Brunch review: Mouton

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

What kind of a heaving nitwit thinks it's a brilliant idea to have Sunday brunch in a joint without a kitchen? My kind, of course. Why? Two words: Mouton cocktails.

Yeah, I know an all-liquid Sunday brunch isn't the brightest strategy for stylishly gliding into Sunday evening - or Monday morning - but booze is what drew me to Mouton's new brunch service. See, I figured a place that makes such great and fastidiously concocted cocktails would be able to pull together some nifty brunch munchies, too. Turns out I was right.

Here, though, I feel I should wave a disclaimer at you. Since Mouton is kitchenless, its five-item brunch is curated, not cooked. This means if you're in the mood for hearty, eggs-and-bacon-type food, this isn't the place to go.

No, what you're going to get at Mouton is beautiful ingredients procured from enlightened farmers and food artists. These are assembled to order into a striking salad and/or a few sandwiches like you might eat in a fancy European bar.

Before describing the food here, I want to steer you toward Mouton's wonderful cappuccino ($3). Made with Cafe Brioso beans and Snowville Creamery whole milk, it strikes a rare and righteous balance between pleasantly bitter and sweet and foamy. Highly recommended.

Unsurprisingly, both cocktails I tried were inspired. Curiously working with a "Day of the Dead" theme (maybe it's because I was there the morning after the non-Rapture), these libations were: a lovely and lemony Bloody Mary ($9) garnished with terrific truffle-scented salami plus a sprig of fresh dill; and a semi-sweet, citrus, chocolate and vanilla unlikely winner called The Aztec Orange ($11), made with OYO Honey Vanilla vodka, Cointreau and chocolate bitters.

The most viscerally pleasing item I ate was that oddest of oxymorons, the elegant bologna sandwich. Quickly shooting onto my favorite new sandwich list, it's Mouton's Mortadella Roll ($8) and it uses thinly shaved sublime meat from famed Italian salami maker Cristiano Creminelli; a rich and deep golden aioli plus intense and jammy oven-dried tomatoes from the Commonwealth Sandwich Bar people; and a superb Rigsby's olive oil bun. A must!

Nibbling on the stunning Farmer Jones Salad ($12) was like eating a bouquet. Built leaf-by-leaf, and by necessity eaten that way, it was packed with gorgeous edible flowers, pristine greens, rare baby root vegetables and daubs of tangy goat cheese. Barely tossed in an "oil-less" Sauternes and strawberry dressing (also the creation of Commonwealth), it's as least as much an intellectual feast as a physical nosh.

Savoring an incredible Pistacia Vera croissant spread with subtle ricotta cheese and drizzled with Ohio honey ($7) is a fittingly graceful note to end on here.

Go early:


954 N. High St., Short North