Brunch season: Luce

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Atmosphere: Luce Enoteca is a unique and terrific upscale-casual wine bar/Italianate restaurant out in Powell. Inside, its spacious two rooms are decked out with Chihuly-esque lighting fixtures, local art and a welcoming hearth.

Luce's interior is pretty, but its brunch-serving patio is flat-out spectacular (Note: The patio opens and brunch service begins the Sunday before Mother's Day).

When in full fair-weather season, this Tuscan villa-like building's wide exterior arches are embellished with bristling and twisting evergreens, bright potted plants and a wild cascading flow of electric-fuschia-tinted petunias.

It's a jazz brunch, by the way, and when the excellent professional musicians get blowing, you might feel - at least for a moment - like you've been transported off to Napa Valley.

Food: Luce's pretty brunchtime plates are not at all limited to eggy iterations. So sure, there's a rich and hefty Italian omelet but also sweet and salty Salmon Crepes and an unusual, pasta-free rendition of Eggplant Parmesan. The luscious latter features a comforting batter and Luce's tangy tomato sauce fused with gooey, melty cheese into a free swinging, almost stew-like concoction.

Sweet stuff: Luce's French Toast is the brunch menu's heavy hitter. Three long lobes of good house bread arrive crispy-crusted and capped by a lovely, cinnamon-kissed, fluffy mascarpone creme smartly partnered with a just-tart fruit compote. Highly recommended.

Don't miss: Luce serves up an intriguing and spicy Bloody Mary that rides in horseradish-heavy and breaks off with an unexpected curve of curry.