Restaurant Review: The Old Spot
The Old Spot in Grandview isn’t actually old yet. It’s a newbie to the neighborhood. The Old Spot introduced itself as a project that merges the sensibilities of two well-loved, well-established local culinary influences: Butcher & Grocer and the La Tavola team. The former is a nearby butcher (as the name suggests) with a distinct commitment to offerings from smaller Ohio farms. As for La Tavola, it’s a perennially top-ranked restaurant for its take on Italian eats. The La Tavola team is also behind other culinary projects such as Lupo and the now-defunct Knead. The resulting Old Spot is a comfortable place, easy to linger, and equipped with a serving team that is at once personable and professional without being overbearing.
There’s an appetizer section that includes a fairly traditional starting point: wings. While wings are common offerings, the name and description might suggest something a little off-the-beaten-path: Piri Piri Wings ($8). The piri piri element is a reference to a hot pepper used in African and Portuguese cooking. An order yields wings that, though modestly sized, are meaty end-to-end. The poultry is infused with a robust flavor that comes from a piri piri rub and a smoking process that leaves it with a distinctly savory accent. As for its crisped skin, it’s not terribly hot or especially exotic tasting, but does offer a likable warmth with a sweetness supplied by a honey glaze that pools beneath the collection of wings.
The Fried Fingerlings ($11) actually make a more interesting start. An order delivers fryer-crisp, seasoned fingerling potatoes, topped with a sauce made with a mature cheddar that delivers a sharp punch, one that is too often missing in the local restaurant cheese-scene. Bedecked with neatly minced rectangles of salty bacon, plus a soothing sour cream and dill. Every flavor and texture contributes to a heavy, heady masterpiece.
For more formal eating, the Cuban-OH ($14) is another menu fixture. Built on thick-sliced, grilled pagnotta bread, it holds a straightforward combo: pulled pork, ham, swiss cheese, pickle slices and a mustard, dense with seeds that pop in the mouth. It’s a thoroughly solid rendition of the classic sandwich. The fat on the ham can be more chewy than velvety; that’s a textural detractor. But a couple of odd bites don’t destroy the whole dish.
The Thai Noodle Bowl ($15) feels pricey, even as the noodles are well-populated with goodies such as carrot shards, snap peas and strands of broccolini. The elements are unified with a zippy sauce that offers enough heft to make it filling.
Better yet, skip those vegetables and go straight for dessert. The Old Spot hosts an opportunity to eat an Oatmeal Creme Pie with zero shame. Truth: The Old Spot’s version is no ordinary oatmeal creme pie. First, because it’s $6. Granted, you can buy a lot of Little Debbie oatmeal creme pies for six bucks. But the cookies themselves at The Old Spot have a vastly more appealing texture, depth and flat-out freshness. A duo is wed together with a layer of sugary, sweet creme filling in the middle. Because the budget is already blown, go ahead and put the house gelato on top ($3). It features a smooth and creamy base, amped up with bonus chunks of chips and nuts to complement and call back to the cookie’s texture.
As for the drinking scene, it’s robust. You’ll find a beer menu with everything from Rhinegeist to Budweiser. Feeling fancy? There’s also French wine and hard house cocktails like the The King ($10) made with rhubarb liqueur, tequila and mezcal (yes, both).
You’ll find The Old Spot in Grandview at 1099 W. First St.
For more information, visit theoldspot.com.
All photos by Susan Post