After a long day of work on Saturday, I was more than hungry as I headed to German Village to meet up with beer-brewing friends. I stopped by Katzinger’s for an “appetizer” (Lonny & Sonny’s Concoction: a turkey and prosciutto sandwich with cream cheese and dijon mustard on rye for $10.25), but I realized that I was still hungry. Baseball Boy suggested The Old Mohawk and I said yes, please. I always forget about the Mohawk, possibly because I never know exactly where it’s located. We zigged and zagged through German Village until we found the street, the restaurant and, finally, parking.
The Mohawk, to me, eludes categorization at many levels. It could be a lively bar, a historical tavern, a neighborhood hangout or a destination eatery. I think it’s all of these. Its 1933 roots are visible, but not in a sterile or academic way. This restaurant is as new and exciting and relevant as it a cornerstone in German Village history. And, I might add, it was full. Before 5 p.m. on a Saturday. With great atmosphere, real food and a lively bar staff, I can see why.
I ordered the Mohawk Turtle Soup and the Spinach Salad, in an attempt to eat something green. The turtle soup, a signature dish at the restaurant, is a vegetable soup spiked with real turtle meat. Baseball Boy told me that it was rumored that the restaurant used to raise turtles in the basement. While internet “research” suggests this rumor had merit, I’m still a little curious to find out which meat distributor in Columbus offers turtle meat. The soup was filling, with strings of turtle meat (resembling pulled beef) joining chunks of vegetables in every bite.
A pile of spinach, cheddar cheese, bacon bits and delicately-placed hard boiled eggs give the illusion that the spinach salad is, well, a salad. This is a salad in looks and name only. Once the dressing – a hot and sticky bacon-spiked goo – is applied, this plate belongs in a different category. Hot meets cold. Healthy meets decadent. It was quite a delight.
In the Mohawk’s tradition of not being held to categories, Baseball Boy’s Artichoke Wrap was less a wrap than it was creamy and delicious spinach and artichoke dip served in sandwich form. Although they were not needed to enjoy the dip, corn chips and salsa were served alongside, perhaps as a gentle wink to the other ingredients on the plate.
It makes me happy to see neighborhood places like the Mohawk thriving, but I think they’ve done the work to fill the seats with people beyond German Village. And for those of us who have failed to memorize the street names in German Village, it’s worth the work to find. I plan on doing this on a more regular basis.
The Old Mohawk
819 Mohawk Street