Hovering above a downtown hotel, Goodale Station is the rooftop restaurant associated with the local Canopy Hilton. The Canopy family of hotels has been described by its CEO as upscale; below Waldorf-Astoria but above traditional Hiltons and Embassy Suites in the upscale rankings. And while you might expect Goodale Station to be a bit swanky as well, it carves its own path with an entrance that leads to its exclusive lift to the facility.
Fittingly, the rooftop restaurant hosts walls of windows that exploit the towering viewing opportunities. The view brings guests face to face with the picturesque features of Columbus and provides a perspective from which even the sky itself seems grander and more majestic. The windows also reinforce a pronounced commitment to hard surfaces and angles at Goodale Station. It offers a clean, streamlined look and an ambience where sounds resonate rather than sink.
The menu also tends to be clean and streamlined, with appetizers and sharing dishes mixed in with a handful of expanded starters. As the menu selection also changes at a pace that reflects the availability of seasonal ingredients, it’s wise to adapt when it comes to preferences.
Certainly there will be a fresh salad option. The Goodale Caesar ($12) seems to enjoy a fairly stable spot on the menu, perhaps because Caesar salads are so (rightly) popular in Columbus. It’s built on crisp romaine that’s adorned with the requisite punchy Parmesan cheese, croutons of focaccia, and a vinaigrette that ties it all together with a pronounced garlic accent.
For the more adventurous soul, there is also something about the lines of Salmon tartare ($19) to serve as a share. While the familiar steak tartare can be built with ground raw beef and an egg yolk, Goodale Station starts with seafood, leveraging a velvety sushi-grade salmon that makes a textual deluxe contribution with a bit of pickle spiciness. and a light sting of horseradish cream and a whole-grain mustard. The dish is enhanced by bright little touches of trout roe, perhaps a tip of the hat to the traditional egg yolk element. It is served with rye crisps.
The cuisine is not limited to continental influences, the menu also offers something on the lines of Sichuan beef ($15), sprinkled with cashews that are something more than token players. Nuts make a significant buttery contribution to a mixture of beef, broccolini, and puffed rice (like cereal). It doesn’t quite come together, despite the best efforts of a binding, slow-burning chili oil.
For main course options, the menu includes a diverse selection ranging from a plant-based Bucatini starter to a homemade pie. The Duck breast smoked with tea ($31) provides much of the delicate bird (well, delicate in culinary context), infused with a complex flavor of smoky tea leaf through the brewing process. It’s paired with the house version of a salad niçoise – tender greens sprinkled with egg, potatoes, olives and a concentrated sun-dried tomato punch.*
You can’t have a rooftop operation without a sturdy bar, and Goodale Station meets that requirement with a glitzy menu of cocktails ranging from the traditional (Margarita) to something on the lines of a Fantasy Nancybased on a soothing vodka infused with chamomile and finished with elements such as elderflower liqueur, lemon and yuzu.
Goodale Station is at the top of 77 E. Nationwide Blvd. It is open daily at 4 p.m. and serves Sunday brunch from 10 a.m.
For more information, visit goodalestation.com.
All photos by Susan Post
(Editor’s note: The photos were taken at a different time to the review and due to the seasonality of the Goodale Station menu the duck breast was no longer available. The fall menu includes the Short Rib (pictured above), monkfish, mushroom ramen and more.)