The ability to enjoy one of the city's best restaurants from home can certainly lighten a person's mood while living amid COVID-19 closures
Finding a silver lining amid the coronavirus cloud darkening nearly every aspect of life might be an impossible task. But I can say this: Ripping through delicious food from a fine-dining icon while wearing sweatpants and seated in the fuss-free comfort of your own easy chair can certainly brighten a person's mood.
Welcome to a hopefully short-lived era of restaurant reviews written during a time when eating out at Lindey’s means still eating at home. (Note: Easing unsubstantiated fears about contracting the coronavirus through food, the US Food & Drug Administration’s website declares that “there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19.”)
Lindey’s, which provided my aforementioned sweatpant-clad meals, is a tony German Village landmark that’s been frequented by movers and shakers since the upscale bistro premiered in the 1980s. The grand old establishment was an early and high-profile adopter of the guidelines prescribed by Gov. Mike DeWine for restaurants staying open during this phase of the coronavirus outbreak. To reiterate DeWine’s ongoing mandate: Eateries are limited to takeout and delivery service.Andy and Joel are posting and writing all of these stories from home while wearing three-piece suits, finally free from the jeans-and-hoodies dress required in the Alive offices. Sign up for our daily newsletter
Ordering over the phone from the “Curbside & Delivery” menu on Lindey’s well-organized website is a breeze. During that process, a courteous employee said my food would be ready in 25 minutes.
It was raining when I pulled up to Lindey’s 17 minutes later. Before I could call to announce that I’d arrived early, a smiling and apparently clairvoyant server wearing a tie as if this were just business as usual exited the restaurant and approached my car. I explained my presence and, with rain dotting his dress shirt, the server politely said my order was ready and he’d be right back. The on-the-ball fellow soon deposited a couple bags onto my back seat, thanked me profusely and waved me off as if we were old pals.
Like all of the food I received, the Duroc Pork was in a labeled plastic container and still warm when I returned home 20 minutes later. The high-quality bone-in chop — which was eye-poppingly gigantic — had a smoke-scented exterior that was alluringly grill-crusted and slathered in a flattering barbecue sauce with soy and sesame notes.
On top were chili threads that supplied more flavor than sting. Underneath was succulent meat cooked like a thick, medium-rare steak. On the side were fluffy mashed potatoes with an appealing dairy tang (from buttermilk), plus three large but not woody asparagus spears that were skillfully grilled and brightened with lemon.
While pricey ($30), this impressive entree could easily feed two. Especially if you tack on a Chopped Salad ($10) — a lively, if hardly huge, jumble of arugula, baby kale, cabbages, candied pecans, bacon, plus diced pear that amplified the fruit in the inspired pear-and-thyme dressing.
Prefer a hot starter? The pan-fried Potstickers ($10 for five) are above average and arrive studded with sesame seeds and partnered with a small but flavorful Asian slaw, plus a chili sauce with hints of orange marmalade.
The sustainably farmed Sixty South Salmon ($30) entree was almost as big as that pig-out pork dinner. And, with an attractive crust that led to a tender-and-juicy interior, it was likewise expertly seared.
The salmon’s plate mates were a condiment-sized container of smooth, butternut-squash puree and a flavorful medley of pancetta-accented, flawlessly browned little orbs — pearl onions, purple and redskin potatoes, and Brussels sprouts. A creamy yet refreshing slice of Key Lime Pie ($9) supported by a nifty graham-cracker-and-pecan crust was the final comforting item in my (shared with others) order.
But I also received some gifts that evening: the restaurant’s duly beloved sourdough bread and sweet, creamy butter; a heartstring-tugging thank you card signed by the place’s many employees; a funny-yet-prized roll of toilet paper bearing the “Lindey's” brand; and, perhaps most nourishing, a touch of neighborly humanity in a time of social distancing.