Restaurant review: Heirloom

By Columbus Alive
From the Restaurant review: Heirloom edition

Looks like the glass slipper finally fits. After striking up relationships with a string of ultimately wrong-footed partners, the Wexner Center seems to have discovered the restaurant it’s long been waiting for in the inexpensive, seasonal, local, organic and healthy-leaning new Heirloom.

This pronouncement might sound premature considering Heirloom’s still-evolving menu is in its infancy, but I felt duty-bound to announce that this baby has hit the ground running. That’s not a stunner when you understand Heirloom’s parents are John and Kimberly Skaggs, whose resumes include the original Northstar Cafe, L’Antibes and their My Catered Table meal-delivery business.

The aforementioned Northstar lineage shines through brightly here. In fact, Heirloom’s tempting menu not only resembles Northstar’s in spirit, but it shares many physical attributes with it, too.

Coming attractions on said food document include cottage pies prepared with organic ground beef; chicken both in a quinoa bowl and done “a la king;” plus a bring-it-on Ohio cheese plate. For now, the get-your-feet-wet, opening weeks’ menu features soothing muffins and cookies, homemade granola, quiches, some neat sandwiches on house-baked whole wheat bread as well as entree salads. In general, Heirloom’s flavors favor a zesty, green-chili and corn-inflected Southwestern bent; nothing’s more than $9, and everything I’ve tried I’ve liked.

Breakfast — or lunch — will brighten your face here if you target the appropriately titled Eye Opener Burrito ($7.25). Rolled into a toasty, mildly sweet whole wheat tortilla were crispy-edged, herby roasted potatoes, slightly spicy (and ungreasy) chorizo, eggs and cheddar cheese — which tied the whole simpatico combo together. On the side was a bright and terrific little salsa.

If you’re less ambitious with your yolk-enriched munch, check out Heirloom’s simpler Egg Sandwich ($4.50). For a few dollars more than an Egg McNuthin’, you’ll get a freshly cooked egg intensified by melted cheddar and housed in really great toasted, hearty, whole-wheat bread with a sensational sourdough tang to it.

The same exceptional bread graced the killer Gila Monster sandwich ($9). Starring nicely crusted, juicy, corn-speckled, first-rate sliced turkey meatloaf, this monster’s garnished with (gently spicy) green chilis, pepperjack cheese and a “Southwest aioli.” Likely Heirloom’s current signature dish, it’s big and hulking yet far from leaden and even relatively guilt-free. The Gila comes with a side — I recommend “The Grainy,” a lively salad that might include quinoa, bulgur wheat, corn and so forth.

Speaking of salads, Heirloom excels there, too. Whether it’s a Leafy Greens side ($3) or The Big Salad ($8.25 — an engaging texturefest with arugula, raisins, pasta, sunflower seeds, expertly “set” broccoli and heavy-duty croutons) or the titanic Southwest Chicken Caesar ($8.50 — with slabs of warm chicken plus a scattering of corn, pumpkin seeds, tortilla strips and jicama), they’re all wonderful and flaunt perky dressings and ultrafresh ingredients. Oh yeah, and they’re about as pretty as Cinderella.

Photos by Jodi Miller