Short Ribs and Shrimp at Hubbard Grille
793 N. High St., Short North
One bite of the oozy, warm and cheesy coarse-grained white grits from this Short North newbie made me want to shrink down to miniature size and dive into the pretty plate.
And not only are the decadent, beefy-rich short ribs ($12) long on flavor, but they're so tender they'll melt in your mouth as sure as they'll melt away the winter's chill. If the seared shrimp seem overwhelmed by all this, drag 'em through the buttery pool of bright tomato jus - its spicy bite will bring them fully alive.
Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes at Third & Hollywood
1433 W. Third Ave., Grandview
Meatloaf and elegant are rarely used together in the same sentence. But there, I just did it. And it's all because of Third and Hollywood's glamorized take on meatloaf ($19). Though it arrives hulking in size, it receives cheffy complexity from tinily diced vegetables like carrot, onion, celery and mushroom. What's more, it's handsomely crusted on top and phenomenally moist underneath. In fact, I dare you to find one moister.
On the side is a mound of face-embracing mashed potatoes. Both creamy and lumpy, their restrained starchy load is smartly lightened by the incorporation of sauteed-to-soft-and-sweet cabbage bits. You also get a crazy great salty, sweet and cheesy cheddar biscuit flecked with scallions for leavening high notes. And sure, you don't need the thick, deep-tasting mushroomy gravy, but eat it anyway, because this is a wine-worthy splurge of an elegant meatloaf supper.