Eating Out With Kids: A Dining Review of Coast to Local Market

Fresh seafood is the star of a small but mighty menu at this North Market vendor.

Melissa Kossler Dutton
A Cajun shrimp po’boy with coleslaw and chips, and an order of lobster mac ’n’ cheese, from Coast to Local Market

Melissa Kossler Dutton and her family, including sons Nick, 17, and Alex, 15, visited Coast to Local Market, a seafood purveyor in the North Market Downtown.

In addition to selling fresh seafood, the business also operates a small on-site restaurant, as well as a second location at the North Market Bridge Park.

The Mom Says…

With a trip planned to the Big Easy for a family wedding at the end of year, the boys and I have been talking about all the restaurants we want try in New Orleans. We’re looking forward to visiting the French Quarter and eating po’boy sandwiches and other seafood dishes.

After spending so much time discussing our favorite seafood meals, we decided to see what we could find locally to tide us over until the trip. We headed to the North Market Downtown to check out Coast to Local Market, which opened a little more than a year ago as Coastal Local Seafood. While most of the vendor’s space is dedicated to selling fresh seafood imported from around the world, they also serve food at a small counter with a few stools.

As soon as we sat down, a staff member greeted us and eagerly asked for our order. We decided to share a cup of lobster bisque ($6) and the lobster mac ’n’ cheese ($15). The bisque arrived piping hot. Texture is everything in a bisque, and Coast to Local Market nailed it. The soup had a velvety texture that complemented its rich taste. Although it was made with caramelized lobster butter and lobster stock, the bisque did not taste fishy. It was a great balance of seafood and cream.

The lobster mac ’n’ cheese also offered a great pairing of flavors. Fresh chives added a nice zing to the dish’s rich base. Made with gouda cheese and a bechamel sauce—a traditional French sauce that uses a roux of butter and flour with milk—the mac ’n’ cheese was decadent but not too rich to enjoy. Since we shared it as an appetizer, I think we were all left wanting more.

For my main course, I order the Connecticut lobster roll ($24). I really enjoyed it. But after trying my husband’s Cajun shrimp po’boy ($17) and Alex’s Maine lobster roll ($24), made with cold lobster salad, I decided that green vegetables made a tasty addition to the market’s sandwiches. The po’boy benefitted from the crunch and freshness provided by lettuce and pickles, and the Maine roll’s celery and cucumber provided the same pop. The shrimp, which the vendor told us was wild-caught from Argentina, was lightly dusted with a delicious cornmeal breading. A vibrant Cajun aioli completed the sandwich.

All the food we tried was fresh and delicious, and I know we will back. Eating at the bustling North Market was also a fun change from a traditional sit-down restaurant.

Lobster mac ’n’ cheese from Coast to Local Market, with a Cajun shrimp po’boy in the background

Nick Says…

Although I am not much of a seafood fan, I was excited to go to Coast to Local Market. The North Market is a place I always enjoy visiting, even though it has been a few years since our last trip.

When we arrived, the man working behind the counter was extremely friendly. I ordered fish and chips ($15) and sampled the lobster mac ’n’ cheese and lobster bisque. The soup came out first, and it was warm and creamy. The flavor was made up of the rich taste of lobster and cream, and it also had an echo of corn. Overall, it was really good, the flavors paired well, and it was a delicious appetizer.

Next was the mac ’n’ cheese. The soft noodles and smoky cheese paired excellently with the juicy lobster. The chives that top the dish also gave hints of a nice, sharp, green flavor.

For my main meal, I ordered the fish and chips. The fish—Lake Erie perch—was nice and moist. The crunchy breading was a perfect texture and had a nice flavor that complemented the mild fish. The fish was really good when dipped in the tartar sauce. I normally don’t like tartar sauce, but I figured I should try it. I loved it! It was smooth and creamy and added a lot of great flavor to the fish.

The fries, or “chips” as one might traditionally call them, were very good. They were flavored with a mix of herbs and were hard to put down. They were a perfect golden brown, both skinny and crunchy. They went very well with ketchup and tartar sauce.

The last thing I want to mention is the service. About halfway through our meal, out of nowhere, the man working the booth brought me over free shrimp. I don’t know why—we never tell people we are reviewing them. The shrimp were the same as the ones on my dad’s po’boy. They were ginormous and juicy with a crisp breading—probably the best shrimp I have ever eaten. Every interaction I had with the staff was pleasant.

Overall, Coast to Local Market was extremely delicious and is highly recommended. From the food to the service, it really is a great place that is a must if you love seafood.

Coast to Local Market's Maine lobster roll

Alex Says…

I was very excited to try Coast to Local Market as I’m a very big seafood and shellfish person. Though I often feel like the work of eating lobster isn’t worth the little meat you get, that wasn’t the case here because all the lobster was out of its shell and in some sort of delicious meal.

Since I had play practice that day and my parents brought my dinner home, I ordered the Maine lobster roll ($24) because I thought it would travel well. The “roll” is a sandwich filled with cold lobster cut into small pieces. The restaurant didn’t skimp on the seafood. The bun was bursting with lobster. The sandwich had a really nice balance, as the fresh dill and crunchy cucumber helped to provide an excellent contrast to the rich lobster. The bun also worked with the other flavors and provided some crunch and butter flavor to the lobster. The sandwich came with fries, which were very nice and crispy as well as being seasoned to perfection with a mix of herbs and garlic.

The lobster bisque was very good. It was nice and rich with good lobster flavor and didn’t have any sort of fishy taste. The lobster mac ’n’ cheese was also really good, with massive chunks of lobster scattered throughout, making for a cheesy and delicious combo.

Coast to Local Market is a great place for lobster lovers and future lobster lovers alike, providing a taste of the coast right here in Central Ohio.

Ian Holmes, the owner of Coast to Local Market, at his shop in the North Market Downtown

The Details: Coast to Local Market

North Market Downtown, 59 Spruce St., Columbus; 614-929-5701

North Market Bridge Park, 6750 Longshore St., Dublin; 614-683-8782

coasttolocalmarket.com 

Hours: Varies by location

Prices: The menu is small but includes a variety of seafood options—mostly shrimp and lobster—served in generous portions. Several soups are offered, and meals range from $15 to $24. The fish and chips is usually Lake Erie perch, but note that fries are only on the menu at the Downtown location. Dublin serves potato chip “crisps” instead.

What They Thought About Their Visit

The Food

Mom: Great

Nick: Good

Alex: Great

The Service

Mom: Great

Nick: Great

Alex: n/a

Favorite Bites

Mom: Cajun shrimp po’boy

Nick: Lobster mac ’n’ cheese

Alex: Maine lobster roll

This story is from the Winter 2021 issue of Columbus Parent.