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Brunch in the District


Malawry
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Brunch seems to be an odd meal in the restaurant world. I don't eat it out much anymore, because I can cook brunch-y food just as well at home using fresh foods from the Takoma farm market around the corner. I've seen way too many restaurants where brunch is just an afterthought; I used to live in Dupont Circle and at that time this was just about the only type of brunch available there. Just the same, sometimes it's nice to head downtown and enjoy a lazy late-morning meal with friends. Where do you like to go for brunch in and around DC? Who does a great job?

We've talked about the dim sum brunch at Cafe Atlantico in detail before.

I've had brunch at Cashion's Eat Place a few times. I believe this is the only Cashion's menu that doesn't change week-to-week, and it includes a nice trout with beurre blanc and hot house-made croissants along with the usual egg type dishes. I also liked brunch at Tabard Inn, where I shared homemade donuts with my friend and enjoyed a properly made omelet.

I've always wanted to check out breakfast at Melrose; I asked Chef Brian McBride about his breakfast offerings when he did a demo at L'academie and his obvious pride in what he described as "the best breakfast in the city" piqued my interest. But is Sunday morning a good time to go there, or should I try for a slower Wednesday or Thursday morning?

I see from searching OpenTable that Bistro Bis, 15 ria, Firefly and New Heights, among others, are open during brunch hours. (I'm assuming here that they offer a brunch menu to tables at 11am on Sundays.) I'm supposed to have brunch with a friend downtown next week, and these look like interesting options. Anybody tried them in the morning? Anything else I oughta check out?

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For something different try the Indian brunch at the Bombay Curry Company on Mt Vernon Ave in Alexandria. They do a good job of keeping the food fresh in the warmers-- not like some buffet brunches with their big vats of food that has been sitting there forever.

While not brunch per se, a trip down to Dean and Deluca in Georgetown is great for morning coffee, a fruit cup, and pastry. Then head inside to pick up a few things or get ideas for that night's feast at home.

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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My wife and I took my mother to brunch at 2941 last weekend. It was very good, but at $26 its not something you would do on a regular basis.

Pretty extensive menu of meals - probably 10 non breakfast items (fish, salads, sandwiches) and 10 breakfast items (pancakes, french toast, eggs benedict, omelettes). Baskets of fresh donut holes. And a buffet of small bowls of salads, pastries and desserts that changes eveery 15 minutes or so.

Bill Russell

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I, too, prefer to cook my own frittata on Sunday mornings. Twice, however, in the past month I have found myself at restaurants on Sunday around lunch time. Jeffrey's at the Watergate and Bistro Bis. Remembering from years past the splashy big buffet at the Watergate, we went 2 weeks ago. Surprise, no buffet in the summer. The place was completely empty. No problem getting table 8 this time (the one in the corner with the windows). Short, awful menu. The signature fried oysters I had been looking forward to reminded my friend of Popeye's, only he said Popeye's was better...The menu had no breakfast items. I figured correctly that in an empty restaurant they could figure out how to make me an omelet. Bistro Bis was a much better brunch. This place was also very quiet. The service was quick, quiet and professional. I was surprised to see Ted the manager there for the brunch shift. Nice assortment of breakfast and lunchy type bistro fare. I had a very good charcuterie plate first, then really good eggs benedict with lump crabmeat. We ordered dessert out of curiosity, not because we were still hungry. Don't miss it. We left very satisfied. Bis I would certainly recommend.

Edited by Mark Sommelier (log)

Mark

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I would think that many restaurants housed in hotels do some sort of brunch as part of the terms of their lease. Big-city hotels love to be able to offer getaway packages with extras like brunch thrown in to help fill rooms on weekends. You have to be a little careful, though, as far as who is cooking the brunches. It may not be the same staff who are usually there for dinner. It's nice to hear that Bistro Bis takes things more seriously than that.

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Speaking of hotel brunches, Seasons at the Four Seasons does an amazing brunch. It is really expensive, but nice for a special occasion. ($50) per person or so...

Mendocino Grille and Wine Bar

Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar

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Speaking of hotels - another one in the burbs, Market Street Grill at the Hyatt in the Reston Town Center does a very nice brunch with an extensive Pastry table for about $25

Bill Russell

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I enjoy going out for brunch on the weekends because it's ususally more relaxed and less expensive than at dinner. Firefly has a small but tasty brunch menu and it is offered on both Saturdays and Sundays. Also, I enjoy the Sunday brunch at Tabard Inn (reservation required) and Ardeo. For something a bit different, Meze in Adams Morgan has a wonderful Turkish omlette as well as other brunch items, both traditional and untraditional.

Melani

Melani Spiegel
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Jeffrey's at the Watergate ...  Short, awful menu. The signature fried oysters I had been looking forward to reminded my friend of Popeye's, only he said Popeye's was better...The menu had no breakfast items. I figured correctly that in an empty restaurant they could figure out how to make me an omelet.

Dude, not only were those oysters worse than Popeye's, your omelet looked like something you'd get at a truck stop at 4 AM. This thing made Denny's look like Marc Veyrat.

That was as bad as any restaurant meal I've had in years, and it was expensive as hell!

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Although I've not been myself, I have heard a number of good reports about the brunch at Georgia Brown's. Although it's been awhile, Cafe Luna in Dupont also puts on an affordable, enjoyable brunch.

Cafe Luna

Georgia Brown's

Liam

Eat it, eat it

If it's gettin' cold, reheat it

Have a big dinner, have a light snack

If you don't like it, you can't send it back

Just eat it -- Weird Al Yankovic

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For something a little different, I'd try Thai Dim Sum Brunch at Rabieng in Falls Church. I had a lovely brunch there when visiting a friend in D.C. Really delicious food, bright flavors, nice presentations, nice service, etc. Some of the best Thai food I've had almost anywhere, actually. And an interesting alternative to either Eggs Benedict or standard Chinese Dim Sum.

