Last week the Jersey Girl and I continued the random restaurant tour by leaving the friendly confines of downtown Columbus and heading north to the Italian Village area. Our destination was a converted brick barn called Cosecha Cocina.
Italian Village is one of the areas of Columbus where the redevelopment wave is rolling along at tsunami-level strength. Every time I visit, there is a cool new restaurant, brew pub, or breakfast joint in the neighborhood. That’s because you can find two key components of redevelopment there: inexpensive buildings that can be refurbished into cool spaces for your use, and a population of people in the immediate vicinity ready to frequent your establishment. In the case of Italian Village, businesses can draw upon both the downtown crowd, who need only drive, walk or bike a few blocks up Third, and the flood of people moving into new condos and apartment buildings in Italian Village.
Cosecha Cocina is a happy addition to the Italian Village ‘hood. It definitely satisfies the cool building requirement, with its cavernous internal space and outdoor eating area, and its menu of traditional and modern Mexican fare will keep that flood of people coming back. During our visit the Jersey Girl and I split some brussels sprouts — served piping hot with melted cheese — and I tried the pork meatball torta with esquites, a traditional Mexican street corn dish, on the side.
The fact that brussels sprouts and meatballs are on the menu at all tells you that Cosecha Cocina isn’t your Daddy’s kind of tacos and enchiladas Mexican restaurant. Another clue is the quality and delicate flavoring of the food itself. The pork meatball torta, which features chipotle tomato sauce, cilantro, black beans, avocado, and cheese and is served on airy, crunchy bread, was succulent and a reminder that Mexican food doesn’t have to be overpowering on the spice scale. The brussels sprouts were terrific, and the esquites corn salad was a perfect, light accompaniment to the meal. The Jersey Girl, who tried the chicken tinga tacos, raved about her food, too.
The zone of lunch places for the lucky workers in downtown Columbus continues to expand, limited only by their willingness to get out and try someplace new. With options like Cosecha Cocina only a bridge and a few blocks away, the incentive to experiment with a new lunch spot keeps growing.