Restaurant review: Brunch at CBC is great right out of the gate

G.A. Benton, Columbus Alive

Changes are foaming up at the Columbus Brewing Company, and they are all good. Not so good is the "Lucky us, construction season is in bloom" obstacle course currently separating diners from CBC. I'm strongly advising you not to let these minor detours deter you from enjoying CBC's great-outta-the-gate weekend brunch.

Served Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (it was formerly closed then), CBC's something-for-every-appetite brunch menu includes established popular items like burgers, seafood (lump crab, salmon, tilapia), house-roasted chicken and pulled pork plus plenty of Asian- and Cajun-inflected entree salads and sandwiches. New on that list are several Mexican-inspired and waffle-accompanied, brunch-only dishes.

Also shaking things up is a line of what I like to call Webb "It's my first one today" Pierce libations ($8). This doesn't mean you should resist CBC's crisp brews, just that you might share a beer and amixed drink with a good friend. Or yourself.

After being seated - I recommend lounging on the red and plastic-windowed, tented-from-the-elements patio - pick a starter like long, crackly beer-battered Asparagus Fries ($8, with rich Sriracha ranch sauce) then select the quaff best suiting your mood. There's a slew of distinct, top-notch Bloody Marys to choose from like the: Chef's - revivifying, light and starring a homemade Southwestern-ish green chili mix that's more zesty than spicy; Smokey - rich, thick and wafting smoked paprika; Mary's Sure "Fire" Cure - a fiery addiction that'll melt any hangover ... and tongue.

Listed under "Fizzys," Jimmy's Hangover Cure looked equally promising, but reading its foofy ingredients (blueberry vodka and peach schnapps) unnerved me. Fortunately, the blueberry puree-led flavor of this pretty-in-garnet, prosecco-ed refresher resolved itself on a pleasantly bitter note.

I'm resolved to order the Chicken and Waffle again ($12). Arriving in a nutty-tasting, brunch-appropriate cornflakes batter was a perfectly fried (crunchy and un-greasy crust; juicy and tender meat) XXL-sized breast piece perched atop a thick and crispy grid-cake. This comes with a bowl of cinnamon-scented cooked apples plus genuine maple syrup; just add house hot sauce for brunchy bliss.

You could think of CBC's Huevos Rancheros ($11) as a three layered cake in which each simple tier contributed synergistically - but definitely think of it. From top to bottom, it's built with "frostings" of smoked chili and house cheddar cheese sauces, a cheese omelet, corn tortillas plus Southwestern-flavored black beans. Adding excellent support are redskin potatoes perked-up with peppers and onions.

That nifty "hash" likewise accompanies the pleasing if not enormous Santa Fe Breakfast Burrito ($11). It contains shaved ham, tangy cheese sauce, scramblers, tickly pico de gallo and salsa plus discs of sage-y sausage.

Juicy, comforting and big-ass bratwurst-y housemade sausage links played a major role in the winning Brewer's Benedict ($13). While my "spiced tomato hollandaise" only tasted buttery, the two "Benedict-ized" eggs were properly poached, and I enjoyed their fluffy, homey and hefty biscuits, which stood in for industry-standard pre-made English muffins. For fun, a bowl of those fine cooked apples was included too.

For an over-the-top midday dessert that'll push tons of sweet tooth buttons, it's hard to beat CBC's Mexi-Pan "Mexican French Toast." Four puffy and eggy pan-darkened brioche slices were sprinkled with cinnamon, drizzled in caramel sauce and dolloped with whipped cream. Supplying the crowning glory - and getting your calorie count where it likes to be - was a cornflake-battered and fried (though not as crisply as that killer chicken) scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

Columbus Brewing Company Restaurant

525 Short St., Brewery District