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Few Changes to Dispatch Top 20 Restaurants

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Twice a year, Jon Christensen compiles a list of the Top 20 Restaurants in Central Ohio for The Dispatch. His Spring 2009 list was released today, but it doesn’t look much different than the Fall 2008 list. BoMA gets dropped from the top 10 and replaced with Handke’s Cusine, while Doc Henderson’s is dropped from the bottom 10 and replaced with L’Antibes. Looking back at the Fall 2007 list, there’s only been a few changes since then as well.

If you could edit the Top 20 yourself, which restaurants would you add and remove from the list?

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  • I’d add G. Michael’s in there somewhere.

  • albug_cbus

    I’m always surprised Burgundy Room doesn’t make the list. I would add Barrio too! Not so sure about M being on there. Bad food and service last time I ate there, but maybe it was a fluke.

  • sjf

    Second the addition of G. Michael’s.  I might add Banana Bean, too.  I’ve only been to about 25% of the restaurants listed, so I’m not a good judge as to what should be taken off. 

  • Rockmastermike

    The fact that Alana’s is not on the list shows that this is in no way a definitive list.  Obviously one guy’s opinion.

  • Christensen won’t review or ever talk about Alana’s because of a personal dispute.  That, to me, is reason enough to fire the assclown.

  • Safe, unchanging, bordering on dull. Sure there are always going to be some of the same joints on there, but I find it hard to believe that none of the newcomers are able to knock a few culinary icons off the list.

  • albug_cbus

    I forgot about Alana’s, that definitely deserves to be on the list!

    Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Hunan Lion (the best wonton soup ever), but does really warrent Top 20 status over Alanas, G Micheals or Burgundy Room? Especially since this appears to be a list of “fine dining” establishments.

  • lizless

    Congrats to all the restaurants!

    I would love to see Alana’s on here too. And Basi Italia!

  • Totally agree on Alana’s and Basi! And G. Michaels used to be there consistently, but then suddenly dropped off w/o explanation.  I think he should have to defend why he drops certain restaurants off the list.

    My list would definitely include those three.

  • Rockmastermike

    he probably dropped it because he got into an argument with a cousin of a friend of the wife of the insurance agent of the guy who washes the chef’s car or something equally stupid.

    The problem is that a few people still take Jon seriously as a restaurant reviewer and that’s kind of sad.

  • Bear

    We’re better off not going there, I think, on the Alana’s story. Been rehashed elsewhere in these fora.

    Alana’s and Basi should definitely be there. I still haven’t made it to G. Michael’s… gotta do that soon.

    What would I add? A new byline, as long as the author can’t rise above petty grudges and recognize quality establishments.

  • Hmm – all restaurant Top Tens are subjective. Any restaurant on any given day can do better than normal or much worse. 

    That being said – If I was to shuffle the list.

    For the Disptach Top Ten – drop out Barcelona and DragonFly.  Both are fine places but they would be in my top 30. 

    Added in to the top ten – Alana’s, Basi, and G. Michaels

    For the Dispatch second 10..

    Drop out Hunan Lion, M and Luce.  I have not – yet – been to Z Cucina or Tucci’s so no opinion on those.

    The rest can stay – order is debatable.

    It is great that we live in a city where we can debate a top 20 and still have plenty of leftover restaurants that are really good. 

    I am adding a Top 10 Restaurants with Mojo that I can can hit on the go.

    Dirty Franks….soon
    Tip Top
    Surly Girl
    Bono togo (soon)
    The Rossi
    Los Potosinos taco truck

  • JackWells

    @ albug_cbus: your bad food and service at M was no fluke- that place has delivered consistently lousy service and food for some time now.  I will say, the service has definitely gone downhill more so than the food, but in both cases they are not what they were.  I believe that it is in no small part due to terrible management- during a recent visit there we aired our grievances to the manager (we had had enough at that point and were wondering what was going on), and he seemed to care even less than our disinterested server.  In no way should M be on any sort of “best restaurants” list.

  • sjf

    I’ve had good service and food the last two times I’ve eaten at M, with the last visit in December.  I hope things haven’t gone downhill or, if they have, they’ll correct the problem before we go again.

  • Wow, the M comments are disheartening because it is my favorite restaurant in Columbus.  I’ve only been there once but we had excellent service and the food brought tears to my eyes it was so good.  This was 2 years ago so I wonder if things have changed.  Also, its hard to rate a place on just one visit.  Take Handke’s for example.  We took my Mom there for mother’s day 2 years ago and the food was so salty she couldn’t even eat it, but I’ve heard nothing but good stuff from people so I’m def. up for trying it again.

