Fast-food-style operation in Dublin is part of a small Chicagoland-based chain that also serves terrific chicken kebabs
If variety is the spice of life, then Columbus keeps getting spicier as it evolves into an increasingly diverse and interesting restaurant city.
Accompanying a new wave of local Nepali and cliche-avoiding regional Chinese eateries serving chile-spiked, real-deal dishes is a ripple of capsaicin-happy restaurants offering fun, funky, modern Indian-style street food. The latest splash from this piquant stream is an inspired little Dublin operation that could be an Indian-food revelation for many Central Ohio palates.
As its name implies, Egg-O-Holic — a small chain based in “Chicagoland” — specializes in something fairly rare in our area: Indian egg dishes. This cuisine category might be a head-scratcher for many, but eggs are popular in India, and some diners will have encountered a scrambled-egg preparation called akoori on a few Columbus menus.
While perusing the menu in Egg-O-Holic, you won’t locate akoori. But inside the place’s upbeat, fast-food-style space — which is brightened by egg-centric pop-art decorations on a yolk-yellow wall and a bouncy, subcontinent pop-music soundtrack, plus very friendly counter service — you’ll find akoori’s near-twin, Egg Bhurji ($6.99). Served with a choice of bread (pick the whole-wheat roti shimmering with ghee), the Egg Bhurji is a hefty and delicious plate of eggs scrambled with diced onions, tomatoes, cilantro and curry-powder spices.Get hard-boiled news and eggcellent entertainment delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our daily newsletter
Bread comes with another terrific item that might seem familiar to adventurous diners: Surti Gotalo ($9.99), which resembles shakshuka, an Israeli and North African favorite. The rich and fiery dish consists of two sunny siders atop a garlicky, tomato-based sauce thickened with shredded boiled eggs.
I like the chile-kissed, but not incendiary, Lachko ($9.99) even more. A bright green and bright-tasting amalgam that visually resembles saag, it’s shredded eggs, cilantro, long-cooked green peppers, chiles, butter, cheese and spices blended into an addictive mass with a flavor profile not that far from a Mexican-style salsa verde.
Given Egg-O-Holic’s opaque menu descriptions, Green Boiled Fry ($3.49) might as well have been called “green eggs and damn, that’s spicy and delicious!” — or maybe just “devilish eggs.” Here’s my description of the irresistible snack: Two hard-cooked, flash-fried and halved ova heavily doused in a thick, buttery and garlicky green-chile sauce.
Served with bread, the Toofani Curry ($8.49) recalls garlicky vindaloo made with boiled-and-sliced eggs rather than meat. If you often crave vindaloo, definitely give this a shot.
Fans of club sandwiches should try the deeply satisfying Anda Masala ($7.49, served with potato chips): a triple-decker of chopped hard-cooked eggs ignited by a house spice mix and teamed with mayo, sliced tomatoes and green peppers, plus wonderfully crisp, panini-press-ridged toast that’s a delight to bite into.
The standout kebabs ($8.99) might have you wondering which comes in first place here — the chicken or the egg dishes. Served with a zippy slaw, onions, lime wedges and yellow rice, plus a creamy-and-minty chutney, the eatery’s top-notch kebab entrees star six extra-large breast pieces that arrive tender, juicy and fragrant with house spice blends. If you like expertly grilled, eastern Mediterranean-style chicken, try the ’Holic Chicken Kabob; if you like it hot, opt for the chile-paste-slathered Raja da Chicken Kabob.
A respectable Mango Lassi ($3.49) and some interesting Indian soft drinks, such as Thums Up cola ($1.99), are on hand to wash down the spicy grub. But for my money, the best way to soothe your tongue is with a Rajwadi Lassi ($3.49), a yogurt-based, parfait-like confection enriched with rose syrup, nuts and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Like much of the fare from this humble but rewarding little eatery, it’s hardly the kind of thing you’ll find just anywhere.