Eating at Eddie Merlot’s one gets the distinct impression they are at the finest geriatric home inside a Vegas casino run by the Italian Mafia. It’s stained glass, horrid mirrored and tiled art and columns galore that all together isn’t anywhere near as unpleasing as it sounds. In fact, it has its weird charms.
The crowd runs the gamut from gay men on a date to five hundred pound women gorging on three entrees a piece to families enjoying a nice night out in their finest shorts and t-shirt ensemble. You can and will see anything here. There was a man who most assuredly was drunk and in his boxer shorts singing while another table looked exceedingly close to murdering each other with their steak knives.
Known for its wine cellar, the list at EM’s is certainly impressive. Unfortunately for The Monster he isn’t able to drink on this occasion. For another time.
Like most of the top Columbus haunts this is a steak and seafood-centric restaurant. The menu will break no new ground. You’ll find Caesar salads and cedar-plank salmon and tiramisu. Adventurous dining this is not.
To start, French onion soup with five types of onion, croutons, Gruyere and parmesan cheese. It happens to be fantastic. Cheesy, a rich broth, filled with croutons and onion, it is a meal unto itself.
Next up, sesame calamari with garlic/ginger soy, hot mustard, wasabi sauces. While a beautiful presentation and the accompanying sauces are delightful, the calamari is more fried than Ozzy’s brain. Is there actually seafood underneath all this coating? It’s more work than it’s worth to eat and a huge miss in The Monster’s mind.
A salad of heirloom tomato, watermelon, baby lettuce, lemon shallot vinaigrette, basil, sea salt and smoked black pepper is up next and a welcome respite after the calamari. Nobody will be dazzled by this as its kind is seen on culinary school menus the world around but it’s well enough done and tasty.
For the main a special, grilled shrimp with chimichurri, tomato jam, wild rice with zucchini, grape tomatoes and cilantro. It is a good, solid dish. Won’t wow but certainly won’t disappoint.
Service is professional and cordial even when the clientele is not (need tables break into spontaneous song? Oh my, Ohio).
Why go? You and Tommy Zin go way back.
Monster rating: 3/5 Monsters
1570 Polaris Parkway
Columbus, OH 43240