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Restaurant Review: Brunch at Nada

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott Restaurant Review: Brunch at NadaTinga & Fried Egg from Nada — Photos by Walker Evans.
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Weekend Brunch is the time to hit up Nada. First, because you don’t have to fight the crowds. Second, because its brunch menu goes beyond boring-but-fabulous egg and bacon options, and finally, because those Nada options are delicious.

Before a food discussion, it’s best to begin with a discussion of the striking Nada decor. After all, decor is the first thing you experience in any restaurant. The place has a puzzling mix of modern lines, wood stained in unnatural hues, and over-the-top ornate wallpaper. Whoever put all that stuff together has loads of confidence and loads of skill, because somehow it all works. And they don’t play cantina music at Nada, which might be the expected soundtrack. Instead, it’s this weird, bouncy new-agey stuff… like something from an aerobics class.

mac-cheese

It’s all good, especially when the Macaroni and Cheese ($8) appetizer hits the table. Uber-plump shells fairly float around in a drippy, rich cheese sauce. There are a few chunks of peppers in the sauce, which give it a latent heat that builds with every bite. Crowning off the pasta dish are resiliently crunchy, buttery bread crumbs.

french-toast

For the fans of sweet-centric brunches, there is really only one choice: French Toast ($11). It’s a fine lone option; delivering two thick-cut, grilled slices of bread, they sit under the considerable weight of a dollop of whipped cream and a little powdered sugar sprinkle. It has a bananas foster element, with caramelized chunks of bananas bobbling around the landscape. They’re accompanied by a syrup that doesn’t taste terribly maple-ly, in spite of its Canadian origins. All the same, it adds the right sweetness to compliment the bananas.

eggs

There’s a Nada take on Eggs Benedict too: Eggs Benedicto ($12). It’s two grilled English muffin halves, topped with edge-to-edge with slices of avocado, a couple of poached eggs, and a fantastically rich, lemony hollandaise that features bits of crab that make contributions to almost every mouthful.

More meat centric option is the Tinga & Fried Egg ($12 – pictured up top). It starts with poblano rice that’s smothered in a stew of shredded chicken – the stew imparts a flavorful, almost Carribbean cinnamon accent. A big sunny side up egg, primed for stabbing, sits on top.

tacos

For those who prefer to eat lunch at brunch time, Nada also serves traditional tacos. Barbacoa Tacos ($10) feature soft beef short rib punched up with cilantro and pickled onions. There are plenty of other ways to go in the taco department: Nada has versions include salmon, shrimp, pork or chicken also on the menu.

sliders

There’s even some Nada Sliders ($13) on the menu. The little burgers are amped up with jalapeño inside the meat itself to give a pleasant little spike. Then there’s the requisite cheese, onions and Nada’s chunky, seriously crispy stubby “fries”.

You can find the brunch menu on weekends when the joint opens Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30am. For mainstream diners (tacos, sliders, mac and cheese), you can also hit it weekdays starting at 11am. Sundays through Thursdays, it closes at 10pm. On Fridays and Saturdays, it’s open until 12 midnight. Nada is located at 220 W. Nationwide Boulevard in the Arena District.

For more information, visit www.eatdrinknada.com/columbus/.

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