  • CheeseFoodie

    Jon Christensen should’nt be allowed to review dog food. The fact that he ignores Alana’s and lists Hunan Lion (love the place, but really?) and Spagio’s dry, nasty food over Alana’s, Banana Bean, G Michaels, and even a place like El Areapazo shows his overall ignorance to the Columbus food scene! Ugh, why do I waste words on that moron!

  • JackWells

    @ surber- I wish it was just a one-off thing, but this decline at M has occurred over the past year to year and a half.  If you had asked me two years ago, M would have ranked among my favorites, but sadly that is no longer the case.  During a meal there in the fall a friend of mine, who is a scotch enthusiast, ordered his regular brand and they tried to sneak the cheap stuff past him.  Granted, maybe it was a mistake, but “nice restaurants” have been known to do this in the past (ref. Smith and Wollensky).  What a shame.

  • I totally agree on things like Banana Bean and El Arepazo. I think a best of list should include multiple categories, not just pricey. There are tons of great restaurants in Cbus from Mi Li to Danny’s Deli to a taco truck, as we’ve recently seen.  

    I haven’t done a best of list in awhile, but it’s probably time to take it up again.

  • As much as I criticize JC for not reviewing Alana’s, I can sort of understand – that being said, he should have someone else review them, since they are clearly in the top 10 restaurants in the city.

    There is at least one restaurant on that list I wouldn’t review *ahemdragonflyahem* because the owners have been so horrid to me at events, and to many of my fellow servers, that I don’t feel as though I could give an honest review.  However, I still send people there when looking for good vegetarian food, because I have had good meals there.

    I would welcome others to review the restaurant, though, and post on my site if people wanted to see thoughts.

  • Bear

    Thing that gets me, though, is that a Top 20 list is supposedly an annual thing.  Everything about the restaurant is up for review every year.  You try the food again, you evaluate the ambiance again, etc., etc.

    I wouldn’t have a problem with not reviewing a place because of the owners’ or chef’s ongoing horrible behavior… or with dropping it from the list one year for bad behavior in that year.  But my understanding is that JC has basically blackballed at least one restaurant on the list based on the customer’s account of something that happened many years ago and hasn’t bothered to give the restaurant the chance either to explain their side or to demonstrate a kinder, gentler side in subsequent years.  That’s just childish, and unprofessional — even if the customer’s account had been 100% accurate.

  • Enh, I’m pretty happy with the list.  Is it how mine would appear?  Of course not, but IMO the ones I’ve been to are all solid places worthy of a high ranking. 

    (I thought we weren’t going to rehash the Alana’s thing?)  Places are always going to be omitted.  Places you would consider your #1 in town might even be omitted – because stuff like this is heavily subjective.    The story (or at least the hearsay of one side of it I’ve heard here) is that he won’t review the place.  People are greatly offended by said lack of a review.   It’s not like he’s out there trashing the place or telling no one to go there – in the paper at least, I don’t know if he is in person or not – he’s just ignoring it.  If this is so offensive to you, then why not ignore him in response?

    Or, if it’s REALLY offensive to someone, has anyone complained to the Dispatch editors/head office about it?  If so, was there an official response?

  • no mexican food on the list, ……sigh

  • The taco trucks probably don’t count as a restaurant…

  • KSquared

    Tucci’s?  Seriously?   Wow, and no Alana’s or G. Michael’s.  Oh well, that’s why I get my food recommendations here and not the Dispatch.

  • The Wayfarer

    As others have said, I totally agree on G. Michael’s, Alana’s, and Basi.  Those are three of my favorites in the city.  I’ve done my birthday at G. Michael’s two years consecutively now.

  • Bear

    Actually, I wasn’t trying to rehash the Alana’s thing per se… mainly responding to Lisa’s post, trying to think through the principles of restaurant reviewing.  I actually don’t really object to the principle that she, or JC, used for disqualification, at one point in time, as long as it’s got a basis in fact.  My complaint was about the apparent, eternal ban, with no chance for redemption.

  • RandomVisitor

    Basi Italia, G Michaels and Hyde Park should be in the top twenty.

    I have tried Luce several times and haven’t had a good dish yet.

    Deep Wood does not impress me.

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