Restaurant Review: Chapman’s Eat Market
Chapman’s Eat Market is a Columbus restaurant project that has bucked the prevailing trends and opened its doors in German Village during the pandemic. To that end, its plan from day one has been accommodating for differing customer perceptions of risk. For dine-in types, Chapman’s takes reservations for parties of up to four for an eight-course tasting menu. The offerings therein are highly seasonal, and change based on the intersections of availability and kitchen inspiration.
For the more risk-averse (and honestly, also for fellow control-freaks who like making menu choices), Chapman’s also has a robust carryout menu that is nobody’s consolation prize. That is to say, Chapman’s carryout operation is top shelf-stuff. It’s special enough that even the dine-in crew might find themselves a little jealous…
Case in point: Karaage Chicken Sandwich. It’s a worthy contender in the alway-popular fried chicken scene. Columbus has seen its share of Chicken and Waffles, and we’ve seen plenty of Nashville Hot and Korean Fried (remember Bon Chon?). Sure, each bird is a treasure in its own right. But the Karaage sandwich delivers tenaciously crunchy, juicy fried chicken inside a soft, toasty brioche that’s speckled with sesame seeds and fully stuffed with luxurious loops of pickled cabbage and slathered with the house version of ranch (more thoughtful than you ever knew ranch could be). The final product is gloriously messy, but…carryout doesn’t have to mean “eat in the car.”
There is also Chapman’s Double Burger. One wouldn’t typically expect a joint with an eight course tasting menu to offer up burgers, but the kitchen is clearly…bilingual? Ambidextrous? Multifaceted. Chapman’s does it right. Doing right by a classic burger means building it with the unfairly maligned American Cheese. Its brine is an unapologetically perfect pairing for the crisp-edged beef patties, then add a little more zing from pickle slices, onions, and some house chappie’s sauce to make it all merge together.
You want fries with that? The answer is ‘yes.’ You want the fries that the menu promises are fried in clarified butter and beef fat? Why? Because it gives the potato sticks a special heft; a primal appeal.
The discussion so far might lead one to conclude that the carryout options are all earthy items. That would be the wrong conclusion. While the menu is modestly sized, diners can score something more sophisticated on the lines of the house Lamb Shank Barbacoa. The velvety meat falls off the bone. It’s served over a chili chickpea puree (like hummus) and velvety rice with a spirited chutney atop composed of plump golden raisins and onions and herbs. Each component adds its own accent, but at the same time, they harmonize so nicely.
And for dessert? That would be a packed pint of ice cream, in flavors that include goat’s milk or sweet potatoes. The Banana White Chocolate is amped up with peanuts and butterscotch, making a perfectly likable merger of edge and comfort.
There are take-away beverages as well: wine by the bottle, beer, and cocktails with interesting names, none of which will supersede the Corpse Revitalizer (gin, absinthe, apricot liquor and lemon juice).
Hours are limited. Chapman’s Eat Market is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 5 – 9 p.m. It’s found at 739 S. Third St. in German Village, but you’ll start your order at their website, eatchapmans.com.
All photos by Susan Post