It is, of course, too early for a real review of Latitude 41, but I couldn't wait to try it out, at least for lunch. Located in the Columbus Renaissance Hotel Downtown, Latitude 41 presented itself as a "Dean James Max" destination restaurant which would focus heavily on local, organic products. Indeed, they seem to have built some relationships with local farmers - particularly meat purveyors - as there are many local products listed on the menu.
Husband started off with short rib and cranberry bean soup with pistou (parsley puree); it was simply and hearty - perfect for the blustery day we were having:
I started with the whimsical chorizo corn dogs - I had read about them on the online sample menu and knew I would have to order them. Chunks of good - not spicy - chorizo were encased in a crisp, airy cornbread coating and then fried and set atop a bed of dijon mustard. The best thing about dining in a hotel is the tiny bottle of ketchup which was served on the side. Paired with some fries (to be totally bad) or a light salad, these could easily be lunch. They would be perfect to share and are fun to eat:
Husband opted for the turkey club, which was nice but boring; not as good as Northstar Cafe's really good smoked turkey sandwich:
I chose the brisket sliders, again with a charming presentation. Good, tender, bbq-glazed brisket bits sat atop a brioche bun with - this is the best part - a panko-crusted fried green (mine was orange, but that's okay) tomato slice and a little shredded lettuce (listed on the menu as "slaw," but there was no apparent dressing). The sliders were served with a little cone of truffled fries - these are truffled with a nicely restrained hand; there is none of that cloying, choking truffle oil overuse here - and spicy ketchup. Again, the presentation was very fun; it was interesting to see well-suited business men being served this dish for lunch - I think it would brighten anyone's day:
I am eager to return for dinner, and after a month or so I will do a full review where we can talk about the wine list, the hotel-i-ness, and how the staff is doing once the triple-named chef leaves. I hope they only get better. I have complained before about people reviewing restaurants before they've had time to work out their kinks, and in truth, if my experience at Latitude 41 was negative, I would have given it more time to even mention it, but I was pleasantly surprised; In truth, I was a bit skeptical. Neither the Executive Chef nor his Chef du Cuisine are from Columbus, and even with the convoluted work-around of the Latitude 41 background story (the latitudinal line upon which Columbus landed when he returned to Spain), the tag line "A Culinary Homecoming" confounded me. It still does, but that's what they decided upon, so who am I to judge. Maybe they can enlighten me sometime.