When I ask those in the know where to get good Italian in Columbus, an answer that inevitably comes up time and time again is Basi Italia. Unbelievably though, although it’s been on my radar for ages, I never got around to eating there until a couple of days ago. Part of that is because it’s hidden away in a part of Victorian Village that I don’t normally travel. It’s that sort of blink and you’ll miss it place that you have to know about to notice, and it’s not the type of place you’ll stumble upon going about your day. I can imagine it is wildly popular with neighborhood folks, because it looks right at home among the quaint houses in that area.
We’ve heard lots of things about their beautiful patio, and when we had an unseasonably cool day recently, we decided to stop for lunch and experience it firsthand. Although it was well after the normal lunch rush, they still had a good crowd there, and not one person was sitting inside – it seems as everybody had the same desire to eat al fresco that we did. Although not a huge patio, it’s laid out well, and can fit more people out there than one would think at first glance.
Their lunch menu isn’t huge, but there are plenty of options to choose from. For a starter, I went with one of their specials, a watermelon-goat cheese salad ($5) that was served with some well-dressed arugula and a nice drizzle of balsamic vinegar. The watermelon they chose was at the height of sweetness and juicyness, and the red chile flake marinade it had soaked in lent a bite to the finished dish that was unexpected. The whole dish was extremely well balanced, and super light and refreshing.
My husband chose a Baby Wedge Salad ($5) as his starter, which was essentially an entire cored & cleaned head of baby crisp lettuce on a plate with perfectly cooked bacon, red onion, grape tomatoes, gorgonzola cheese and a really creamy Green Goddess dressing. While it was a bit messy to eat, my husband found it to be extremely filling – almost a lunch unto itself, and a great value. He stated he’d go back for this alone.
The Pasta Pomodoro ($9) that my husband chose as his main was a simple dish, but prepared to perfection. The serving size was just right, and it was cooked to the perfect level of al dente. The simple tomato sauce wasn’t overly fussy, and the shaved Parmesan cheese it was served with helped bring out the sweetness and acidity of the tomatoes. It just goes to show that a dish need not be complex to be good.
The lump crab and sweet corn risotto ($12) that I ordered as my entree was among the best I’ve had in town. Once again, the risotto was prepared with a skilled hand, and all the flavors worked together wonderfully – the inherent sweetness of the crab and the corn and caramelized onions, the textural contrast and crunch of the sunflower spouts on top. The serving size was quite ample, and just the right amount to fill me up completely.
Service was super-friendly and on the ball. Our server was more than happy to answer the numerous questions we had on various components of the dishes and preparation methods without batting an eye. And since we went in mid-afternoon, on street parking on Hubbard was a breeze. We can’t wait to return!
If you’d like to go: Basi Italia, 811 Highland St, Columbus, OH 43215, 614-294-7383
More reviews by swampkitty can be found online at ColumbusFoodie.com.