Added bonus is a couple of really cool ethnic grocery stores in the same little strip mall. One is Thai/Asian (I think owned by the same folks as the restaurant) and the other is Middle Eastern. Way cool side stop while you're there anyhow.

Katie M. Loeb
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Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

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Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
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I went to Georgia Brown's a few years ago for brunch. It was just OK - nothing really offensively bad but nothing overwhelmed me either - aside from the quantity of food you get. Bascially three meals worth of food. Plated breakfast, buffet and a lunch that they almost assume you will pack to go.

If the food blew me away, the quantity wouldn't be so bad. But in this case it was just overkill.

Bill Russell

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We went to Bistro Bis for brunch today. We arrived at 11:30, when they opened. The restaurant was very quiet and almost completely empty.

I ordered the frisee salad with lardons, croutons, sherry vinaigrette and a poached egg. One of my friends ordered the eggs Benedict, while the other ordered the omelet forestiere (with wild mushrooms). The menu is indeed very lunch-like as Mark suggested, which appealed to me but which may have been a little more lost on my companions.

The salad was excellent, everything in it properly executed...plenty of fat lardons, fresh croutons, crisp frisee, tart vinaigrette. My friend's eggs Benedict suffered from the poached eggs being overcooked (the yolks were moist but not liquid), but the poached egg in my salad broke and combined with the greens as expected. The eggs Benedict and the omelet came with excellent breakfast potatoes, skinless, crisp-edged and tossed with some soft cooked onions and parsley. I asked for an assortment of breakfast pastries with my salad and was served a pretty-good croissant and streusel-topped blueberry muffin. In addition, a bread basket contained lemon-poppyseed bread, a banana bread, sliced baguette and a single tiny biscuit.

Everything was in the pretty-good-to-excellent category, with the exception of the aforementioned overcooked poached egg. I'd visit Bistro Bis again for brunch. I thought my salad was a pretty good deal at $9, especially since there was no surcharge for the croissant and muffin.

I'll try to get to some of these other places next time, and will post about them when I do.

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We went to Bistro Bis for brunch today. We arrived at 11:30, when they opened. The restaurant was very quiet and almost completely empty.

I ordered the frisee salad with lardons, croutons, sherry vinaigrette and a poached egg. One of my friends ordered the eggs Benedict, while the other ordered the omelet forestiere (with wild mushrooms). The menu is indeed very lunch-like as Mark suggested, which appealed to me but which may have been a little more lost on my companions.

The salad was excellent, everything in it properly executed...plenty of fat lardons, fresh croutons, crisp frisee, tart vinaigrette. My friend's eggs Benedict suffered from the poached eggs being overcooked (the yolks were moist but not liquid), but the poached egg in my salad broke and combined with the greens as expected. The eggs Benedict and the omelet came with excellent breakfast potatoes, skinless, crisp-edged and tossed with some soft cooked onions and parsley. I asked for an assortment of breakfast pastries with my salad and was served a pretty-good croissant and streusel-topped blueberry muffin. In addition, a bread basket contained lemon-poppyseed bread, a banana bread, sliced baguette and a single tiny biscuit.

Everything was in the pretty-good-to-excellent category, with the exception of the aforementioned overcooked poached egg. I'd visit Bistro Bis again for brunch. I thought my salad was a pretty good deal at $9, especially since there was no surcharge for the croissant and muffin.

I'll try to get to some of these other places next time, and will post about them when I do.

haven't had a nice soft-yolked, three-minute poached egg in ages.

my last 'over-easy' waffle house egg'n'sausage platter was less than inspiring.

am more apt to make brunch at home (eggs benedict for chump change) than pay good dough for a half-arsed 'brunch' at lamely promoted DC restaurants.

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Old Hickory Grill on Route 50 in Fairfax (just inside the beltway) has an excellent brunch, with lots of interesting egg dishes, as well as their usual lunch offerings. It's somewhat more affordable than the 4 seasons... :raz:

Edited by jbruskin (log)
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Do they still have the all you can eat gospel brunch at the Music City Roadhouse in G'Town. That was always a good time, if notable for food other than heaping plates of eggs, sausage and biscuits - hey live gospel choir can't beat that

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Old Hickory Grill on Route 50 in Fairfax (just inside the beltway) has an excellent brunch, with lots of interesting egg dishes, as well as their usual lunch offerings. It's somewhat more affordable than the 4 seasons...  :raz:

I ate at Punjab Dhaba the other day which is in the same strip - is this Old Hickory Grill an offshoot of the one in Burtonsville, Maryland? The owner of the one in Burtonsville is from that area (a Paint Branch High School graduate), so I suspect it may not be the same place. If it is, I've been there many, many times, but have never tried their brunch. It's a pretty solid and tasty neighborhood place for ribs, sandwiches, etc.

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Do they still have the all you can eat gospel brunch at the Music City Roadhouse in G'Town.  That was always a good time, if notable for food other than heaping plates of eggs, sausage and biscuits - hey live gospel choir can't beat that

That joint has been closed for 2 years.

Mark

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We've had brunch at Bistro Bis (within the past year) and enjoyed it very much. The bread basket is excellent -- little fruit muffins, biscuits. I remember having a pissaladiere-type item that was very buttery and delicious, and I think we may have also had a Mediterranean-stype fish soup. Good charcuterie plate, too.

In fact, we usually time our return train to NYC so that we can eat beforehand at Bistro Bis, we like it that much.

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