We admit freely that we were not terribly impressed with our initial breakfast-time visit to The Crest a couple months after its initial opening in 2013. There were a number of factors in play at this time, including the copious hype that came with its initial opening, those who wished the no-frills watering hole this eatery replaced (The Crest Tavern) was still around, the ironing out the kinks in regard to timely service (granted, that wasn't easy considering the initial crush of interested diners) and visibly harried servers, and food that didn't quite seem to live up to the price we paid. We made the decision then to come back after a few months to see if they had found their legs.
As it turned out, our intent of just a few months for our next visit ended up being more like a couple years. That was definitely not the goal, but eventually enough sightings of a less-than-packed front parking lot, the implementation of brunch service (our favorite meal to enjoy together,) as well as the opening of The Crest's well-received second location on Parsons Avenue close to the Nationwide Children's Hospital campus got it through our heads that it was time to give the eatery a second chance.
One immediate thing we noticed was the much more visually-pleasing aspect of The Crest's exterior space: there's nothing like leaving your car and viewing natty planter boxes filled with blossoming produce, which goes with the eatery's long-stated goals of self-sustainability and reducing their business' overall environmental impact. Our memory might be a little hazy, but the restaurant's seating layout also seemed to be a bit more space-conscious, allowing a bit more breathing room between dining parties both outside and inside. A partially covered patio was also a welcome enhancement to the property.
On these return visits, we've enjoyed the much more relaxed vibe within, with much more engaging and friendly servers. The menu, which sports a collection of seasonal and flagship items, contains nicely pleasant fare, including their Pork Belly Breakfast Burrito (with large chunks of pork belly enhancing a fairly standard preparation), the open-faced Cured Salmon sandwich, and the Apple Bacon Steak Skillet (a lovely sweet and savory combo including involving a thick cut of bacon, apples, eggs, onion straws and a peach BBQ sauce.) Toss in breakfast cocktails as well as one of the more unique ways to fry up hash browns (this hockey puck construct has a great combo of crisp and fluff), The Crest has been added to our rotation of "don't want to think about it too hard" brunch eateries.
We admit we have a lot more exploring to do with The Crest, and ideally we'd like to expand our visits to include their excellent craft beer selection and beer-related events as well as their dinner service. Who knows - maybe enough late night drives by their parking lot after a Studio 35 movie showing (we always seem surprised that the Crest keeps itself open so late...1 AM on weekends and 12 midnight on all another nights) will do the trick, and in a lot shorter time than it did between initial and second visits to boot.
The Crest Gastropub
2855 Indianola Ave (Clintonville - Google Maps)
Columbus, OH 43202
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