Diner Offers Hearty Meals

Wouldn't it be nice to reach the age of 40 and realize your life dream? Cameron Mitchell, the creator of Cap City Diner, owns 18 other restaurants in three states that cover nine different concepts in dining. Between the two of us, we've had the pleasure of experiencing the majority of these culinary endeavors.

As the old expression goes, we were trying to "kill two birds with one stone." Mindy and her friend, Michelle, needed new running shoes and Mindy and Randy needed to get a review together. The athletic shoe store just happened to be in the same complex as Cap City Diner in Gahanna off Hamilton Road, so the dilemma was solved. We arrived a little past noon, with rumbling stomachs, and were pleased to be seated quickly even though the place was bustling with the work crowd.

When we saw the impressive dessert offerings in the display case we knew we better save room, so we skipped appetizers this visit. We hope to return to try wh! at the readers of Columbus Monthly Magazine consider the city's best potato chips: Maytag bleu cheese potato chips ($6.50) -- an odd combination of crunchy chips, tasty Alfredo sauce and tangy bleu cheese with scallions.

Cap City offers an extensive menu, plus daily specials. All of us were interested in one of the specials for the day -- the crab cake sandwich ($8.95), but we let our guest have first pick. Michelle graciously gave each of us a bite of the generous crab cake which was served on a toasted English muffin, topped with smoked cheddar cheese with a side of spicy horseradish sauce. Mindy wavered between the smoked turkey Reuben ($7.95) with Swiss cheese, coleslaw, red onion and mayo on rye and the Tuscan grilled chicken salad ($9.95) -- penne pasta, garlic cheese bread, Romaine lettuce, Roma tomatoes and roasted portabella mushrooms, tossed with tomato basil vinaigrette. She enjoyed her selection of the large salad but wished she had ordered her dressing! on the side. When Randy noticed multiple orders of Cap City Diner mea tloaf ($8.95) coming out of the open kitchen she looked no further. This stack of buttermilk-chive mashed potatoes, meatloaf, wild mushrooms and chili onion rings, covered with BBQ gravy and surrounded by broccoli appeased Randy's heartier appetite. The only disappointment was the broccoli which was not as fresh as it should have been.

Most items are available for lunch as well as dinner. A few of the more unusual caught our attention: pecan crusted pork chop ($8.95/16.95) served on cheddar-chipotle mashed potatoes, candied pecans, spinach, and shallots all covered with an apple cider glaze; salmon saltimbocca ($9.95/16.95) -- pancetta wrapped pan seared salmon served on wild mushroom risotto with artichoke relish and a sage and chive butter sauce; and Diner vegetable plate ($8.50/10.95) -- an angel hair pasta cake with goat cheese, portabella spring roll, grilled asparagus, sauteed spinach and vegetables covered with sweet basil marinara sauce.

Cap City Diner! has a nice kid's menu ($4.95/lunch or dinner). Children will certainly be as tempted, as we were, by the house made pies and desserts. It was a tough decision, but we all voted for orange dreamsicle cake ($5.50) -- our childhood treat recreated. This seven layer confection with an orange cream cheese icing is awesome.

We hope to come back to find out if Cameron Mitchell's stated goal is true: "To be better today than we were yesterday, and better tomorrow than we are today." This time was three and one-half forks; next time, who knows?

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