Review: Skillet, Rustic. Urban. Food.

Skillet, Rustic. Urban. Food. (hereafter referred to as Skillet) opened up to much fanfare late last year in the Schumacher Place location formerly occupied by Banana Bean Cafe until they moved over to much larger digs on Greenlawn Ave. While the space was definitely too small for the volume of Banana Bean Cafe, it was reinvented brilliantly with Skillet, the new concept from father and son Kevin and Patrick Caskey, who were also key in Banana Bean Cafe’s success.

Skillet focuses on simple, seasonal and ingredient driven honest food. Patrick, in particular, has a passion for this type of cooking, and his passion shows in the menu. You’ll see a lot of things on Skillet’s menu that you don’t often see anywhere else. He’s not afraid to experiment with ingredients and flavors, and with the able assistance of his father, is able to usually knock the food out of the park.

Upon entering for the first time, it’s a little confusing on what you’re supposed to do – there’s no one there in the front of the house to greet you, so it takes a moment to realize that you pick up the menu and place your order at the front window, and then seat yourself. However, once you get past that minor hurdle, it’s easy to remember to do that on future visits.

Since there were three of us dining there for lunch, we decided to just order a bunch of dishes to share, so we could sample all of them. We’ve had their amazing porchetta as a take out item and were hoping it was on the menu that day, but no such luck – one of the other items I had hoped to sample, the Savory Sweet Potato Folded Egg Omelette, had sold out earlier in the day.

As a lover of all things pork, my favorite dish from among all I tried was the Spicy Pork Belly Quesadilla ($8), which is mostly your classic preparation of meat, cheese and flour tortillas, with a lot less cheese and a lot more porky goodness. Topped with a salsa verde sauce that added a little heat but didn’t overwhelm, this was just a perfectly balanced dish that worked surprisingly well. This is a dish that, like the porchetta, I could find myself craving regularly.

Pork Belly Quesadilla from Skillet

Their Truffled Griddled Cheese on Brioche ($8) has two different types of cheese on it – a cheddar cheese that’s paired with an herbed boursin cheese, then topped with a touch of truffle oil. Much different from previous incarnations of grilled cheese I’ve had, but in a good way. The truffle oil lent a bit of earthiness to it without overwhelming it or tasting artificial as truffle oil often does.

Truffled Grilled Cheese from Skillet

As part of the grilled cheese, one can choose a soup of their choice. Even though they were out of the pumpkin-black bean soup, the one they did have (Cream of Tomato) is the one that you most associate with grilled cheese. It, like most credible cream of tomato soups, made a terrific dipper for the grilled cheese. Even so, we had a little tomato soup left over, which you’ll see I found a perfect use for a little later.

Cream of Tomato Soup from Skillet

Their Spiced Lamb Burger ($12) was a nicely sized patty cooked to order – in our case, we asked for it to be pink but not bloody, and it came out exactly that way. It was served on a soft Ciabatta roll with cumin mayo (whose flavor kind of faded into the background), a grilled slice of sheep’s milk feta, and a bit of fig-orange vinaigrette dressed arugula. While the burger as a whole was good, the individual ingredients got a bit lost in the mix. Still, a solid burger all around.

Lamb Burger from Skillet

My husband, in particular, loves their Crispy Fingerling Potatoes and Burnt Ends ($3) – for those not in the know, the burnt ends are actually pieces of brisket, which complement the browned and roasted potatoes. The potatoes have a solid rosemary flavor to them, which is either a great or a bad thing, depending how you feel about rosemary. I thought the potatoes, as a side to the lamb burger, brought out the best in it. Rosemary and lamb is one of my favorite flavor combinations in the world.

Fingerling Potatoes with Burnt Ends from Skillet

The Braised Beef Short Rib Sandwich ($11) piled super-tender short ribs with a spicy pepper mixture between two slices of buttery brioche. While it was a bit too spicy for it to be my thing (the apple-horseradish crema helped a bit, but not quite enough for my spice-sensitive palate), the two other people with me who love spicy foods thought it was great. Agreed – I’d order it again, but ask them to go light on the peppers, because minus the heat, the flavor was fantastic.

Short Rib Sandwich from Skillet

On the side, we had Anson Mills Stone Ground Grits with Sharp Cheddar ($3) – these are some of my favorite heirloom grits (I order them myself here at home). While I liked what the smoked tomato pan gravy brought to the party, I thought they were absolutely amazing with the remainder of my cream of tomato soup poured over top like a gravy.

Grits from Skillet

In short, everything we ordered here was extremely comforting, just all around good food that was reasonably priced. Drink service is either bottles of pop or water that you get yourself. I really like that they make quality food accessible, non-pretentious in a super-casual space. It’s a great fit for the neighborhood and we’re looking forward to visiting again.

If you’d like to go: Skillet, Rustic. Urban. Food., 410 E. Whittier Street, Columbus, OH 43206, 614-443-2266

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15 thoughts on “Review: Skillet, Rustic. Urban. Food.

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  2. hungrywoolf

    I like the way they grill the cheese in the lamb burger – it reminded me a little of a gringa 🙂
    I was able to try a couple of those dishes at the Earth Day festival – the goat horn peppers on the short rib are definitely hot, but both that sandwich and the quesadilla are winners! I love skillet.

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  4. columbusfoodie Post author

    Yes, Paul said the same thing (about the grilled cheese reminding him of a gringa). I think that's why he enjoyed it so much. Wish I would have known about the Earth Day festival, it sounded like it was an amazing day for food. You did a wonderful job in putting that all together.

  5. Elaine

    Hello Becke, great review the only comment I have is where did you get your information on the success of the Banana Bean?
    Robin Emrick
    President Banana Bean Cafe Inc.

  6. columbusfoodie Post author

    Robin, I'd definitely define success as being so popular that you couldn't get a seat there. 😉 It's a good think, I think, that Banana Bean outgrew the Schumacher Place space. I know the Caskeys were key in that success, so I usually end up a fan of any project they undertake.

  7. Robin

    Hey Becke I guess that is why I asked where you got your information, thats why I was asking again you said You Know the Caskeys were Key in that success…again where are you getting that information? Kevin worked for us a short time and my nephew pat started working at the bean in the last few months so thats why I am confused. I wish them huge success at Skillet but the Bean was the work of many hard working people. Thank you Becke just thought I should give you my end of it…..

  8. columbusfoodie Post author

    Hi, Robin – not aware of any internal staffing issues you and your sister have at Banana Bean nor am I trying to steal anyone's thunder, but do know that at least as far as the media has been concerned, the Caskeys have been the public face of the restaurant – as long as I've been reviewing, at least (my first review, in 2007 is here:… – the second time during Restaurant Week Spring 2009:… and the third and fourth times during Restaurant Week Fall 2009:… and… . Unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity to meet you in person yet – I know you are part owner of Banana Bean but all my dealings have been with your sister Angela, and my dealings with the back of house at Taste of the Independents have been primarily with Kevin. So I'm not trying to take credit from anyone on your team, but really, there is no room for egos in the restaurant biz. Be happy for your sister and her family's success and your restaurant's success (and 4 positive reviews from me alone!) and don't let it upset you. The comment wasn't intended to slight anyone, even though you seem to have taken it that way.

  9. Elaine

    Becke, first I want to apologize for using this forum to try to understand your review. Maybe you will give me the opprotunity to explain my questioning some day if we ever get a chance to meet. I have no ego I want my sister to be successful! They have always done very well and am proud to have her part of the Bean.,.I was not slighted in anyway even in some of the reviews you have done for the Bean Mr Caskey was in another state. Thats why I said I was confused. But at any rate as I said before Great Review !

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