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My Search for a Decent Sunday Brunch (Ongoing)

m
mjhals Feb 25, 2009 06:32 AM

I'm a fairly new addition to the DC (June 2008), and previous to that was stationed in Germany for 3 +years. As you can guess, Germans haven't really perfected the art of leisurely Sunday meals sprinkled liberally with fruity cocktails. So I was really looking forward to DC as I'm a huge brunch fan. So far, I've been sorely disappointed, but am encouraged to redouble my efforts to find a good spot.

I'd like to detail my criteria, but I'm afraid it's pretty subjective. I will say, I'm a huge eggs benedict fan, so bonus points for a good hollandaise (I like mine lemony). Interesting twists on the classics are welcomed, but so are classics done right. Sides aren't that important to me (I usually let my fiance finish the obligatory side of potatoes, and he gives a thumbs up to anything edible). And minus points for a lack of said alcoholic beverages.

One thing I promise, I will not recommend any restaurant if I haven't eaten there FOR BRUNCH. In my search so far I've used this site as guide and have been led astray. Looking back it was my own fault as I took recommendations of people that had been to the restaurant in question for dinner, but not for brunch.

So bear with me, I probably won't make it out every Sunday, but hopefully quite a few (as long as I continue the half-marathon training to compensate!). Here are the ones I've hit so far:

  1. f
    FoodieGrrl Feb 25, 2009 06:49 AM

    Hmmm...don't think your list came through on your original post...

    1. ktmoomau Feb 25, 2009 06:57 AM

      Yes, please add list, and perhaps also add if you are willing to travel outside the district lines for brunch?

      5 Replies
      1. re: ktmoomau
        m
        mjhals Feb 25, 2009 07:07 AM

        Sorry, I meant to post these reviews in a separate entry anyway otherwise the OP gets a little long, just got a little delayed. Here's the one for Founding Farmers (actually copied from my previous post which started this hunt in the first place).

        Yikes. Just had one of the worst dining experiences I've ever had, at Founding Farmers. Really surprised and disappointed seeing as how FF comes highly recommended on these boards and I've had it on my list for awhile (due primarily to the CH recs!) Went today for brunch with a friend and it was awful from start to finish, but I must say the atrocious service was really what put it over the edge for me.

        First, we both ordered drinks right away to start (a bellini and a gin fizz) in hopes they'd come fairly promptly (ie before our food) so we could start our fun. Nope. They came with the entrees even though we ordered them well in advance of the food. To be fair, they were pretty busy, so all things being equal I wouldn't knock them for this, but no apology/explanation for the delay, so not great.

        For my entree I ordered the hash w/ lobster and crab, and wasn't asked how I wanted my eggs (at that point I didn't even really know there was an option, I skimmed the menu and saw "poached" and that was what I wanted), so when the server didn't ask I didn't mention what prep of eggs I wanted. When my order comes out it looks like an omelet, which I definitely didn't order, so I tell the runner (not the original server) that I think the order is mixed up. She goes back to check and comes back and says, "no the server says this is the hash," I gently explain I thought it came with poached eggs and ask that she have the server come by to clarify (it's her first day so poor thing doesn't know what to make of any of it). So the server comes by to explain that the dish can either come w/ scrambled or poached eggs, and apologizes for not asking which I wanted and then asks if I'd like the eggs poached. I say yes, I would, and he sighs and says, "well, ok, but I'm really going to get yelled at for this"! Geez, I'm sorry, but at that point I don't know what to do, I just really wanted my poached eggs, but felt horribly guilty at that point.

        The dish itself was very dry, the main ingredient being very dry potatoes, with no other discernible vegetables in the preparation. There's two decent-size chunks of lobster and some crab flakes, which are rubbery and over cooked. I also find several shell pieces in the dish. And the "poached" eggs are way closer to hard boiled, yolks not runny at all, but chalky and crumbly, and have obviously been sitting a very long time.

        Then, my friend sheepishly mentions that she thinks they've forgotten some of her order. She'd ordered the Farmer's breakfast which came w/ 2 eggs, bacon and then some side options (we think at least a salad or fruit plate and potatoes). But she just has eggs and bacon. She's starving, so she asks the server about the missing items and he starts to interrogate her! "It should have come with potatoes, are you sure it didn't? Yes we're sure! Her plate is absolutely clean, she would've had to lick the potato crumbs from the plate had there been any. And we both repeatedly assure him that she did not, in fact receive the potatoes. So, he finally asks, "well, do you want the potatoes?, because now I'm really going to get yelled at"! I have never, ever had a server make me feel so bad for asking for things that should've been done right the first time. It made us both very, very uncomfortable. And then the manager came to deliver the forgotten potatoes and didn't apologize for any of the mix ups or delays (my friend was completely done with her dish by the time I got mine).

