Expectations — and prices — were rather on the high side when the Hubbard Grille premiered almost exactly one year ago. Situated in a handsomely revamped, classic Short North edifice (the old Winders automotive dealership) and replacing the best and edgiest restaurant tandem ever in town (Rosendale’s/Details) as well as being related to the popular Mezzo in Gahanna, the Hubbard Grille seemed to have a lot to live up to. If, as a result, it had a bit of trouble impressing a highly (absurdly?) demanding faction of its potential audience — well can you blame it? Anyways, while I generally liked the place, I didn’t find myself gravitating there. Until I learned how to eat and drink like a champ — but on the cheap! — while taking advantage of a wonderful weekly Hubbard special.
“Fried Tuesday” is the Hub’s boldly unapologetic lure that recently drew me back into its comfy confines. Basically, it’s a terrific fried chicken dinner starring raised-in-Ohio poultry sold for $10 on the night before hump day (usual price: $17). Prior to describing this beauty, I’ll reveal how to further increase your savings.
Important fact number 1: This chicken meal deal runs 7 p.m. to close (i.e. 10-ish). Important fact number 2: Hubbard’s winning happy-hour bargains run 4 to 7 p.m. and are honored throughout the entire restaurant. Important fact number 3: Arriving Tuesdays, say around 6:30, allows you to cleverly enjoy the best of both of those discounted worlds.
Ordering before 7 means beers, most appetizers and “specialty cocktails” will be half priced. Specifically, this translates into: a nice and Negroni-esque Gin and Bear It (Watershed Gin, Campari, rhubarb jam) is $5; crisp and food-friendly Brooklyn Lagers are $2.50; and highly recommended P.E.I. Mussels or Short Ribs and Shrimp are each around $6.
As for the post-7 p.m. Tuesday piece de resistance, it’s a citified version (expect truffle-oil drizzles and red-wine reductions) of an old country favorite. You’ll get two hulking and meaty pieces (partially deboned breast and thigh) of buttermilk-treated and flaky and extra-crispy-crusted chicken that’s a pure golden-brown pleasure to chomp into. But there’s also crinkly, dark-cooked Brussels sprouts with a (gratuitous) sweet-as-honey sauce plus seductive real-deal white cheese grits that’ll take your mouth and mind to a state with a warmer climate. Gilding these lilies is a dreamy and creamy black pepper gravy of which you will likely — and wisely — be asking for extra helpings.
So see you next Tuesday at the Hub? I’ll be the goofily smiling dude with two half-filled drinks on his table and thick white gravy splattered all over his sleeves.