Drawing upon Lewis Carroll, William Shakespeare, naughty nursery rhymes, LSD and a corrupt cop as influences, "I Am the Walrus" by The Beatles is very strange song. So when a server at The Walrus told me that the new Downtown restaurant took its name from that mind-bending tune, I found it amusing.

Drawing upon Lewis Carroll, William Shakespeare, naughty nursery rhymes, LSD and a corrupt cop as influences, "I Am the Walrus" by The Beatles is very strange song. So when a server at The Walrus told me that the new Downtown restaurant took its name from that mind-bending tune, I found it amusing.

Like its namesake, The Walrus is a "bit of this, bit of that" patchwork. A stage for local bands makes it a live music venue. It's equipped with enough TVs, craft beers and good cocktails (try the refreshing $6 Tomi Collins or potent La Morsa Margarita, $8) to function as an urbane sports pub.

Tempting drinks plus a red pool table and hip decor - brick, cool graphic novel-style illustrations (by local artist Paul Giovis) and old Columbus cityscape wallpaper - make The Walrus a fashionable hangout to knock back a few beverages.

Two inviting dining rooms (one dusky), a little patio and an inexpensive, vegetarian-friendly menu of gussied-up comfort food make The Walrus an appealing restaurant.

But unlike that famous Beatles song - in which disparate aspects gelled together to create a classic - one facet of The Walrus doesn't hit the right notes yet. That would be the well-intentioned but inharmonious service.

During one loud and crowded evening, I waited almost an hour for a salad; then another, equally long wait for main courses. On a different night, appetizers and entrees were simultaneously whisked to our suddenly congested table. On multiple visits, food temperatures were way off. To its credit, the management handled these hiccups in gracious fashion. But the bumps kept happening.

Flaunting spicy centers, bacon and crackly beer-battered shells, the Deep Fried Deviled Eggs ($7) evoke state fair food and the "I am the eggman" chorus of that Beatles opus. But the playful signature appetizer was hampered by rubbery egg whites, translucent pigmeat plus inordinate oil.

The good, fresh and entree-sized Taco Salad ($9) is topped with spicy and salty chorizo, corn, black beans, shredded cheese, tortilla chips and more. It seems designed for discriminating diners who like the idea of a salad but would rather eat nachos.

If seeking a pizza, the snack-sized Night Owl flatbread ($12) tops a thin and puffy crust with peppadew peppers, crisp pepperoni plus plenty of molten mozzarella. It's a spicy, sweet and (unavoidably) greasy delight.

By far, the best thing I tried were the fantastic Lobster Rolls ($14, served with flour-dusted steak fries). Outpacing most in town, they're dual beauties that pack lots of sweet, perfectly firm meat - plus tiny, diced celery for crunch - into buttery toasted, proper New England-style buns (top-loaded). Binding the delicious filling together is a wonderfully light and lemony dressing.

The Cauliflower Steak ($10) with zesty sweet potato cubes is a creative vegetarian entree boasting bold flavors from cumin, citrus, a balsamic reduction and a creamy pea puree. I really like how it looped together the Latin, Middle Eastern and even barbecue paths it traveled on. But the tubers were overcooked and the underdone cauliflower hadn't lost its raw character. Maybe it should be called "cauliflower steak tartare."

Served with dense and delicious mashers plus a tangy and spicy avocado sauce, the misleadingly titled Prosciutto Roll ($14) - a ham-wrapped chicken roulade with mushrooms plus a bit of pineapple and cheese - was another impressive-looking and flavorful dish with issues. One was minor: inconsequential broccoli. Another was major: nothing on the plate was close to hot.

Situated near similarly fashionable South Fourth Street establishments (El Camino, Little Palace) and sharing ownership with a place of which I'm an avowed fan - Olde Towne Tavern - The Walrus has a lot of promise. Now it's time to fulfill it.