Hot on the heels of the opening of his Worthington location Joya’s Cafe, Chef Avishar Barua opens his latest restaurant Agni this week! Named after the Hindu god of fire, Agni focuses on cooking with live fire, which means lots of smoking, grilling, and otherwise having fun with fire.
Agni takes up residence in the former South High Street space of Ambrose & Eve, which sadly closed during the pandemic. The building has been remodeled which retains the same general layout and homely touches of the previous tenant.
Throughout, you’ll find nods to Avishar’s Bengali and Midwestern heritage, imbued with the sense of playfulness that permeates his cooking.
The beverage menu includes wines by the glass and bottle and a collection of cocktails that are fun updates to classic libations. Pictured here are the Cubra Libre and Jack + Coke.
The Jack + Coke, for example, takes its two namesake ingredients and adds some tamarind and a hint of smoke.
I won’t describe everything on the menu, because it will surely change over time. But it is currently structured as a tasting menu. Each place in your reservation will receive several courses, with little surprises and additions along the way.
But suffice it to say, we love eating Avishar’s food, from his long-ago adventures at Veritas in Delaware to his stint at the helm of the Service Bar kitchen to Joya’s Cafe, which we must actively resist visiting every day.
During the friends and family preview, we managed to say hi to the chef, who graciously risked burning himself by standing in front of the hot grill.
Live-fire cooking like this is taking off in Columbus, with places like FYR at the Hilton Tower, Nomad at Polaris and nearby Hiraeth from the owners of Chapman’s. These specialty grills feature movable shelves so chefs can smoke, fry, grill, and more.
Agni has a small chef’s table that overlooks the grill. It’s sure to be a tough seat to reserve, though keep in mind that the grill puts out a lot of heat.
As you walk down the hall to the back of the restaurant (and you absolutely should see the murals in the bathrooms), you’ll see into the kitchen.
Again, I won’t describe everything here, but you can be sure there’s plenty to enjoy, with dishes that start out familiar but take surprising or inventive twists.
And of course, you’ll find amazing desserts that draw on familiar flavors if you know Avishar.
I’m sure you can say that even after one visit, we wholeheartedly recommend Agni. We’ve been fans of Avishar for a long time so it was an easy sell, but after years of knocking it out of the park at local restaurants, representing Columbus with pride. upper headdoing amazing things at Joya’s – it really works, and dining at Columbus is so much better.
(And if you’ve never been to Joya’s, you can read about it here , and then you must visit for a kati roll or fried rice or double cheesy crisp or breakfast sandwich or everything!)
Agni is currently open Wednesday through Sunday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Reservations can be booked through their site: dineatagni.com/reservations
716 S. High St.
Columbus, OH 43206