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Restaurant Review: City Egg

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott Restaurant Review: City EggPhoto by Walker Evans.
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It’s early in the game, but City Egg is thinking in terms of plurals. Its website is already CityEggRestaurants.com (with an “s”) and it displays a “locations” button at the top of the page.

But really, there’s just one City Egg. And it launched in June in Columbus on the northwest side. City Egg is a breakfast and lunch project from the Scramblers people, an Ohio chain that also specializes in morning and mid-day fare.

The menu at City Egg veers toward traditional breakfast foods, but the ordering process is on the nouveau side. Following the latest fast-food trends, placing an order is a DIY project; it’s a little like walking into a giant vending machine. You find a terminal, you make order selections, you pay with your visa, and you wait for your order to be prepared. One month in, and a lot of diners seem to have mastered the system like pros. A staffer is stationed at the terminals to offer hand-holding for first-timers or slow learners. As a first-timer, extensive hand-holding was needed.

The food comes out pretty quickly. As you might imagine, the timing is somewhere between Bob Evans and Wendy’s.

Dessert first, and that’s Pancakes ($5), right? An order yields four fluffy, saucer-sized cakes that readily absorb sweet syrup and melted butter. They cut easy, and the pile is big enough to provide a satisfying breakfast of sugar champions. The computer terminal will offer up customization options, so you can go crazy and add stuff like cranberries, bananas, and granola, if that’s your bag.

There’s also one of those everything bucket/bowl monster meals: Uncle Moose ($8) is a layer of hash browns, generously populated with diced chunks of sausage and bacon and ham, topped with cheese and two eggs cooked as you like with options that include scrambled, dippy, and over hard. The latter were aptly prepared, crowning a surprisingly manageable mass of food.

A little nutrition comes into play in the sandwich zone. The Capital Sandwich ($4) starts with a whole grain English Muffin that contributes a signature chewy nuttiness to the combo. Inside is an appealing, traditional melange of melted cheese, egg and a split link of sausage that is formidably sized.

Even more nutrition comes to play in the quinoa bowls. The menu veers sharply away from classic breakfast fare with a few options that involve quinoa. Case in point: City Egg Quinoa ($8.50). It’s probably an acquired taste. Armed with only spinach, tomatoes, peppers, egg and the aforementioned grain, it has a hard time competing with items that are smothered in cheese or syrup. The printed menu mentioned something about cranberries and nuts in the mix too. Those were absent, but that seems like a good thing.

Fruit Bowl ($2): meh. It’s probably a hit-or-miss thing, depending on what’s available. The melon had no flavor and the pineapple, though fresh, wasn’t sweet. Grapes couldn’t save it, so it’s best for the crowd that favors function over flavor.

Back at the order terminal, guests have the options to customize almost every item on the menu, a nice perk for control freaks. You can give it a whirl at 1478 Bethel Road.

For more information, visit cityeggrestaurants.com.

All photos by Walker Evans.

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