Brunch review: Playful favorites at The Whitney House

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Since its opening, The Whitney House has walked the fine line of serving an upscale brunch apropos of its Olde Worthington digs while also offering a meal that's casual and quirky enough to appeal broadly.

Perhaps the best examples of this are the restaurant's boozy cereals ($7). The combined breakfast and drink takes a cup of cereal like Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Trix and offers diners a small glass of milk and alcohol to mix with it. For instance, the Cinnamon Toast Crunch gets blended with spiced rum and Brothers Drake apple pie mead, while Trix get a healthy dash of citrus vodka, elderflower liqueur and blackberry syrup. While the texture may throw off some not used to chewing a cocktail, it makes for a special adults-only throwback to favorite breakfast cereals.

It's also telling of the attitude of Whitney House-an eatery that isn't afraid to have a little fun with the classics.

The beautiful presentation continues from the boozy cereals to a range of brunch dishes. Patrons with more traditional tastes may prefer the French Ohio toast ($11) or the steak and eggs ($14). Both are notable for their plating and for solid execution. The steak is served wonderfully tender, while the French toast is sliced thick and custardy in the middle. Other items like the bologna sandwich ($11) or the adult grilled cheese ($10) with tomato jam and caramelized onions hearken back to childhood favorites as well.

Real stand-outs of The Whitney House's brunch are the more adventurous dishes. The chilaquiles ($11) comes in a sizable serving, layering chips with shredded chili-braised pork shoulder, jalapeno slices, guacamole and two fried eggs. The ramen ($12) uses the same pork and tosses it in a miso broth along with shrimp and abundant vegetables. Finally, the brunch farrotto ($10) is a generous bowl of farro grains cooked risotto-style with mushrooms, asparagus and a poached egg. All three dishes are filling and colorfully plated.

Rounding out The Whitney House's brunch is a solid menu of wines, Ohio beers and enjoyable cocktails, like a rich Bloody Mary or The Laura Jean with gin, wheat ale, pineapple syrup, rosemary and orange bitters.