Spiciest Dish in Columbus Series: Yats
If Cajun or Creole food is what you seek, look no further.
Tucked away on the main strip of Grandview Ave sits Yats, a counter-serve restaurant currently doing takeout and delivery. With a board for daily specials and daily standards, Yats keeps it fresh and is also pretty fast. The Lady of the Farm frequented Yats quite a bit when she worked down that way, but I had only had the pleasure of eating their food once before. While out doing some deliveries of our own, we swung by to see how it would stack on our list.
To the Lady of the Farm’s dismay, and being a Yats n00b, I asked for whatever their highest spice level was. I was informed that they don’t adjust the heat level per order, which I appreciated. A restaurant that sticks to their guns and says “this is our spice level, so take it or leave it” is more interested in the flavor profiles they’ve created than allowing idiots like me to sweat more. The Red Beans with Smoked Sausage is a classic New Orleans dish of slow cooked red beans and smoked sausage (it’s in the middle in the above picture). With large chunks of smoked sausage, the combo of flavors hits really nicely.
This was an interesting dish, but a favorite of the Lady of the Farm. The Chicken Maque Choux is a spicy and sweet étoufée with carmelized corn and chicken. Definitely picked up a lot on the sweetness and it was almost like a more rich, sweet cornbread that you would eat with a spoon. The roux is thick and the chicken is nice and tender. As it was one of her favorites, I slid it back to my spicy counterpart after taking a bite.
The golden glow of the Chili Cheese Étoufée with Crawfish called out and because my brain makes weird connections, I pictured a cajun version of Sonic the Hedgehog chowing down on this dish (why did he like chili cheese dogs?). It’s a smoother blend of ingredients and once again the main protein added was noticeable due to its larger chunks. Heavy on the cheese, this was one of my favorites from Yats and I could definitely see myself eating more tubs of this than is probably healthy, but you know what they say “live fast, leave a cheese-filled corpse behind.”
Remember how I mentioned they don’t adjust their spice levels? The woman behind the bar informed me that they couldn’t change the spice levels but they did have some hot sauce they could give me. She also mentioned it was one of the hottest that existed. I chuckled to myself thinking I was about to get a vial of Crystal hot sauce (as I’d seen it on the menu), but then I saw her working with a 4oz bottle she’d gotten out of the fridge. “What’s that?” I asked, “it’s Da Bomb Ground Zero, a drop or two should be good enough.” I shuddered a bit, knowing that it was an extract sauce and knowing that it was indeed one of the spiciest. I came to learn later on, that before COVID, a gentleman who frequented Yats would put 8-10 drops of this on his food and barely feel it. Whomever that spice lord is, we feel like we need to meet him. Anyway, as you can glean from the video above it’s pretty brutal and “straight up murders you.” Honestly I’m glad I waited until I’d gone through most of the dishes before trying it and feel like it would have been doing Yats a disservice. Thanks for blowing me up fam.
With our order we ended up with about 100 pieces of Cajun Bread and couldn’t have been happier. It’s buttery bread with cajun spices and there’s not a better way to explain it other than it’s delicious and you should stop whatever you’re doing to go get some right now.
From the picture above you can see our pie chart is 25% full of Drunk Chicken futures. Of the four dishes we tried, the Drunk Chicken stood out as the dish with the most kick. A spicy stew of shredded chicken, rosemary, garlic, crushed red pepper, beer and bread crumbs, it does look like a drunk chicken if it stumbled it’s way into a spice store and tripped into a grinder. The thickness and mix of the spices is amazing and something I could see myself eating every day. It’s holds a rich tapestry (never saying that again) of cajun flavors that really pop with the chicken. Beer adds a bit of an earthy taste in this dish and the red pepper rides along, waiting until the end of a bite to add some heat. While it’s noticeable, the heat isn’t all that powerful, nor does it need to be and peaks out pretty quick.
As a flavorful dish, this ranks pretty high, but as a spicy dish this lands on our list at #44, below Helen’s Asian Kitchen Stir-Fried Cauliflower and above Sushi Ten’s Dynamite Roll. Reminder, we are not factoring in Da Bomb at all in this decision. If you’re looking for good Creole or Cajun dishes, Yats is a great spot to get your fix and is only one of a few spots in Columbus offering dishes like this. We definitely recommend trying them out if you get the chance.
You can find Yats at 1386 Grandview Ave, Columbus, OH 43212.
Look below for more in our spiciest dish in Columbus series and hit us up if you have any suggestions that are not already on our list!
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