705 N High St.
Columbus, OH 43215
Cameron Mitchell has used the Short North as a testbed for many new restaurant concepts, and Del Mar Kitchen is one of his latest showings. Modeling itself off of a California-style oyster bar, the breeze floats through this place on summer nights, as the kitchen slings West Coast-style seafood. The key to the menu is going to be fresh ingredients – fruity cocktails, fish and veggie sides all need it.
The menu is overwhelmingly oriented to the fish lover, but there are plenty of options if you’re not in the mood for that. Some of the things I liked:
- Oysters: The market dictates what kind of oysters are on the menu here, but the options range from denser, saltier little guys to morsels as big as your thumb. Just needs a little sauce.
- Salmon poke: Fresh, saw salmon marinated in a little vinegar with some bites of avocado and pineapple and some tostadas and nori chips.
- Swordfish: One of the milder cuts of fish, this meaty fillet is good because it’s seared and served with similar mild flavors; in this case a sweet potato puree and a slightly acidic Brussels sprouts slaw.
- Lobster Roll: A real favorite here, a thick and chunky mix of lobster – with plenty of lobster, no worries! – on a thick bun with plenty of cole slaw. Good if you’ve got a bigger appetite for sure.
- Brick Chicken: Roasted chicken with a slightly sweet sauce and served atop a bed of roasted and steamed veggies. Very homey.
- Turkey Burger: Not everything has to be seafood here. A light hand on the seasoning here.
- Fishermen’s Stew: A mix of lobster, prawns, mussels, clams and scallops steamed or boiled and served with a side of tomatoes, potatoes and a few others. Maybe my least favorite dish, this one could use a more complex set of seasoning or something more.
The cocktail menu shouldn’t be ignored either:
- Tropicalia: Ketel One Vodka, Citrus, Mint, Avocado. This cocktail has more of a simple citrus flavor and a bit of heft. Nice!
- Smokey the Bear: Herradura Silver Tequila and Mezcal with some peppers and vanilla. Sweet and simple, with the hint of smokiness really the main act.
The bar has got the feel that really rocks. The outdoor feeling, the simple ingredients, the ambiance is really wonderful! And in this case, I think that’s what’s really needed here, especially because there are a number of other seafood restaurants around this one, so the competition is pretty tough. Service is speedy and attentive, and prices tend to be a little higher but the quality backs it up.
This bar, I predict, has some staying power, because it really does feel different that many of the other options in this neighborhood. This one is a special kind of experience, and a worthy one.
- The crowds here are pretty big, a reservation is a must.
- There are plenty of non-seafood options if that’s what you’re in the mood for.
- Get a few cocktails. They’re more interesting than the wine and are just as well-tailored to the menu.