Mezzo has a lot going for it. The restaurant’s contemporary decor is smart and stylish. Its wine list is the size of a novella and globetrots from Napa to Italy to Australia. Mezzo is an easy drive from anywhere in metro Columbus, and it’s got a prime location in Creekside Gahanna, an upscale retail development with a handsome public plaza. Affording excellent views of the plaza’s dancing fountains and pretty gardens, Mezzo’s awning-shaded dining patio is a perfect spot for people-watching.
Though Mezzo has many of the ingredients for wonderful, white-tablecloth dinners, the food does not meet the expectations set by its ambience. Mezzo’s vaguely Italian cuisine misses the mark with unfortunate interpretations of classic dishes; the Caprese salad ($8.50) and lasagna ($16) both suffer from too little fresh basil and a too-syrupy balsamic reduction. The best time to hit Mezzo is during weeknight happy hours, when savvy locals take advantage of discounted appetizers and drinks as well as the prix fixe dinner menu for $20.12. A kind of early-bird special, the three-course meals are usually available from 5 to 6:30 p.m., and given Mezzo’s OK food and modest portions, they’re priced about right.