114 N 3rd St.
Columbus, OH 43215
The quiet, contemporary little restaurant set up a few blocks north of Capitol Square in downtown Columbus has avoided a lot of noise, but Rishi has a special place in this city as one of few sit-down Japanese restaurants to thrive for a long time in fast-changing downtown Columbus. The menu has lots of lunch specials to bring people out and yet it’s frequently one of the most quiet and comfortable kind of stops. Wonderful smells of curry and spices waft up Third Street from here. It’s a lucky spot for a good meal without a crowd.
Sushi dominates the menu here but Japanese noodles, curries and other foods abound too. Some of the things worth a try:
- Bento boxes: Always easy to pick for a lunch because they let you try four or five things at once! Teriyakis are a favorite, but I’m very partial to bulgogi, that nice Korean-inspired sauce hits the spot.
- Sushi: Fresh fish make the difference in a good sushi roll, you can’t hide older ingredients by drowning them in sauce. A simple futomaki roll was a good test of this.
- Ramen: People love this dish more and more these days, this version is packed with veggies and thick noodles and of course a soft boiled egg. I found the broth just a bit salty, but that also tends to be a reason people are drawn to ramen in the first place.
- Pad Thai: A favorite noodle dish of course, this version has ample peanuts and has a warmth to it without being too oily. Lime will help, but there are a lot of flavors at play here and it tends to get crowded out. Maybe best if you get this one with a mild meat.
The atmosphere of this oblong-shaped restaurant is very relaxed; as close to downtown as it is, you actually don’t find it to be too crazy during most lunch hours, though it’s certainly routinely full. Because the restaurant is a bit smaller, it’s naturally more of a comfortable and intimate setting, so I would recommend it as a place to take a group of friends or a business contact. The food comes relatively quickly, even when you’re trying something delicate, like sushi. And the price points are average for downtown.
Columbus has a huge number of Asian restaurants in the suburbs but there are fewer such places in downtown, and that’s a shame. So this one is a unique option off Capitol Square, and it avoids the crowds, too. Make a point to give it a try.
- Good for lunch hours, especially if you’re ordering a bento box or some sushi, because these are faster.
- Recommended for a small group of people because of its size.
- There is a good cocktail and wine menu too.