Haiku: Poetic Food and Art
800 N. High St.
Columbus, OH 43215
|Hours:||Mon – Thurs: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Fri & Sat: 11 a.m. – 12 a.m.
Sun: 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.
|Price Range:|| Appetizers, Salads & Soups: $2 – $13
Entrees: $10 – $23
I had been wanting to go to Haiku in Columbus’ Short North for a good while – always hearing great things from others who had gone. All I needed was a special occasion… or at least something that would make a decent excuse as a special occasion. Since winter quarter for graduate school was starting the following morning, I was able to form my own special occasion and celebrate the last day of freedom. It was Tim’s last day as well before we both started on our ten-week journey through scholarly Hell.
Getting to the restaurant was a piece of cake and parking was all the better. They have a “Tips Only” valet service–which is well worth it, since the parking lot is right next to Haiku–and street parking is abysmal.
We were a bit early but were seated promptly. After taking my coat off and getting situated I started to look around… and my mouth dropped! A building-length sushi bar stocked to the brim with tasty ocean creatures waiting to be fed to me. Score 1 for Haiku!
The decor is also something to be mentioned. It’s got an Asian flair but it’s fairly contemporary. Nice lighting and seating make the restaurant feel comfortable and kind of cozy – a good feeling on a cold winter’s night! The walls have frames and wires that hold tattered pieces of paper? Why? Well my polite self had to know. So I got up and walked across the room and had a look–only to be stared at like I was crazy. The pieces of paper, however, were haikus and poetry from diners! How cool is that!? I was rather impressed with the whole idea and thought it was a great way for customers to actually build a relationship with the place. A few of them were pretty good reads!
Now onto the food. Sushi was a must! The selection of rolls and everything else raw was really overwhelming but in a great way. The menu did a great job of explaining the items and a special “sushi ordering piece of paper thing” (™) was at every table. I didn’t care to decide for myself so I got a sampler platter, which had a decent variety. Tim hates fish so he ordered a chicken curry and I ordered the signature “Haiku Chicken” as well.
The food arrived quickly and was nicely plated. Tim’s curry could have fed several nations of people it was so large, and my dish wasn’t any smaller. The Haiku Chicken had a nice smokey flavor and was enjoyable. The gingko nuts in the dish were a welcome surprise!
The sushi arrived around this time as well and I was more than eager to dive in. Tim is examining the plate and I’m explaining what fish is what and how salmon is always my favorite – and tuna always fails me.
I always eat the tuna first. I don’t find it overly remarkable and it can be kind of gritty at times so I just want to get it over with so I can remember the good stuff! I picked up a piece of the tuna and began to eat… Gasp! Shock! Awe! (Tim thinking I was choking) I looked over at him and he asks “What’s wrong!?…. Is it bad?!?” I didn’t know what to say! I shook my head no and after swallowing the bite came to the realization that I’ve never had a good piece of tuna… Holy Crap this stuff was great!
After eating some more of the food I noticed Tim’s eyes began to examine the entire sushi platter… What was he thinking? He then asked if he could try part of a piece. If the great tasting sushi wasn’t going to give me a heart attack, then Tim wanting to eat a piece of fish–let alone raw fish–was going to! I took a piece of salmon and cut it in half. Thirty seconds of chewing and eye-shifting left Tim saying ”It tastes like soy sauce.” I guess the reaction could have been worse!
The meal was ending and the bill had arrived. I was expecting a hefty bill since I splurged on sushi. To my astonishment for both of our meals and the sushi the total was under $55! Now, in most cases that can be a lot. But after looking over the bill I soon realized that if I didn’t get the sushi or just got the sushi as a meal–the total would have been around $30, which is less than an Olive Garden or Texas Roadhouse. What’s even more amazing is the quality of Haiku is so much higher than most places I’ve gone. It ranks with some of the higher-end dining places in Columbus and costs a quarter of the price! I felt great leaving. I got a great meal, had a great time, and was able to tip the valet well with the money saved.
In short, Haiku is exactly what it’s name implies – pure poetry!
Verdict: Great food, Not-So-Great Presentation
The food and service were great and the value was well worth it! A perfect 5 though would probably be them personally feeding me and having a larger table. I really don’t like to be at small tables and the Haiku tables go from small to mid-size, depending on how many are in your party. Normally this would be fine but add a number of food and sushi plates…drinks…chopsticks with holders….sauces…and a pen/paper holder…you don’t have much room to start. The plating of the food was somewhat mediocre as well. Although my food tasted great, it was still kind of plopped there…where’s the pizzaz! I will say though that the experience and food were great and Haiku is a must stop on your food travels around Columbus!