Cafe Atlantico Brunch
I need to get some suggestions from all you hounds as a local resource as well as a food source. My girlfriend is coming into town in a couple of weeks for the weekend. We have made reservations for Cafe Atlantico's Dim Sum brunch Tasting Menu on Sunday morning. Any reviews on that? We want to try some different and fun stuff. We are also looking for something on Saturday afternoon if anyone can suggest something that would be a good, relaxed, but casual (heavy on the $10 sandwiches) place during some sightseeing.
I also need some hotel help because my company is hosting a banquet on Saturday night and we didn't want to drive back home and decided to make a nice hotel stay out of it. Does anyone have any hotel suggestions for the two of us near (but not IN) the Reniassance Mayflower on Connecticut. The ideal place would be close enough for her to walk in heels (no more than 3/4 mile, i would say), but would also be close to georgetown, Cafe Atlantico for Sunday morning, perhaps Dupont bars... cost is not an object (below Hay Adams, though).
let me know!
I surprised my boyfriend with a brunch at Cafe Atlantico. I found the quality to be consistant with Jose Andres' other restaurants; which is to say that there was some great, some good and some poor.
Duck Confit with passion fruit oil - the confit was not oily and the skin was laquered to a crunchy crust. It was a hair sweeter than I prefer, but I could still taste the duck.
Avocado/Jicima raviloli - sweet and crunchy, but I think that it might be that I just like avocado way too much.
Conch fritters - they had conch chowder inside of them! The fritter wasn't too doughy and the chowder was flavorful, although be warned; these should be eaten in one bite or you might spill
Pan Dulce - like really rich french toast.
Fried egg with mashed black beans and pork - the egg was cooked perfectly, the beans were flavorful but I don't think there was any pork in this dish.
Pinapple Unagi - unagi was cooked well, but this was a little too sweet for me.
Oyster with lime-mango oil - oyster was fresh, but a little overpowered by the mango.
We probably won't be trying these again:
Coconut rice, crispy rice and ginger - presented at a plain congee, I didn't taste any ginger at all
Potato and vanilla mousse with american caviar - the caviar had no taste whatsoever, and the mousse texture was a little strange.
Scallops with cauliflower puree - I hated these. The scallop was cooked nicely, but the cauliflwer puree tasted like it came out of a box, and it had a nasty oil slick on top of it.
The service was so-so (I thought she was a litle snooty). The drinks were good. The bill after stuffiing ourself for 2 hours was $110 after tax and tip.
My girlfriend and I finally made it to the Cafe Atlantico Dim Sum Brunch this weekend and really loved it. We were both amazed by the uniqueness of the experience and the quality of the novel dishes.
Our tasting menu brunch was accompanied by my girlfriend's mango mimosa and i had a mexican lemonade (lots of fruits... good and fun).
first course: watermelon cubed skewer with halved grape tomato and drizzle of olive oil. good but no inspiration. just a light way to start the meal.
then we had an order of guacamole because we were just craving it.
getting back to the tasting menu...
second course: oyster with mango-lime oil. very fresh and wonderful! It was my first time having raw oysters and i liked it a lot.
Mango-Anchovy ravioli--semi-liquid inside, "off" consistency. too strange, but ok.
Tuna ravioli-roll up of tuna, peanut, and light sauce. this was a fantastic mix of crunch, saltiness, and sweetness. i wish they had a desc. on the menu.
Coconut rice--nice sweet taste, too creamy and heavy for the rest of the stuff,
conch fritters with "liquid heart"--nice light fry, i don't like conch but my girlfriend said it was good. the liquid squirted out right away.
fourth course: potato foam and vanilla oil with american caviar. DELICIOUS. very nicely done light foam with scallions. a slightly sweet taste. nice fresh caviar in the bottom.
fifth course: fois gras soup. nice mushroom, earthy taste. a nice hearty kick in the middle of the meal. subtle corn flavors.
sixth course: fried egg and vera cruz. black bean soup with floating fried egg. nothing too inspired but just fine.
seventh course: Wild mushroom quesadilla. big thick quesadilla with great fresh mushrooms and melted cheese. perhaps too much cheese.
fish with pureed avocado: this is not on the menu and we cannot remember what kind of fish they said it was. it was a darker fish in little filets. GREAT! slight pineapple flavor on the bottom. peanut like topping. i think i may call cafe atlantico and see what the fish is called.
seared cigala: nothing to write home about. typical.
pan dulce with cinnamon syrup: nice french toast nicely fried. in the middle is a mascarpone type cheese flavor. good dessert but doesn't touch Zaytinya's Turkish French toast.
this was the Chef's selection ($35). It was very good and we would do it again!
I loved the Dim Sum brunch at Cafe Atlantico! I agree with Elyssa though that the timing was a little tricky... our problem was both ways, sometimes too quick between courses and other times we thought that it had ended and we just didn't notice! They have some great cocktails too.
Cafe Atlantico's brunch is awesome! It's a lot of fun, the food is really good and so are the drinks. I don't know if they are still doing the full tasting menu deal where you get like 30 different dishes but that's what I did with my bf. It was so much food and our only complaint was they brought it out to quickly, but that was mostly our fault because we ate everything to fast and didn't tell them to slow it down. If you are looking for something fun and different I highly recommend this brunch.
For Saturday afternoon, if you are going to be on the Mall, I recommend checking out the restaurant/cafeteria inside the American Indian Museum. I know....I know...a museum cafeteria? But trust me. The food is seasonal, regional (divided up into the various types of cuisines of American Indians based on their region), and affordable (although can get pricey if you want to sample a whole lot)...and of course good!
I don't know of any other great brunches in that area, but I just want to emphasize that you should definitely not go to C.A. that weekend; I had the same thing happen to me last year (went there for brunch thinking rest. week was over, and discovered that it wasn't) and had the worst meal and service that I've ever had at C.A.
Do you want a traditional brunch or a non-traditional (ie Cafe Atlantico) brunch?
If you want something very good but more on the traditional end (eggs, bloody marys etc) I would suggest Poste. It's still in the Penn Quarter area and very good. If you eat at Poste for brunch you MUST get the truffle fries as a side.
Acadiana might also do a brunch (I would double check this) if you are interested in something with a cajun/new orleans/souther bend.