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16 W. Beck Street     Columbus, Ohio 43215     614.224.8669     fax 614.224.0159

OLBA Permit Holder In the Spotlight

The OLBA is proud to recognize that Tony Scartz, owner of Tony's Italian Ristorante, will be celebrating his 25th anniversary this fall!

Tony's has always been on The Dispatch's lists of top restaurants from when it just had the Top 10 fine dining list to the expansion of restaurant coverage with listings of ethnicity.

He has survived against the invasion of many Italian chain operations and has kept a following of regulars who find the personality in such a fine restaurant more than appealing. Running the front of the house of course is Tony Scartz; Bartender Chuck Vyzral has been behind the bar for 21 years; and the man in whites seldom seen ouside the kitchen, Tony Stanely, has been top chef for 17 years!

Over the years Tony's restaurant has been the place for many political fundraisers of both major parties. Tony is proud to host all, and remains quiet as to his own political preferences; his dedication remains in providing the best dining experience to all of his visitors. The restaurant offers professional and knowledgeable servers, with tables placed perfectly apart, allowing privacy.

Tony's hard work and dedication have made him a staple here in Columbus, Ohio. We have watched his establishment blossom, our congratulations sir!

For anyone who hasn't eaten at Tony's Italian Ristorante, it is located at the corner of South High St. and 16 W. Beck Street in Downtown Columbus, Ohio.

(Out of five stars)
Recommended Dishes
Roman bread, veal and prosciutto capellini, Italian sausage, filet with Barolo, ravioli Bolognese, tiramisu, zabaglione

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Bread, veal share spotlight with other stars

You can tell that the folks at Tony's Italian Ristorante have been at it a long time: Servers are professional and knowledgeable, tables are apart for privacy, and the kitchen has mastered many dishes.

Like the Roman bread ($5.95), an institution at Tony's Italian Ristorante: A large piece of Italian bread is slathered with Gorgonzola and several herbs (parsley, basil, marjoram, thyme) and minced pickled peppers and briefly broiled. It's hearty and pungent.

Owner Tony Scartz has taken the plunge and made the dining room nonsmoking, solving a long-standing problem: There is no way to divide smokers from nonsmokers, even after a remodeling that brightened the restaurant. One result: The food smells great.

Tony's remains famous for veal, and one of its most interesting showcases is properly cooked capellini pasta mixed with plenty of sauteed, real prosciutto and some strips of simply sauteed veal ($14.95). The entree is accented with sundried tomatoes and green peas. It needs no cheese, but the server will offer freshly grated Parmesan.

At lunchtime, don't overlook the veal and ricotta filling in the excellent ravioli Bolognese ($8.95), with a veal-laced Bolognese sauce.

Tony's knows what it's doing with fresh seafood. Pike Milan ($18.95) is a recurring off-menu item, as well it should be. The whole dressed walleye filet is coated with a Parmesan-flavored breading and expertly fried crisp. Also on the oval plate is a side of linguine tossed with olive oil and sun-dried tomatoes. Think red wine with this one.

Pork chops ($14.95) aren't as skillfully cooked, however. They're rather firm, difficult to cut even with the thoughtfully provided steak knife. The best part is the grilled-vegetable assortment, a medium-hot pepper, thinly sliced potatoes, sweet peppers and onion, done right in olive oil. You'll do significantly better with the filet in Barolo ($19.95), with medallions of tenderloin gently sauteed in butter, then bathed with a mushroom-andred-wine sauce that convincingly combines intense mushroom flavor with concentrated stock and wine.

A more rustic meat is the house-made Italian sausage ($6.95 appetizer, $14.95 entree), enticingly seasoned with mild peppers as well as the standard fennel.

In the Italian manner, vegetables are offered as side dishes or, if you wish, separate courses. Fresh spinach ($4.95) is gently ó and lightly ó cooked with olive oil, garlic and a little chili pepper.

The house bread is a better than-average crusty French loaf served with flavored butter. Opt for the more recently introduced, good-quality olive oil.

Tony's tiramisu ($5.50) is very light: The fluffy top layer of mascarpone is well-dusted with cocoa, the ladyfingers are barely soaked in liqueur, and the whole thing is not too sweet.

Occasionally, zabaglione ($5.50) is offered as an off menu dessert.

Although not as light as a made-to-order zabaglione, its custard is nevertheless well laced with Marsala and decorated with slices of fresh fruit.

Tony's wine list is on the expensive side but offers a better Italian cross section than it used to. The 2001 Chianti Classico from Aziano ($26.95), found on many lists, has hit its stride.

Jon Christensen is Dispatch restaurant reviewer.