Once the weekend hits in Columbus, Ohio its residents flock to the best breakfast and brunch spots in the city. One popular restaurant serving up innovative breakfast dishes based on seasonal ingredients with a bit of Southern flare is Skillet, located on the boarder of the charming and brick lined Schumacher Place and German Village neighborhoods. Skillet sits in a small brick building with limited outdoor patio seating available when the weather is nice. There are only eight to ten tables inside the restaurant, so it is a little cramped inside and waits can be quite long as people head to Skillet early in the morning. Brick exposed walls line the restaurant giving it a rustic atmosphere. A counter opening to the kitchen gives customers a slight view of all the delicious farm-to-table grub being made while Skillet’s well-deserved awards line the wood wall above the counter.
As the seasons change, so too does Skillets menu. Skillet’s website says, “Our restaurant features local products and local flavors by working with a dedicated network of farmers, producers, and craftsmen. We allow the seasons and what is available to us daily to drive our menu and in doing so it will change often.” One food that is almost always on the menu at Skillet is its grits, and sometimes different variations of it like fish and grits. Their grits are a bit chunkier than most but perfectly creamy and buttery. They make for a great side to share with friends. Another indulgent treat that is a mainstay on the menu is the griddled cinnamon role which is split and griddled; served warm with buttermilk bourbon caramel and maple string icing. It’s got the perfect crispy and flaky texture and melts in your mouth as you eat it, making it one of the best cinnamon roles I’ve had.
My friend Jen ordered a vegetarian version of the Huevos Rancheros which Skillet seems to change up every now and then, serving it once with pork shoulder and another time with cow tongue. The meatless Huevos Rancheros included eggs, guacamole, beans, cheese, and a spicy aioli on corn tortillas. This dish was absolutely delicious and bursting with flavor, especially from the bold and spicy aioli sauce.
Since we like to think of ourselves as professional brunchers, my buddy Alex and I went into full split mode. One dish we ordered was a thoughtful and unique take on the popular chicken and waffles dish, but done with quail and eggs. The waffle was cooked perfectly, the sweetness complementing the savory yolk from the eggs and the moist quail. The only thing I would have liked to see more involved in the dish was a little bit more spice, as I love when I get a trifecta of sweet, spicy, and savory all in one.
The other dish that Alex and I split is certainly one of the most revered dishes at Skillet, their Biscuits and Gravy. The dish comes with split and griddled biscuits topped with eggs and a homemade gravy containing sausage and pepper among other ingredients. I believe that Skillet changes up the type of sausage used in the gravy throughout the year, with varieties from andouille sausage to goat. The biscuits were soft and buttery, yet flaky with a slight crunch. The eggs were a nice touch, but the star of the dish is certainly the gravy. The sweet spice from the pepper meshed so well with the savory sausage and sauce, making it one of the best gravies I’ve ever had. It’s hands down the best biscuits and gravy I’ve had so far.
While you may have to brave a long wait and then sit in a cramped space to eat at Skillet, it’s totally worth it. Just going for the biscuits and gravy is enough to justify a decent wait, but Skillet has so much more! While mainstays like the griddled cinnamon roll remain on their menu, a majority of options change depending on the time of the year, so one can go to Skillet three times in three months and likely get something extremely unique and different every time. The restaurant puts a great deal of thought into the components that go into their dishes, making Skillet stand out above the other breakfast and brunch spots in Columbus.
-Michael Averbook, Foodie Extraordinaire