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The Brunch Buzz at Honey

By Lora Arduser · May 11th, 2011 · The Nook
Nothing is quite so civilized as brunch, a leisurely parade of egg dishes, fruit and champagne cocktails served in the company of fresh flowers. On a recent Sunday, when we decided to pretend like we were real people with lives that included something other than work, we got all this and more at Honey (4034 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-541-4300).

Brunch, Honey-style, comes with a sweet side and a savory side, just like the menu.

When we got there around 12:30 p.m. (brunch hours are 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sundays only), Rufus Wainwright’s sweet voice filled the air in a room full of older couples in their Sunday best ordering mimosas and Bloody Marys. But there was also a sleepy, tousled couple in jeans and T-shirts wolfing down a bucket of Binkle fries ($4) and coffee at the bar and two guys drinking beer and looking at their iPhones instead of each other at a nearby table.

Honey’s brunch menu is short but varied and supplemented by a long list of specials. Vegetarians have lots of options, like one of my favorites: the GLT ($7) — vegan goetta, field greens, tomato, onion and chili-laced aioli on thick, toasted white bread. Not quite your cup of tea? How about fresh fruit beignets ($7) or a vegetarian salad ($9)?

Don’t worry carnivores, there’s plenty for you, too.

You could try the traditional BLT ($6) or the SBTL ($10), with salmon, bacon, lettuce and tomato. Traditionalists might want to stick with what my husband describes as the best bacon and eggs of his life ($9), Honey’s Eggs Benedict ($9), with poached eggs, ham and a roasted red pepper hollandaise sauce, or the Omelet du Jour ($9), which was leeks, zucchini and goat cheese on the Sunday we dined.

For the more adventurous, there are always those oh-so-Honey dishes like Doug’s Favorite Huevos ($9), with black bean puree, three-cheese quesadillas, salsa, guacamole and poached eggs, or the Frangipane French Toast ($9), made with Shadeau Bakery’s batard, frangipane, rum-brown sugar apples, maple syrup and mascarpone (just writing the ingredients makes my blood sugar go up).

I can’t have brunch at Honey and not have vegan goetta (which replaces the pork with textured vegetable protein), but I wanted to try something new. I opted for a side of goetta ($3) and one of the specials — a parfait made with homemade granola, fresh blueberries, dried cranberries, Greek yogurt and raspberry coulis ($9). My parfait was a mini encapsulation of Honey’s sweet/savory flavor profile, with tart scoops of yogurt against a naturally sweet background of granola and berries.

The goetta was, as usual, delicious. I gotta get the goetta whenever I can, but my friend, not being a native Cincinnatian, had never even tried it until that Sunday. Her response? “I have no words for this. I can’t even get my head around it.”

My friend also broke her Lent-inspired French-fry fast and ordered the Binkle Fries. The name alone is intriguing enough to give them a try. If you do, you’ll find yourself inhaling fry after fry made from small, whole red potatoes. The fries are served with Honey’s signature sweet Thai chili sauce and a chive sour cream.

After the fries and a mug of Irish coffee ($7), my friend had one of the specials, a twist on the classic Eggs Benedict with the ham replaced by a crab cake ($13). The predominant flavor in the crab cake was — wait for it — crab, but it also had some diced red onion (a nice accompaniment to the potatoes) and beautifully poached, stunningly white eggs. I am always amazed at how perfect poached eggs can be when they are farm fresh and prepared by a good chef. It’s that kind of shrewd attention to detail that has helped make Honey’s brunch so buzz-worthy.

CONTACT LORA ARDUSER: dining@citybeat.com



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