I travel for work on fall weekends and often get the chance to explore fun and interesting restaurants in large and small cities.

I haven’t come across but perhaps one better than Tucci’s Wood-Fired Grill in the Columbus, Ohio, suburb of Dublin. I found it through a simple internet search and am thankful now more than ever before for Google!

I joined two friends for dinner on the patio on a beautiful and cool October evening that proved as nice a dinner as I’ve had in a long time. I started with a glass of A to Z Pinot Gris from Oregon. The nice citrus-based Gris with very mild acidity, at $9a glass, was a wonder aperitif.

My appetizer was amazing seared scallops. Four small scallops on a bed of salad along with a crazy-good sweet and sour mustard vinaigrette. For dinner I selected the house special that night, a Honolulu Ono – a firm white fish that is a bit flakey.

Tucci’s gets its fresh seafood from a Honolulu company that catches it, ships it, and then it’s served fresh three days from the ocean. The great thing about the fish, that was frankly a bit over cooked, was the side dishes. The pineapple sauce, portabello mushroom salsa, bambo rice, grilled bok choy and wonderful Taro chips made this one of the more remarkable meals I’ve enjoyed in some time.

I ordered a bottle of Ponzi Pinot Gris for my Ono and my friends’ salmon dish. It as a great pairing with slightly less fruitiness than the A to Z but a little more acidity. A word should be added that this restaurant did not mark up wine 100 percent. The Ponzi wine was $31. Most of the mark-ups appeared to be 50-75 percent.

Overall, a fabulous dinner. But the story doesn’t end there. Earlier this week I was watching the Food Network, a special about the 10 best sweet things in America. The program did a feature on Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, which happens to be in five different locations in Columbus.

We treked just down the street and sampled many. The Reisling-Pear sorbert was crazy good. I ended up buying a very rich and dense dish of chocolate goodness that was decadent beyond all measures.

If you get to Columbus, Ohio, these easy to find spots are just off I-270 on the city’s west side.

By the way, the wine list was off the charts. They featured everything from $20 red and white selections to Opus One.

Send comment or questions to: hewitthoward@gmail.com

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