When asked how to best describe Columbus food, my answer is simple: Skillet. Skillet is the epitome of what central Ohio cuisine should be—fresh, quality local ingredients in a seasonal menu. As their sandwich board advertises, Skillet’s food is: Ingredient Driven, Complex Flavors, Never Complicated. Although, it is deceptively simple; Skillet’s food is the painting on the wall that everyone thinks they can paint… until they try.
Skillet is owned and operated by the Caskey family: Chef Kevin; wife, Angela; and son, Chef Patrick. Not yet open a year, the Caskeys have already made huge waves in Columbus food circles with their ever-changing, “ingredient-driven” menu, garnishing critical acclaim. Their offerings are truly Ohio: from Bluescreek and Flying J Farm meats, Amish and other local cheeses, to Snowville cream, and seasonal produce from organic, Ohio farms. The food, to put it bluntly, rocks—inspired dishes, synthesized from the central Ohio landscape.
My first experience at Skillet occurred shortly after they opened. I had the porchetta sandwich: slow-roasted pork on ciabatta bread. But it was so much more than the description would infer; the slow-roasting created complex flavors that were nothing short of sublime; I was addicted. My second trip to Skillet introduced me to the braised short rib sandwich on brioche—another meal whose simple ingredients belied a complex food experience. After several breakfast/brunch trips to Skillet (which included—among other dishes—the smoked pork, sweet potato, and green chile omelet), I visited again to try their mac & brisket plate—a culmination of the other slow-roasted meals I’d tried at Skillet. The brisket was melt-in-your mouth, braised Bluescreek, grass-fed heaven. And topping it off was the Amish cheddar and goat-cheese baked mac and cheese—it doesn’t get anymore Ohio than this.
Oh, lest I forget the plastic bottle that sits on the table: Skillet Hot Sauce. A condiment, yes; but in my book, good hot sauce is an art form. And Chef Kevin’s sauce is, to continue the metaphor, a masterpiece. Anyone can make a sauce that’s hot, but with this sauce Chef Kevin leaches out the bitterness while retaining both the heat and flavor of the peppers. The peppers’ sweetness also remains, offering a nice counter-balance to the heat. But it is (and let there be no mistake about this) hot. So try some, but be judicious.
While originally only open for lunch—and breakfast on the weekends—with an order-at-the-window service, Skillet is now open for dinner hours and offers table-side service. The new setup allows more seating and expedited service from new team members like Craig, my server on the past several visits.
Skillet has recently begun to sell its food via the Skillet Mobile Kitchen. Offering a limited menu, including their spicy pork belly quesadilla; the Mobile Kitchen is run by Chef Patrick and Billy. It can currently be found in the House Wine parking lot at 644 High Street in Worthington, on Thursday–Saturday nights, 6pm-9pm (subject to change). The Mobile Kitchen is a way to spread the Skillet love to those who may not otherwise have a chance to visit the German Village location during normal hours.
Chef Patrick, Chef Kevin, Billy, Craig