|The humble meatloaf has graced numerous household
dinner tables around the world in one form or another
Many dishes come to mind when it comes to American classics: hamburgers, apple pie, chocolate chip cookies, and so forth. Often times, these dishes are adaptations or variants on more traditional dishes, like American spaghetti or Tex-Mex creations like Fajitas or Chile con Carne.
A dish that in many ways reflects the melting pot that is this country lies in meatloaf. While meatloaf has competing origin stories, its concept is pretty clear cut – a collection of culinary odds and ends combined into something not necessarily elegant, but assuredly comforting.
And indeed it was; my parents’ rendition was fairly standard (ground beef, onions, stale bread, eggs, and seasoning) but one my favorite things to eat with ketchup and rice. In addition, many parties hosted by relatives, friends, and family allowed me the chance to eat another favorite variation in the Embutido, a Filipino take which mixes a variety of meats with somewhat unique ingredients such as raisins, carrots, bell peppers, and hard-boiled eggs.
The town of Worthington isn’t really known for spendy, luxurious restaurants – the closest one lies with Cameron’s American Bistro, but even here you won’t find a menu item at the $50 or over price range. So perhaps it’s unsurprising that one of the town’s more finer-dining eateries in The Whitney House offers up a weekly meatloaf special.
Opened in December 2014, Whitney House’s space used to be an Irish pub in its prior incarnation (P.K. O’Ryan’s), but main space in the front leaves little hint of this past life (a trip to the bar area in the back may lend more of a hint, but my spouse and I have never had the pleasure of being seated there.)
The restaurant’s concept has focused from day one on comfort food done well. We have discovered on our visits that this doesn’t necessarily mean traditional either: for example, their Ramen will not fool anyone as a version you would get at a place like Tensuke Express. However, Whitney House doesn’t claim it to be authentic, and we have found their rendition to be an enjoyable take.
Other dishes veer closer to the standard template, but Whitney throws in a few twists to make them worth a repeat order – their Adult Grilled Cheese adds in tomato jam, caramelized onions and a housemade tomato soup, and local-sourced ingredients make up their Ohio Burger (with an excellent wedge-style Fries on the side) and Ohio French Toast menu items.
A few beer drafts are available, but here we tend to veer to cocktails, including the wake you-shake you up Morning Joe on the Rocks, combining a double-brewed coffee and other mixers with a duet of local spirits (Watershed’s Nocino and OYO Honey Vanilla.)
Which brings me back to their Big Ol’ Meatloaf special, which currently holds the Wednesday slot on the specials board for Whitney House. I don’t think I’ve ever ordered this dish at a restaurant before, much in the way my spouse and I generally steer away from things like spaghetti – these are dishes that we can make at home pretty easily when the mood hits. But on this night, this special just felt right, and the extra fancy touches made this a pretty memorable meal.
But best of all, it was a Big Ol’ piece…well, two actually. Perhaps the best thing about when my parents made meatloaf was there would be seconds and we had more than enough for a repeat eating a few days later. Who knows, we might even order it again when we take it to the House again for another meal.