Due Amici (Facebook / @dueamici)
67 E. Gay St. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43215
Open Mon-Sat, 11 am – 11 pm; Sun, 11 am – 9 pm (brunch served Sat & Sun 11 am – 4 pm)
Accepts cash & credit/debit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Date of Visit: Sunday, October 31, 2010 at 1:00 pm
IMPRESSIONS: Due Amici is one of the anchor restaurants in the still-budding section of Gay St. downtown. This strip of restaurants, hotels, and shops is defying the difficult lack of crowds downtown outside of the Monday to Friday working hours. Due Amici is known for producing some high quality Italian fare throughout the week, but one of their big weekends draws is, of course, their brunch.
Their space is a classy update of an old downtown building. I’ve always been a fan of the big wooden floors, tall ceilings, and huge brick walls. The restaurant is split into three sections.
You enter in the middle, with the hostess stand, waiting area, and bar. The bar’s nice and swanky-looking: big mirror, house-made flavored spirits in progress. To the right of this room is a smaller room for private rentals.
To the left is the main dining area: booths, tables of all sizes.
ATMOSPHERE: Despite the more sophisticated atmosphere, Due’s brunch still has a pretty casual vibe. We saw families with kids of all ages, sport coats and blue jeans, all mixed in a very talkative buzz.
FOOD: The brunch menu features a pretty wide selection. I would say it’s vegetarian-friendly, but there’s definitely more big meat dishes. But they’ve got everything covered: appetizers, pizzas, traditional breakfasts, salads, pastas, seafood, plus bigger entrees. We sampled a mix of things. They have a special deal on selected items (at the top of the menu) that lets you choose an entree plus a brunch drink (Bloody Mary, Bellini, or mimosa) for $15. Pretty sweet deal for the amount of food and drink. We tried a couple. The first was the asparagus and mushroom frittata. The eggs were nice and moist, as were the vegetables and mushrooms. Came with a side of hash browns, which are diced and nicely browned. A little hard to eat with a fork, but the flavor’s all there.
We also took a stab at the breakfast pizza (not part of the $15 deal). Features bacon, sausage, cheese, roasted tomatoes, with an egg on top. We took our server’s suggestion and ordered the egg over easy so we could dip the pizza slices in it. I was a big fan of the whole pizza, especially the sausage and tomatoes. Nice freshly-made crust, too. And definitely best with a dipping egg.
My favorite bit of the meal, however, was the Due Brunch Burger. It’s a standard burger with bacon, lettuce, tomato, and cheese, but adds a fried egg, basil aioli, sandwiched between two halves of a toasted English muffin. The burger was very well constructed. The egg yolk is medium, so it doesn’t run. The real highlight, however, is the 1/2 pound of black Angus beef. I just can’t describe it adequately – it’s delicious, grass-fed beef, very flavorful, cooked medium. One of those bites that you take that just stops you. Maybe it’s been too long since I’ve had some properly treated beef, but this burger made us both say “wow.” Seriously, one of the best burgers I’ve had in Columbus.
Another favorite for Due brunch fans is their Bloody Mary cart. Get your customized Bloody Mary made table-side.
We let the server recommend ours: she used their house pepper-infused vodka, tomato juice, clamato, horseradish, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes. Garnished with pickle, celery, lemon, and banana peppers. I’m not a huge fan of Bloody Marys, so I’m far from being the expert, but ours was refreshing and delicious. It’s such a big mix of flavors and textures that it’s bound to complement at least one of your dishes.
Plus there’s just the fun of watching the Bloody Mary construction.
SERVICE: The service matches the casual atmosphere. You can banter with your server, they make suggestions, food comes out quickly. Great conversation with the server handling the Bloody Mary cart.
OVERALL: Good, good brunch. Nice pricing, whether you want to go big with steak and shrimp, or you want a deal with the $15 special. Upscale-but-casual atmosphere. High quality food, especially that burger. Good for families (our 2-year-old did fine). A definite reason to head downtown on the weekends.
-> the (614) Magazine write-up on brunch spots (including Due Amici)