and then shared bites of cajun meatloaf, chicken and biscuits, and the spicy peanut butter and banana sandwich.

The frito pie was pretty good, just a lot less messy than I had imagined. A bed of Fritos is topped with chili (we did the carnivorous version) and finished with sour cream, cheddar, Monterey jack and green onion. While I prefer sloppy messes, and found this a bit corn chip over laden comparatively, the chili had a nice balance and I have always been a fan of Fritos and chili, or sloppy joe, or any other meat/tomato concoction.

The Cajun Loaf Of Meat Was Less Well Received

May Not Look Appetizing But Tasted Great. Surly Girl In A Bowl.

The cajun meatloaf wasn’t particularly popular around the table, I didn’t mind it much but it certainly paled in comparison with the other two dishes. What they mean by Cajun is slices of meatloaf that are dusted with blackening spice and then seared. It wasn’t bad, the roasted poblano pepper mash and red pepper aioli were also fairly good but the dish didn’t fare well with Jen or Steph.

The creamed chicken over biscuits was much better with chicken, peas, carrots, celery, roasted corn and onions in a cream sauce ladled over a scoop of poblano mashers and a pair of warm and toasty buttermilk biscuits. The biscuits and potatoes were blanketed with a thick and rich layer of serious comfort in which the chicken and veggies melded into a really familiar and lightly twisted but ultimately satisfying bowl.

My favorite was the sandwich. As good as the chicken it was also playful and somewhat wonky. Imagine, if you will, toasted wheat bread with peanut butter. So far so boring but the peanut butter is house-made with honey and enough cayenne spice to make it’s delivery to children nearly worthy of abuse charges. Add to that an homage to The King with sliced bananas and you have a pb to remember. But we’re still not done. It is served with a side of big clunky marshmallows and the same carton of chocolate milk you used to get with a graham cracker and nap in kindergarten.


Now This Is Just Fun...

...And Packs A Serious Punch To Boot.


The Surly Girl Saloon has the one two punch of fun and really tasty comfort food with a dark and angry twist while keeping most everything delicious. A little boost in service all the way around would be nice but over all this place is quite the destination. One I would certainly do again…there is a lot on the menu that recommends a return for further exploration.




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