Matt the Miller’s Tavern

1400 Grandview Ave., Columbus, OH (614) 754-1026

 
WHAT:
What a place for everyone is what we found this tavern to be. The bar scene reveals a youthful throng of gussied ladies and polished men, all converging at this concourse of a brewpub. Among them in the restaurant can be found an eclectic mix of families, elderly couples and anything you can think of in between – 2-toppers, 5-toppers, 10-toppers and more – they’re all around. Matt the Miller’s is a cozy, comfortable spot that all can relate to – with a neighborhood vibe and a familiar, yet polished menu.

WHO:
Matt the Miller’s is owned and operated by a group of gentleman, all who draw their inspiration from Matt’s the Miller’s in Ireland, where pub-going and beer-drinking are a way of life. The idea behind Matt the Miller’s – Grandview was to take that comfortable and fun atmosphere and “Americanize” it – “tavernize” it and make it more about the great food. The names behind Matt’s include: Craig Barnum, owner and president of CLB, which also operates the Dublin Matt’s and Tucci’s California Bistro. Rob Hoersdig serves as vice president and director of operations; and Rob Pearson, general manager.

WHEN:
Matt’s is open seven days a week, beginning at 11 a.m., except on Sundays, when it opens at 10 a.m. for brunch. Closing kitchen/bar times vary: Monday and Tuesday: 10 p.m./11 p.m.; Wednesday – Saturday: midnight/1 p.m.; Sunday: 9 p.m./10 p.m.
WHERE:
This tavern can be found anchored in the heart of Grandview between 5th and 3rd Avenue. Though a black behemoth of a building, we tripped to find the main entrance due to the tinted glass. Compliments of Matt, he’ll valet your car through weekday hours. Check ahead.

THE TEST:
A “flight” of crafted beers found a home at our table right as we plowed into a plate of gleaming Bavarian Pretzel Bites, hefty chunks served warm and dusted with sea salt. These bronzed beauties came doughy and delightful – perfect for dunking into the roasted garlic and mustard sauce that came with them. We first guzzled some sparkling Piraat Belgian Gold Ale to wash them down. Next in the lineup was universally appealing housemade flatbread, here rolled out fresh each morning and creatively fashioned with distinctive ingredients. The Ahi Tuna Flatbread arrived perfectly pink and poised atop a wasabi-and-soy-tossed Asian slaw. The crispy, green vegetables in the blend tasted earthy fresh, as if they were newly plucked from the garden. A chewy Columbus Brewing Company IPA goes quite nicely with this plate.

The Pear and Gorgonzola Flatbread showcased one more point of originality. Creamy gorgonzola mousse smears the bread before roasted Asian pears and mixed baby greens are scattered on top. Effervescent fried tarragon slivers complete the look and add an interesting contrast to all of these flavors. Want some more beer? Try this plate with the crispy-clean Northcoast German-style Pilsner.

Boasting a bowl not likely to be found anywhere near here, with the Shrimp and Grits, Executive Chef Brian McCafferty makes due on that promise. Sizzling sautéed shrimp and spicy Tasso ham cubes taste stunningly good with the white corn and cheddar grit cakes. Creamy Cajun sauce adds another element of zest and leaves you with a taste you’ll want to come back for.

Our dinner conversation turned to what else – beer – while we took a breather. Our server mentioned Chimay can be found among the beer selctions – at $8 a glass, a deal we couldn’t pass up. This renowned Belgian blend eventually became the emptiest of all of our beer samples. Another noteworthy brew, and one we haven’t tried before, was the Kentucky Bourbon, a beer so interesting tasting like – melted bourbon on ice.
Pasta plates soon made their arrival, both lusciously flavorful with their own unique blend of sauces. The Diver Scallop Farfalle was the more robust of the two, combining seared jumbo scallops and edamame in a garlicky-creamy rich Parmesan-lemon sauce. For a lighter Pompodoro-tasting side, spoon up some of the Shrimp and Angel Hair, sautéed with mixed vegetables, and to our surprise, beautiful baby artichoke globes.

That saucy spread aside, we marveled at our ultimate feast – Filet Oscar – medium rare. Our 8-ounce filet steak came touted as “prime,” a quality designation given to only 2 percent of all cuts of beef in the U.S. The topper? Meaty clumps of lumpy crab in a light lemon-cream sauce – creating a real showstopper of a plate. Lest we lose our heads recalling this juicy-sweet piece of beef, we should mention that the accompanying roasted potatoes and perfectly cooked
asparagus were good, too.

And should dessert be a must – and with us it always is – we would suggest the Warm Banana Bread Pudding. Artisan breads make up this colossal ending, served gooey on whipped and vanilla ice cream. This dessert, along with the layered, frozen Oreo Cookie Explosion we had, would travel well if you ultimately had to take it home.

First Impressions:
There’s an unmistakable hustle and bustle here. Though super busy when we visited, we didn’t see one server rushing or breaking a sweat. And we found remarkable the fact that though the bar area is crazy noisy, it doesn’t transcend into the restaurant space. We found the décor comfortable and pub-like, with soft leathery booths, dark woodwork all around, and faux tin-foiled tray ceilings.