Good dining experiences aren’t hard to find in this city.
We are lucky to have some really delicious restaurants. But great dining experiences, that kind of meal that causes you to tell everyone else to go try it too, aren’t as common.
That’s exactly what happened to me after dining at Joya’s Cafe in Worthington.
Joya’s is the latest endeavor for Chef Avishar Barua. Barua first shot to the top of the food scene here in Columbus during his time as executive chef at Service Bar. While Columbus got the chef all to ourselves for a while, he quickly made a name for himself on a national level while competing on Top Chef.
Now, the first of Barua’s newest projects has opened. Joya’s is a daytime cafe, serving Bengali-American cuisine alongside a selection of coffee and teas.
The cafe, located at 657 High Street in Worthington, is a warm and inviting space. From the rough-hewn beams overhead to the modern seating and lighting fixtures, Joya’s manages to balance the old and the new perfectly.
The menu at Joya’s may be small, but it is mighty. I had already heard wonderful things about the breakfast sandwich, so you can only imagine my disappointment when I arrived too late on Sunday to find that they had already sold out. But in a way, it was fate.
After much careful consideration, we decided to try the Joya’s Fried Rice and the Cheesy Double Crunch Tacos. After placing our order, we had the option of dining inside or outside. We opted to take a seat at the bar area.
Visiting on a Sunday morning meant that there was a steady stream of customers for nearly the entire time we were there. While our food did take slightly longer than expected, the wait was definitely worth it.
First up, let’s talk about the Cheesy Double Crunch Tacos. Just as delightful as the Cheesy Double Crunch that Barua is known for, this special take on that iconic dish was filling, flavorful, and perfectly crunchy.
When you see something listed as cheesy, you never know exactly what that means, but I can assure you (and provided photographic evidence) that you will not find yourself wishing for more cheese.
Now, it’s time to talk about the dish I’ll be dreaming about until I return to Joya’s: the Fried Rice. Topped with three times cooked bacon, crispy chicken nuggets, wok fried egg, caramelized soy sauce, sambal, and rice crisps, this dish was so full of flavor, so mind-blowingly perfect, that I’m almost struggling to put into words just how incredible it really was.
If you’re looking to add a little kick, you can order your fried rice “Danny’s way.” I kept it simple but I still found that there was pleasant heat to the dish.
In addition to the menu items, visitors will also find a variety of coffee, teas, pastries, and desserts available at the check-out counter.
Earlier we mentioned that this was the first of Chef Barua’s newest concepts. The second is called Agni. Named after the god of fire in Hinduism, the new space will be located on the other end of High Street in the Brewery District. Inspired by Midwestern backyard barbeques, Barua wants the restaurant to feel like you’re going to a friend’s house for a cookout.
“Like when you go to your friend’s house, and there’s someone torching burgers, drinking beer. It’s so much fun, that experience,” Barua told Columbus Monthly earlier this summer. “If I can recreate that in a restaurant, I think that’d be something uniquely Columbus or uniquely Midwestern.”
While we wait for Agni to open at 716 S. High St., we can all get our fill at Joya’s. The cafe is located at 657 High Street in the heart of Old Worthington. To stay up to date with what’s going on at Joya’s you can give them a follow over on Instagram.