de-NOVO bistro & bar (Facebook)
201 S. High St. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43215
Open Mon-Fri, 8a-10p (bfast served till 11a); Sat & Sun, brunch served 8a-3p
Accepts cash & credit/debit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Date of Visit: Monday, July 23, 2012 at 9:00 a.m.
IMPRESSIONS: On the surface, de-NOVO seems like a snappy, cluttered, downtown, after-hours hangout. And maybe it really is those things. After all, it sports a lavishly decorated bar, lots of cab tables with little candles, racks of wine bottles, and huge chandeliers. But would you be surprised to learn that they also serve a wonderful breakfast… starting at 7 a.m… on weekdays? I’ll admit that I was.
Mrs. Breakfast With Nick and I found ourselves downtown on a Monday morning – a Monday, for goodness’ sake – and made our way to de-NOVO’s slim storefront on High Street, overlooking the Columbus Commons.
de-NOVO’s interior, much like their website, can be best described as eclectic. Tall chandeliers, antlers, branches, modern seating, a backlit glass bar, two TVs, shelves full of stuff… this place has got everything! It certainly gives you something to look at, but it’s hard to see a real through-line to the design.
But big lighting with tree branches seems to be a motif.
We did love the local artwork on the walls. Large scale, very colorful. Fitting for the design aesthetic.
FOOD: It was early, and it was Monday, so first: coffee. Two big mugs, plus a box of the sweet stuff, plus a cup of chilled creamer. Our server said they serve one of Seattle’s Best’s blends. It was very good, but I’d love to see a local brew there, especially something from Cafe Brioso or One Line Coffee nearby.
One way of dealing with Mondays is to drink a Bloody Mary. We didn’t have a lot on the docket for the day, so we decided to try one. It was light and spicy. I’ve come to appreciate that a good Bloody Mary isn’t supposed to be thick and heavy like a glass of V8, but instead is a crispy and refreshing beverage, very appropriate for starting your day, whether it’s at 7am or 2pm.
My wife ordered the truffle mushroom omelet, with comes with shitake mushrooms, shallots, truffle oil, and boursin cheese. The eggs were done just right, and the whole omelet just came together very well. Overall lighter flavoring, but the mushrooms really shone through. I’ll be honest: I’m not usually an omelet fan (too many bad omelets will do that to you), but this one I could really get behind. Good creamy texture from the boursin as well.
I went with the chorizo gravy and biscuits. It’s a very flavorful meal. The chorizo gravy is rich, meaty, and a bit smoky, with just the right amount of bite to it. The biscuits themselves are dense but still very moist. It’s a very filling dish, but I really enjoyed every bite of it. I like that they did something interesting with biscuits and gravy, too. Both meals came with a side of de-NOVO’s griddle browns, which are essentially home fries. But they were nice and crispy on the outside without being dry, and were served with homemade ketchup. It’s a bit on the sweet side, and a little tangy, but a great complement to the browns. I just wanted to keep eating them and eating them.
SERVICE: Because we were the only people in the restaurant, we naturally got very personal, attentive service. Our server, who was also the host, kept the coffee refilled and answered our questions, plus our food came out quickly. I’m telling you, if you want a nice, quiet breakfast downtown, this might be your place.
OVERALL: I can’t speak to their lunch, dinner, and bar service, but in terms of breakfast there’s a lot to recommend de-NOVO. The menu offers the very basics (you could just get some eggs and bacon, if you want), but it gives you more creative options, too, like creme brulee French toast, crepes, a crab cake benedict. The decor is a little all-over-the-place, but it’s better than bland cream colors. And if Columbus has another interesting spot for the breakfast – especially downtown – I’m all for it!
Side note: I do think they need a better website. Too much flash, difficult to navigate.