From the moment I first heard about Fireballs, the house specialty at Jed's Fireballs and Brew in Hilliard, I became obsessed with trying them.
The menu description alone is priceless. "To make a Fireball, we start with the most delicious part of a chicken, technically known as the Tender. We then lightly bread them with our highly classified, top-secret coating. Then we flash fry them at just the perfect temperature."
To translate, these balls are basically a cross between boneless Buffalo wings and chicken tenders. And they're kind of delicious.
The Toledo-based Jed's chain has just one Central Ohio location. It has a sports-bar feel, with low lights, lots of big-screen TVs and a few awesomely odd murals painted on the walls (one combines musical greats John Lennon and Johnny Cash with Michael Jackson and Jay-Z).
Now, you can just order a plate of plain old Fireballs, but a long list of specialty balls incorporates all kinds of dreamed-up-while-high toppings variations.
Like GarbageBalls, with bacon, sauteed mushrooms, fries, black olives, blue cheese crumbles and more cheese. Or HogBalls, with barbecue pork, coleslaw and provolone. Or GreekBalls, with gyro meat, tomato, lettuce, onion and tzatziki.
I went for the HangoverBalls, which promise to cure any headache. My mound of food included the following: a bunch of Fireballs dunked in hot Buffalo sauce (16 sauce options are available) and then topped with crunchy tater tots, sauteed green peppers and onions, bits of bacon and two fried eggs. All that was covered in a thick layer of melted cheddar and served with a side of blue cheese dressing for dipping.
I will admit I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked these things. First of all, the chicken is really good - tender and juicy. And the holy breakfast trinity of eggs-bacon-tots paired remarkably well with Buffalo sauce and blue cheese.
Brave Fireball-loving souls can work their way up to the SuperFreak challenge. For $49.99, you get five pounds worth of Fireballs, cole slaw, French fries and cheddar-jack cheese. Devour the entire plate in 45 minutes or less and you get an official SuperFreak T-shirt.
Shelley Mann is the editor of Crave, Columbus' new dining magazine. Keep up with her at ColumbusCrave.com.