Explorers Club at Zauber Brewing (Facebook / T: @explorersclubmv / IG: @explorersclubmv)
909 W. Fifth Ave. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43212
Open Mon, 3-10p; Tues-Thurs, 11a-10p; Fri, 11a-11p; Sat, 2-11p (brunch served Sat & Sun, 10a-2p)
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Explorers Club has long been a part of the Columbus brunch scene, even tracing its DNA to long-gone restaurants like the Galaxy Cafe, Jerry’s Galaxy Cafe, and the institution Starliner Diner. For a while Explorers Club surfaced as a brick-and-mortar in Merion Village, and while that closed in late 2015 they’ve lived on as a food truck and now as the house eats at Zauber Brewing. Last month for the Dispatch I tackled their weekend brunch (read all about it here!), and wanted to share more thoughts and photos.
I’ve been to Zauber many times before, and hopefully you have, too. They focus on German- and Belgian-style brews (“Zauber” is German for “magic”), and the brewery is arranged like a beer hall. They have a good selection of house and guests brews on draft, plus cocktails. Coffee and snacks are almost always available from Das Kaffeehaus‘ little enclave near the front door, and you’ll most likely find soccer matches on the TVs.
Over brunch I enjoyed their nitro Portergeist, one of my favorites from the menu. I’m also a fan of the Kitschy Kolsch, the Myopic Red, and the Berzerker Belgian IPA. Mrs. Bfast w/Nick sampled a cocktail called the Bee in a Barrel, which featured Watershed’s bourbon barrel gin, lemon, and honey simple syrup.
If you can’t decide on a beer, you can always order flights of house brews.
Every time I eat at Explorers Club, whether it’s at Zauber or at the food truck (which travels around town), I always find myself asking, “Why don’t we eat here more often?!” The food isn’t complicated, but it’s always well seasoned, pretty generously portioned, and perfect pairing with beers.
Begin, for instance, with the huevos rancheros. It’s a bug plate of black beans, tortillas, and fried eggs covered with a chunky ranchero sauce and chorizo. (“Always add the chorizo” should be engraved on my tombstone.)
One of my favorites of the meal was the fried egg tacos. They’re served in a pair, layering a fried egg, cheese, chorizo (always add the chorizo), and a jalapeno slaw. It comes with a slightly greasy potato cake.
Between the eggs, cheese, and chorizo (you can also choose bacon or veggies), the tacos are dense. I love the jalapeno slaw that Explorers Club uses. It’s slightly creamy but features a nice, slow burn. I’ve been craving these every since I had them.
Other hits included the BLT, made with all the usual suspects plus a fried egg and a slather of chipotle mayo.
And the Cubano is a hit, too. The brunch menu features other dishes like meatloaf, pierogis from Sophie’s, a mofongo sandwich, quesadillas. They have some rotating specials, too, like a biscuits and gravy.
Oh, and did I mention the fried plantains with yo-yo sauce? You should order those automatically. Perhaps two orders, just to be safe.
Disclaimer: this meal was paid for as part of a Columbus Dispatch review. Photos and opinions are my own.