1386 Grandview Ave
Columbus, OH 43212
Of all the kind of restaurants that have filtered into the popular fast casual dining scene, Cajun food is one of the less popular and, I think, most under-appreciated, especially in northern cities like Columbus. In downtown, some enterprising establishments and brands have expanded here, but not all have lasted, and casualties include J. Gumbo’s, which is probably the most visible fast casual Cajun chain. So for this kind of food to take hold in the city, it’s going to take upstart brands and effective marketing strategy and a killer menu. Yat’s, opened along the prominent Grandview Avenue corridor, most definitely has promise in that regard.
Cajun Creole food share some commonalities. Dishes are often stews loaded with delicious spices and vegetables, and usually served with a lot of heat. What to try:
- Drunken Chicken: Probably the best known of the Cajun dishes on the menu here, it’s got a very slight heat but a thickness and a savory bite that’s just so charming. Recommended with one of the lighter veggie dishes to counterbalance that.
- Manque Choux: This Braised corn corn, bell pepper, and onion dish is a specialty that is only available sometimes. But the creaminess of the end result, almost sweet, is a wonderful counterbalance to a meat dish.
- Etouffe: This is a dish that can be either vegan or meat-based, with the uniting factor being that it’s served in a blond roux — velvety and hefty. The chorizo version is very easy to like, it’s a very rich dish and a little bit of rice beneath it will help mellow the flavor our a bit overall.
- Gumbo: A dark and thick roux with some smoky chicken and sausage with a bit of crawfish. Just smoky enough. Get some hot sauce on this one, they have a few options in stock.
- Vegan White Chili: Navy beans, onions, red peppers, jalapenos and tomatos fill out this hearty chili. You wouldn’t know its vegan by the huge bursts of flavor.
The people are great and the premise is very simple, you order at the counter and pick up food from a window at the kitchen. To top things off, there is a beer menu mainly headlined by local popular numbers to wash down the great food.
Price points here are very affordable, food comes fast and when it does, it’s delicious at that. The experience here is fantastic, and I think it brings a cuisine not well understood to a new place with class and suave. It takes a deft hand to really accomplish that, and I think Yats pulls that off while still being a lot of fun in the end. This spot is worth a try.
- This is an especially good menu if you love spicy food. The white chili is the hottest thing on the menu.
- The restaurant is pretty aggressive about posting the latest menu offerings on its Facebook page.
- Food is perfect to take and walk.