Restaurant Review: Pat and Gracie’s Downtown Edition
Pat and Gracie’s was originally named for colorful characters in the history of Graceland, the shopping center that houses its first location. But now Pat and Gracie have gone wandering, setting up another restaurant Downtown in the digs formerly known as Lomonico’s. The new spot is every bit as appropriate for the operation as Graceland is: according to the legend, Downtown Columbus is where Pat and Gracie met.
In essence, the namesake operation has brought a familiar menu and feel to the couple’s old stomping grounds. Well, “stomping” might not be the right verb, as Gracie’s Downtown occupation was brothel-operator.
The decor is traditional but handsome, with dark wood, sharp lines, and distinct shininess to it, accentuated with a lot of natural light. The menu, too, is traditional: lots of burgers, salads and sandwiches. Going with that in mind, you won’t be disappointed.
The famous house-made tater tots are available on the Downtown menu. As they were previously assessed in Graceland as good for one novelty try, Mozzarella Sticks ($8.99) seemed like the better choice for an appetizer on this go-around. Granted, mozzarella sticks are every bit as familiar and common in Columbus as tater tots, but, just like the P&G tater tots, the P&G sticks are also house-made from scratch. House-made counts for something, and in this case, it’s a noticeably fresh and dewy accent on the melty cheese tucked inside its crackling, crunchy coat. Served with marinara, the sticks are heavy, but no one orders cheese sticks and expects something light.
No, light might be expected from a salad, though. Served in ginormous shiny bowls, the Spinach Salad ($8.99) with salmon ($4) is a winner. The kitchen hits the sweet spot in salmon prep that leaves the flesh velvety with a super-savory grilled finish. Teamed with heaps of baby spinach, egg, bacon, and a little tomato, the combo is just perfect (if not particularly “light”).
Burgers and sandwiches comprise a big part of the menu. The Bacon Cheese Burger ($10.79) is solid, highlighted by its criss-cross of crisp bacon and buttery grilled bun. For something new, there is the house Spicy Chicken Sandwich ($8.99 pictured up top). In fact, it’s actually marked as “new” on the menu. The sandwich is built around a hand-breaded hunk of chicken that’s tucked inside a bun with cheese and a zingy “jalapeño sauce” that’s thick like guac and provides an attention-getting, thoroughly addictive kick. That sauce makes a regular (but well-executed) chicken sandwich something more interesting.
The Lobster Mac and Cheese special was astonishingly well executed and well-priced (around $9). You won’t want for lobster, as sizable clots of it float throughout the creamy noodles. You won’t want for savory cheese sauce either. There’s enough to make a discreet puddle beneath the pasta. In a world where mac and cheeses are often mostly cheap pasta with token elements of good stuff, Pat and Gracie knocked it out of the park on this one.
Rounding out the visit, the joint’s equipped with plenty of televisions and a bar that boasts an especially solid selection of craft and local beer to wash it all down. You’ll find it at 340 E. Gay St.
Editor’s note: the Lobster Mac and Cheese is the Friday special and was unable to be photographed.
For more information, visit patandgracies.com.