906 N. High St.
Columbus, OH 43201
Acclaimed Cleveland chef Jonathon Sawyer took a crack at Columbus and its hot Short North neighborhood with the launch of his SeeSaw concept this year. On the outset, it seems like the restaurant is trying to do a lot; the ground floor is an upscale American kind of gastropub while the upstairs feels more like a lively club. Nonetheless, the food in this bar is the centerpiece for the concept. It’s definitely an unusual concept that’s being married together – an urban gastropub and a kind of sports-centric feel topped with a clubby vibe.
The menu is kind of a collection of small plates, mostly out of the wood-fired oven. Some of the things I tried:
- Crispy Brussels Sprouts: A little smokey from that oven and topped with maple aioli and mint for a little sweetness. This one is a good shareable.
- Wood Fired Cauliflower: Always good to see sturdy cauliflower grilled well. In this case it’s topped with hot giardinera and a bit of granola, actually, to moderate. This one isn’t too bad, probably better if it’s more of a side dish than an app.
- Serious Fried Chicken: Boneless chicken patties coated with a house hot sauce and ranch. This one is kind of messy, and also the lack of any kind of grain or anything is a strange choice, as is serving it on a cutting board. Kind of like two chicken patties with giant flecks of crunch that spill everywhere.
- Ohio Grass Fed Burger Deluxe: Simplicity. A third-pound patty with a sharp cheddar, onions and a savory “secret sauce” with pickles on the side. The burger could use some of the traditional additions – the sauce is good, but beyond that the flavors are pretty simple.
- Old Fashioned: The classic. Best, as always, with Maker’s Mark.
The downstairs has a distinctly gastropub kind of feel, which is to say, a modern design with a lot of close-in tables, a green wall behind the bar but still a ton of televisions for entertainment. Then upstairs is intended more as a social space. In theory it seems to bring in a broader appeal, the younger crowd lines up outside later in the evening.
But this makes for a strange combination. You can watch the games at the bar but this isn’t really a sports bar. The music and noise upstairs wafts to the ground level and it’s not really easy to hear the rest of your table, so I guess it’s more a group gathering place than a date spot? But the downstairs crowd and the upstairs crowd doesn’t really seem to be mingling. Two weekend visits produced the same feeling where a few things are working in parallel in this space, but not really in tandem.
It’s a nice space and the food is all right, but I struggle with the kind of occasion that would bring me back.
- When the weather’s nice and the doors are open, really a nice noise level then.
- Reservations strongly recommended.
- Better for cocktails than beer.