Saucy Columbus

When you go to a restaurant and ask if they have a hot sauce, you never know what you’re going to get. Typically, it’s Tabasco sauce, or Cholula, or perhaps Texas Pete’s. But sometimes you get a new hot sauce that you’ve never heard of before. So it was earlier this week, when Dr. Science and I visited Bar Cicchetti and inquired about the availability of a hot sauce. The waiter promptly delivered this bottle of Sauce Boss Gang Spanish Chipotle Granada hot sauce.

Just a look at the bottle was promising, because the hot sauce experience is a holistic one, and names and labels on bottles are a key element. The Sauce Boss Gang Granada passed the label test with flying colors, with its uber-cool combination hand grenade/rib cage/roses presentation. And the contents of the bottle, if anything, exceeded the label. The Granada sauce is a ruddy brown and super smoky, with flecks of pepper (or some other substance) and enough heat to make you sit up and take notice without obliterating your palate. It went very well with my french fries and left me eager for more.

As I had never heard of Sauce Boss Gang, I asked the waiter about where Bar Cicchetti found the sauce. He explained that Sauce Boss Gang is a local Columbus company that make several different kinds of sauces. You can find the website here, and a list of the different sauce flavors here. SBG encourages people to put their sauces in dishes, drinks, and desserts, which raises some intriguing possibilities. I also commend Sauce Boss Gang for making sure that all of their products are attentive to the crucial label and naming tests. I’m steeling myself for a taste of the Garlic Scorpion La Jefa sauce, which is described as “fierce and flavorful.” That sounds like a pretty good option as winter approaches.

The Random Restaurant Tour — L

Yesterday Dr. Science and I decided to brave the fierce winds on a cold, gusty day to head south for lunch. Our destination was the always cool Westin Great Southern Hotel–the oldest hotel in downtown Columbus–and a new restaurant called Bar Cicchetti that has opened in the hotel’s footprint to serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Bar Cicchetti is in some reconfigured space at the Great Southern. There always was a bar there–what would be a hotel, really, without a bar?–but now they’ve opened a new room that is located just past the bar area. The room is spacious and bright and looks out over High Street. Dr. Science and I sat at a window table to fully revel in that urban lunch vibe.

The lunch menu has a lot of options that should appeal to just about everyone, from salads and pizza and pastas to handhelds–including a concoction featuring charred broccolini (involuntary shudder). Although the pizza and pasta options were intriguing, I found myself to be in a fried frame of mind, so I opted for the Milanese Chicken sandwich, shown above, and had them hold the lettuce and pickles. My choice was a winner. The chicken breast was so enormous it spilled over the sides of the bun, and it was crunchy outside, with just the right amount of breading, and moist inside. Topped with pickled onions and a nifty aioli, it was delicious. I also give Bar Cicchetti credit for providing a reasonable amount of fries, which were dusted with some freshly grated parmesan and very tasty, too. The fries were so delectably enticing that Dr. Science, always ready for a food experiment, couldn’t resist swiping a few from my plate as he gulped down his salumi sandwich.

I don’t think the word of mouth about Bar Cicchetti has spread yet, because there weren’t many patrons there when we visited. Perhaps this post will help to acquaint people with this fine new food option in the south part of downtown, which is well worth a visit. I’ll be coming back to try one of those pizzas.

By the way, in preparing this post I note that this is the 50th edition of the Random Restaurant Tour series, which began in 2017 and somehow managed to bridge the COVID pandemic and the shutdown period. Thanks to the B.A. Jersey Girl, Dr. Science, the Bus-Riding Conservative, JV, and all of the others who have accompanied me on these culinary adventures, and to everyone who has read them!