Restaurant Review: Torpedo Room
The wallet heist at the movie concession stand is an inevitability. You can go to all the cheapie matinee showings you want, the price for a little bag of popcorn and a coke will still be ten bucks.
So it’s nice to find that, inside the glitzy Gateway Film Center, the in-house restaurant is on the affordable side. And it’s interesting in its own right.
The Torpedo Room is a newish project from the Columbus Food League. Like the rest of the company projects, the menu and decor have their own little flair. This particular installation has a Steam Punk Submarine Cafeteria thing happening, so there’s a wall display of porthole windows that frame old school sea monsters, along with utilitarian chairs and tables.
The menu is one page, packed front to back. Every teeny centimeter on that page lists a menu option, so be ready to do some squinty reading.
So, unleash the torpedoes. There’s a nice Veggie Sub (or torpedo, $7) that’s built on hummus, charred poblanos, avocado and serious mustard. While the hummus-slash-avocado combination might sound unseemly, it works and the luxuriousness of the avocado makes this veggie sandwich one to hit again and again.
Alternately, there are sandwiches. The Turkey Club ($8) overflows with layers of good-quality deli turkey, sliced thin and piled high. It’s teamed with more avocado, bacon, lettuce, tomato and served on a thick soft bread.
There is also Mac and Cheese ($7), and yes it is very similar to Betty’s, with the discreet addition of poblano peppers and red onion. It’s probably safe to stop fretting about the short-term demise of the Short North location (or un-demise, as it turns out).
The Torpedo Room is at its best, however, when it pulls brussel sprouts into the mix. It does this on more than one occasion, but since the sprouts are both trendy and delicious, it feels like a net win.
Take, for example, the Laurel Valley Lovely Salad ($8.50): it’s a combo of romaine, “frizzled” sprouts (which means they’re little, caramelized, seasoned slices), shreds of ham, giant white icebergs of cheese curds, tomatoes, and a vinagrette to tie the glorious mess all together. It’s like a “kitchen sink” creation -where a whole of bunch of elements dance around together in a mix that really works.
Or better yet: you can score a Brussel Sprouts Pizza ($9). It’s actually called a “flatbread”. The pie has a a nice square shape, and is smothered, edge-to-edge with the aforementioned sprouts, ham, melty gouda and mozzarella. Ham and the briny caramelized sprouts are a dream team when tied together in a dewy blanket of cheese.
Or there is a more ordinary Pepperoni Pizza ($8), for those with less adventure in their hearts. Still square, still edge to edge, with lush supply of both pepperoni and cheese. It’s a traditional pizza that would make just about anyone pretty happy.
And if popcorn is a must-have for a pre-movie experience, the kitchen serves cheesy popcorn with all the sandwiches. It’s “cheesy” in the food-adjective sense, not in the “corny” sense (which muddles the explanation by being a food adjective). Plus, there’s a bonus perk: five local beers on draft, and a non-alcoholic ginger beer.
The Torpedo Room can be found at 1550 N. High Street, inside the Gateway Theater. It’s open for lunch and dinner Mondays through Fridays, and dinner-only on weekends.
For more information, visit www.torpedo-room.com.
Photos by Walker Evans.