Restaurant Review: Breakfast at The Keep
The Keep isn’t particularly small, but something about it feels warm and a little intimate. It might be the fiery wall sconces, with flames that flicker and reach well beyond the boundaries of their glass lamp shades. It might be the earth tones, or the old windows that overlook the architecture of City Hall and then the Scioto and beyond.
At the center of the joint is an open cooking space that feels like a likable hybrid between chef studio and a diner grill. That’s where the culinary team puts together dishes with a distinct French accent. Stationed at Hotel LeVeque, the joint serves diners all day, putting a French twist in the local breakfast scene.
It’s unlikely that you’ll be overwhelmed with the morning’s eating choices — the menu is brief. That said, the options are still interesting. For example, those firmly committed to the anti-keto lifestyle might be drawn to the French Pastry Basket ($8). The description lists a cinnamon roll, croissant, danish and a madeline as the members of the line-up. It arrives, and it’s not much to look at, just a bunch of plain-looking golden blocks about the size of dinner rolls. While the cinnamon roll was MIA, it was replaced by an extra danish, and the apple danish was itself the favorite item on the platter. Its golden bread cage held an apple filling that was several steps above your average pie filling goo. The blueberry danish was good, the madeline was too dry to finish, but the small croissant was well-executed, demonstrating how nice and airy the pastry can be when prepared by folks who take French cuisine seriously.
In terms of the Savory Crepe ($12), you get only one, but it’s sizable. The first bite inspires a singular thought: buttery. As far as thoughts go, that’s one of the better thoughts when it comes to eating. Beyond that, the tender crepe holds smoked mushrooms, scrambled eggs, caramelized onions, fromage blanc (cheese) and a little bit of romesco.
The Quiche ($10) of the day boasted ham, spinach and a perfect ricrac tart crust. The egg dish isn’t terribly tall, as current trends dictate, but it was a wide-cut wedge filled with savory flavor and served with a collection of frilly dressed greens.
You can score twice as much food with the Breakfast Americaine ($11). No irony there, as the native country is known for big appetites and huge helpings. It only makes sense that its namesake breakfast is ginormous. It starts with two eggs, any style. The order of scrambled eggs arrives in flat folds that are more like an omelette: not fluffy, but okay taste-wise. The eggs are accompanied by Lyonnaise potatoes (skinny taters, cut in thick chunks and grilled with soft loops of onions) and flavorful, plump sausage links.
Your morning order of coffee ($4) will be fancy, made in front of you with a French press. The Smoothie Du Jour ($6) was…unusual. The flavor was some sort of mixed berry that turned out more tart than sweet with the texture of a thick, frothy cream.
Service was delayed, but the old-school serving team sure looked like all business with brisk, purposeful steps and comfortable shoes. You can investigate the options yourself at 50 W. Broad St. The Keep serves breakfast daily, with extended hours for brunch on weekends. You can score lunch and dinner there as well, and the restaurant hosts a bar with artisan cocktails, too.
For more information, visit thekeepcolumbus.com.