Rigsby’s Kitchen is a hip, little Italian and Mediterranean enclave within the Short North. The art and photographs hanging from the aged brick walls and the dimmed lighting combine to give a warm ambience in this trendy establishment. Soft, popular music filled the one-room restaurant and provided great background noise paired with the many conversations at each table of guests. Opened in 1986, the restaurant prides itself on the rich, local ingredients from the best food vendors around. This fresh, high quality is one aspect evident in our meals. The menu boasts their commitment to seasonal excellence with a “Farm to Table” section exhibiting a list of the “local farmers and artisanal purveyors” who provide the ingredients for their dishes.
When we arrived around 7:45 p.m. for our reservation, there was a generous amount of people sitting at the various tables and bar and several groups celebrating birthdays. We began with sweet, warm bread that had a very natural yet unique taste which caught the attention of all in my party. It proved difficult to decide between the array of pastas, pizza and seafood dishes. The deviled egg trio ($5), topped with their popular smoked salmon and capers, was a definite favorite. I enjoyed another dish which showcased their delicious smoked salmon: the capellini natasha pasta ($22). All the pasta is made from scratch and served with various toppings including anything from shrimp, scallops and clams in the pasutice pasta ($23) or smoked pancetta, or winter squash and cream in their perline pasta ($20). The capellini natasha came with smoked salmon, caramelized onions, capers, pepper vodka and cream and created a harmonious blend of flavors and textures that left me craving more. The capers were salted just so and added a flavorful mix to the palatable pasta. My favorite part was the smoked salmon and the ratio between salmon and pasta was close to perfection. This sometimes proves problematic for a seafood lover such as myself when a dish advertises “shrimp” or “crab” but comes with close to no seafood compared to the respective main dish. While the food impressed nearly all in my party, there were some complaints about pricing, the lack of salad choices and service that was not so excellent.
Although an expensive meal, with a preset gratuity already added to the bill, my meal was definitely worth the splurge. Rigsby’s Kitchen is a satisfactory lunch or dinner choice in the Columbus downtown arts district. Easily accessible to students via the Central Ohio Transportation Authority bus system, the restaurant resides at 698 N. High St. Lunch hours run Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dinner hours are 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m Monday through Thursday, and 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The restaurant is closed on Sundays.