191 W. Nationwide Blvd.
Columbus, OH 43215
While it has a few locations all over the country, Ted’s Montana Grill was actually founded in Columbus. This restaurant specializes in, of all things, bison. So as you step into a cowboy themed restaurant, almost evoking an old western saloon, you’ll be greeted with an enormous buffalo head, heavy wooden bar, low-lit interior and almost smoky affect. So as you rustle up a menu, you can’t shake the feeling that you’re on the frontier, even in the locations that are in the middle of downtown. It’s a nice touch. For that, the food varies in quality.
The burgers are the heart of the menu, which otherwise include sandwiches, seafood, and a lot of finger foods in general. Some of the things to try:
- Red Rock Burger: This burger is topped with Pepper jack, jalapeño, cilantro, onion straws and a secret and slightly spicy “Z-sauce.” Some of the burgers are better as beef patties, but this one is a notable and very wonderful must-eat as a bison patty, because the leaner meat really works well with the cheese and onion straws and otherwise it’s going to come off a bit greasy.
- Pecan encrusted trout: Less encrusted and more almost breaded. The trout inside this dish is pretty good, but the crust comes off a little bit oily and you’re probably better off taking out the skin on one side to preserve a bit of it. Though, it comes with a really nice kale salad on the side that balances out the texture and prevents you from feeling too heavy at the end of the meal.
- Pickles: These come automatically as an appetizer, and I highly suggest you take a small bite of one to start. They’re briney and crunchy, and very salty. Just make sure you don’t regret that bite.
Sure enough for a restaurant chain that was founded by a bison rancher, this one has a feel inside like an old saloon – even for those locations that are decidedly in modern settings, like downtown Columbus. The bar feel dark, dank and comfortable, and the food might be a bit higher than normal.
The restaurant is finding itself in an evolving dining world, and that requires some transformation, and so some of the practices and feel of the place can feel a little dated. Which is a shame. But there are still a lot of great things to try here. And try you should.
- The burgers have options for beef and bison patties. The difference is generally that bison is leaner and maybe slightly gamier. But in those burgers with lots of cheese or toppings, bison is worth the extra buck or two.
- The bar food is pretty heavy but if you don’t like burgers, the seafood here is also pretty good and lighter.
- Maybe during lunch hours plan to come in off-peak times as the restaurants can get pretty busy.
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