The Columbus Dispatch, Thursday, January 15, 2009

While the Polaris Grill has its old standbys—such as the 55 house salad made famous by the long-extinct FiftyFive restaurant group—the menu continues to evolve.

The appetizer section from chef Jeff Burris has an offbeat, sushi-inspired treatment of ahi tuna ($11.95). The fish is seared briefly, then served cool with a very light dose of Cajun spice and a wasabi cream. The cream gives the fish the type of heat—but not the amount — that sushi eaters expect when they add green horseradish to their bites.

Also on the plate is a crispy “bowl,” apparently made by deep-frying a won-ton wrapper until crisp and puffy, that holds a chopped cabbage salad with a Japanese roasted-sesame-oil vinaigrette—a very good touch.

Raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and blueberries liven up a green salad ($6.95) with a light, unthickened poppy-seed vinaigrette. The fruit provides a great contrast to the trend of loading salads with cheese, nuts and crisps.

New on the entree list is walleye amandine ($22.95), which is well-coated with thinly sliced almonds before being sauteed crisp.

The nutty flavor is dominant, with the mild fish receding.

The fish is served with a large portion of very mild risotto, cooked al dente and tossed with slivers of zucchini, and a decent serving of vegetables of the day.

The same sides accompany the new lamb chops ($24.95)—cut almost Greek-thin, marinated in an oil with a touch of mustard and garlic, and chargrilled to deliver a lot of meaty flavor.

The dessert lineup has a convincing pineapple upside-down cake ($5.95), made in a single-serving size. The batter cake underneath the slice of pineapple is imbued with plenty of sweet brown sugar with caramel notes. In case it isn’t rich or filling enough, there’s also a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Jon Christensen