Wolfgang Puck may have ushered in our era of celebrity chefs and he has run with that making his name by putting it everywhere he can think, including a chain of fast casual restaurants. In Columbus he has one on Lane ave (as well as another in the airport one of my earlier introductions).
Anytime you send a dish off to be mass produced you are going to run into difficulties, the worker making it might be a bit laxidazical and with their meager salary less then enthused to put the effort in that truly great cooking often demands. This must be thought out in advance and combated, but this can be difficult when you are attempting to avoid prefab food that comes from the freezer.
The layout of the Express locations is well done, there is some nice seating options, including a bar that faces the open kitchen and the open cooking fireplace.
I ordered the half rosemary chicken with famous garlic mashed potatoes, this came with a caesar salad. The salad greens were high quality (i.e. seemed fresh, clean and had some flavor for romaine) the dressing was a very thick caesar that wouldn’t coat the salad and would leave it being over/under -dressed depending on the bite.
You may question my choice of entree, rather than the sandwiches with lots of gimicky flavors, but I thought that the simplicity of a roast chicken would test the concept in their ability to deliver on a staple, simple, item. The flavoring was off, the meat was dry and stringy and I observed that the chicken had been roasted earlier, and then reheated when I ordered that led possibly to the overdoneness. The garlic mashed potatoes were disappointing as well, their taste and texture didn’t have what great mashed potatoes have – a velvety experience that tastes of fresh potatoes, it was rather uninspired and surprisingly i didn’t have interest in finishing them.
Unfortunately as you may have guessed this place is disappointing (based on only a few sampling of their fare) but from what i’ve tried they haven’t earned a repeat trip.