Windward Passage Columbus Ohio A Trip Back In Time.
Vintage 1970's family seafood restaurant that has not changed in 40 years. Its located in a strip mall at 4739 Reed Rd Columbus, OH 43220. Opened in 1973. Its at the end of a strip mall and looks very generic from the outside. If you were unaware of its existence you I am sure you would drive right by. However when you walk in the front door be prepared to Enter The Twilight Zone. Time stopped here in the 70's and the original patrons are still inside. The average age of patrons I am guessing is 70 years old. Upon entering it will take a minute for your eyes to adjust as the place is dark. No windows and the walls are old dark knotty pine and adorned with nautical stuff including brass port holes, nets, lobster traps, and a bridge engine order telegraph. To the right is an elevated bar area and the bartender is in the center. Booths surround the bar and small round tables to seat two and four are scattered about. The bar area is seat yourself and to me is the best place to watch the action. Just about everyone knows everyone but you will not be made to feel as an outsider. A happy hour food area is located on the back wall. There is no rhyme or reason to the free happy hour food as I have seen everything from sliced sausage links, chicken wings, shrimp, to strange egg rolls. Old Money Upper Arlington Ohio is the common patron with large four door Cadillac's and other large land Yachts adorn the parking lot. After all it is mostly a seafood place.
To the left of the entrance is the dining room. While it is better lit its still pretty dark and candles are on all tables. The staff is exactly what one would expect. Top notch and very friendly. The place is also very busy. Don't even attempt trying to go here on a Friday or Saturday and not expect to wait. Even by 5 o'clock its packed as the elderly patrons tend to start early. This includes the bar area as well. Go on a Tuesday or Wednesday about 6 and you will be able to imagine what its like on the weekend. If you like to watch and listen to people this place is as good as it gets.
The food is mostly seafood but steaks are on the menu which are cut to order. They are also much larger than stated. The butcher in the back has no concept of actual size. The seafood hits just about every style with raw oysters, crab legs, mussels, soft shell crab, and the fish can be cooked three ways. For example the Walleye can be fried, sauteed or broiled. All the seafood is fresh unless stated by the server. Sometimes the Walleye is not fresh and they will tell you it was frozen ahead of time.
Side note: Steaks can be ordered Pittsburgh Style. Here is the Wiki definition:
A Pittsburgh rare steak
is one that has been heated to a very high temperature very quickly, so it is charred on the outside but still rare or raw on the inside. The degree of rareness and the amount of charring on the outside may vary according to taste. The term 'Pittsburgh rare' is used in some parts of the American midwest and eastern seaboard, but similar methods of sear cooking are known by different terms elsewhere, including Chicago-style rare
and, in Pittsburgh itself, black and blue
. Ask your server when ordering.
The prices on the menu are way below what you would think and I have never had a bad meal or service here.
Blue cheese dressing is as good as it gets.
Friday and Saturday you will find home made cinnamon rolls in the bread basket along with the bread. Why cinnamon rolls? Who cares there are good and I try to save them until the end. But I rarely do.
Homemade Waldorf Salad......That's right I said Waldorf Salad and it is excellent.
Wine is way below market prices and the list is pretty good.
Drinks are old school and feel free to order a Martini, Manhattan, Long Island Iced Tea or a Rob Roy. Cheap prices and no short cuts. No watered down BS.
Finally if you are older and thought all these places are gone this one remains and is standing strong. There commitment to the way things should be are the mainstay here. If you are younger and wonder what things were like back in the day that your parents and grand parents told you about you can experience it first hand.
If you are in the Columbus area shame on you if you don't make this a stop....Russ
post edited by Russ Jackson - 2013/08/07 09:18:07