Review: De Novo on the Park
De Novo on the Park had a long history not on the park (Columbus Commons), but near the park on High Street. It moved its digs across High to a lovely spot that overlooks the green space. The new space is huge — almost cavernous, but the restaurant itself is too open and windowed to compare it to a cavern. In fact, elevated above the park, the dining view lets you be queen (or king) of all you survey, all the little people making their way across the Commons. It’s good to be queen (or king).
As is part and parcel of the design signature of its proprietor, De Novo on the park bathes in a twisted luxury of stylishness. There are chandeliers with extra stuff dangling off of them. There are brushed metallic paint accents throughout. And an occasional piece of skull art in the glam style of Alexander McQueen.
The original purpose of the visit was to get the $10 Brussels Sprouts. Brussels sprouts are trendy and all, but it was unclear what exactly could make the cruciferous veggie appetizer worth ten bucks.
After ordering the dish, it’s now apparent that De Novo’s sprouts are indeed worth ten dollars, from both a quantity and a quality perspective. They arrive on a giant rectangular serving platter. If you wanted to make it a $10 brussels sprouts lunch, you would walk away stuffed. Truly, though: no one should attempt to go it alone. That much of anything cannot possibly be good for you. Wise consumption patterns would probably require more than two people for the appetizer. Maybe three or four. It’s a lot of sprouts.
But, then again, they are delicious. Someone in the De Novo kitchen has figured out how to impart them with the same addictive qualities of french fries or potato chips. The sprouts’ leaves are charred crisp and coated in savory flavor with shreds of parmesan and crunchy toasted almonds. You know the classic hot artichoke/spinach dip? It takes that flavor and encrusts it on brussels sprouts. Dangerous.
Of course, there are other things on the menu. Short Rib Sliders ($12) are a respectable appetizer. A trio arrives on a platter, soft meat teamed with a coarse slaw on a poofy bun. The slaw has tangy apple accents and acts as the main agent of flavor, as the meat is basically milquetoast mild. No complaints.
For more formal eating, there is the house Kobe Chorizo Burger ($15 — pictured at the top). You can’t particularly discern the chorizo part as its primary contribution to the burger seems to be a pleasant savory accent teamed with cheddar. A rounded pretzel bun, a slab of crunchy lettuce, and a slice of tomato finish the combo. Its companion truffle fries upstage it, with crisp corners and flakes of salt that stick to the sides.
Or, for more luxurious dining, there is the Lobster Mac and Cheese ($29). It’s an appropriately rich version, made with white cheddar and parmesan on cavatapi. The lobster makes a sweet and tender foil, but you’ll be left wanting more for balance.
Online comments suggest that service has been uneven during rush times, but service was lovely during this visit. De Novo has elephantine happy hours posted that extend weekdays from 2 to 7 p.m., and includes specials on wine, liquor and beer, including Ohio options such as Great Lakes out of Cleveland. You can find it (on the park) at 150 S. High St.
For more information, visit www.denovobistro.com.