If you couldn’t tell already, I go to a lot of pubs. All sorts. Scottish, English, Irish…it doesn’t matter. Pub grub is a guilty pleasure of mine. And given that my roommate enjoys a good fish and chips order more than anyone I know…pubs are often first on our list when we visit an area and are looking for something to eat.
While in Columbus, Ohio, we stopped in for an early dinner at The Old Bag of Nails Pub, a pub aptly named because the first one was opened in an empty warehouse store. The pub has come a long way since then. The outside of this place is beautiful, but the inside was spacious, well-lit and reminiscent of those dark-wood pubs of long ago.
We were seated near a loud group of drunken college boys watching one of the many sports games up on the televisions. But, it’s a pub and to be expected – especially on a Saturday. After looking over the menu, I debated a little on what to order. I had two possible choices: the Grilled Portobello Mushroom Sandwich or soup and salad. I opted, after much debate, for the sandwich, which was to come out with chips and salsa, so I asked to substitute those for the fries.
Our meals came out and I inspected my sandwich. It was simply a giant Portobello mushroom cap topped with provolone cheese and a sun-dried tomato mayonnaise. It came with lettuce, tomato and red onion on toasted ciabatta bread. This mushroom definitely had not been grilled up to perfection like the one I had in Tennessee. In fact, the bottom slice of bread was soaked in the juice of the mushroom. I ended up only nibbling on bits of the bread, to keep the gluten-intolerance at a minimum. Mostly I ate the mushroom, cheese and vegetables. It was a decent enough sandwich, the runny mushroom not withstanding. Did it blow me away? No. It didn’t offer me anything different from any other Portobello sandwich I have eaten at pubs. The steak fries were a bit soft as well. And, even though I substituted them for the chips and salsa, an order was brought out to the table regardless. So we enjoyed those as well with our meal. My friends, naturally, got the fish and chips.
I wasn’t blown away by the food here. But this has the disadvantage of also being a chain pub. These tend to lack in quality what the independent pubs have. It wasn’t bad…but I think next time I’ll go somewhere else. Perhaps a quieter atmosphere. Perhaps with a wider range of vegetarian options. I’m not saying I wouldn’t go back to The Old Bag of Nails Pub; I’m just saying it’s not on the top of my list.