        All in all, I was extremely disappointed with FF and I'd really wanted to love the place. I've been eyeing it to try for dinner as the menu looks great (and again, always recommended around these parts), but I can honestly say, I will never go back and will never recommend it to anyone. On the way out we did see George Stephenapolous, but other than that, what a dismal experience!

        1. re: mjhals
          j
          Jacey Feb 25, 2009 08:54 AM

          Did you already post this review on this board? I believe I read this before word for word!

          1. re: Jacey
            m
            mjhals Feb 25, 2009 02:14 PM

            Yep, this experience is actually what started me on my search. The second sentence actually mentions it's copied from the previous post.

            1. re: mjhals
              j
              JillianK Aug 3, 2010 01:45 PM

              You're spot on. I've had many fabulous dinners at FF....but brunch there is just never up to snuff.

        2. re: ktmoomau
          m
          mjhals Feb 25, 2009 07:32 AM

          And I am definitely willing to go outside DC for brunch. My only semi-criteria (flexible) is that the place be accessible by metro. No driving due to those mimosas...

        3. m
          mjhals Feb 25, 2009 07:20 AM

          And here's a review of the Silver Dollar Diner in Clarendon. Now, I know that many CHers turn their noses up at places that use Sysco, and I suspect that the Silver Diner is a culprit, but after my experienced at the heavily "sourced" FF, I'd take Sysco any day. Blasphemy!

          Made this trek twice with my fiance during his periodic visits back to DC (he's still in GE). The experiences have been closer to breakfast than brunch because he's an early rise (usually ended up there around 8 or 9), and I've never had a mimosa there, so in my mind that doesn't really count as brunch unless I have alcohol. So minus points for no alcohol, but bonus points for being open early.

          Here I had the eggs benedict on both visits and it was consistenly wonderful. Most noteable is the freshness of the poached eggs. By this I mean they don't seem as though they were poached an hour ago and then rewarmed. They were soft and runny and perfectly cooked, on both occasion. The canadian bacon used was unremarkable, but well cooked, not overly crisp, but browned. Loved, loved the hollandaise, although I will say it didn't meet my above-stated criteria of being lemony. It did make up for it buy being uncongealed without a gross film on it (a direct opposite of my FF experience).
          English muffins used were good, chewy, could've been browned a little more before final assembly. I had the classic EB both visits (although on the second I had the smaller version), but they do have a version with tomato (roasted, I believe) that I'll try on my next visit.

          I vaguely recall my fiance had some great looking french toast, with strawberries. As usual, he licked his plate, but as I've said, that's not that great of an endorsement. He did rave about my potatoes, and I can confirm they were browned and crispy but not dry and mealy (which, again, is how I'd describe the FF's potatoes).

          On both occasions the place was packed, but the service was always efficient and gracious. Server was always around with more water, and coffee, and checked on us repeatedly in spite of covering a large area. I will say that the service was almost too efficient, not really conducive to the long, leisurely meal I'm looking for at brunch.

          All in all, huge thumbs up if you're looking for a good breakfast, but I need to keep searching for that elusive brunch. BTW- does anyone know if this place is a chain? Seems like I've seen others, but I'm not sure.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mjhals
            l
            Lori D Mar 2, 2009 08:58 AM

            Silver Diner is indeed a chain, albeit a small one - http://www.silverdiner.com/locations/...

          2. m
            MikeR Feb 25, 2009 07:35 AM

            I think the concept of brunch as is most commonly presented is seriously flawed. There's almost always too much food, too much sweetness, and too much money. Gimme a good corned beef sandwich, good bagels and lox, or even good French toast and a slice of country ham for lunch about 11 AM on a Sunday and I'll be happy. I don't need mimosas or a dessert buffet (I never take just one), and it shouldn't cost $35 or more.

            When I traveled frequently for work, if I was out over a weekend I'd occasionally kill some time on Sunday at the hotel brunch, but I always ate enough so I was barely able to eat a light dinner. When breakfast eats up most of my per diem allowance, I gotta make sure it lasts all day. ;)

            Around here, geez, I dunno. Dim sum is something to consider, or maybe one of the couple of halfway decent delis, but if you want poached eggs and bacon with a mimosa to wash it down, you're probably better off at home.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MikeR
              m
              mjhals Feb 25, 2009 02:27 PM

              Mike, we'll have to agree to disagree. It's actually the concept of brunch that I find very appealing, and it's the execution I sometimes run into trouble with. Yeah, I could make a decent brunch, but after a long run, I definitely want (need) someone to do it for me. And I like the relaxed, leisurely idea of it. Which is why the ambience, and specifically- the service, are a big factor in my reviews (I would say more so than in my reviews of other meals). Hope that makes sense!

            2. ktmoomau Feb 25, 2009 10:31 AM

              So some suggestions:

              Saturday brunch at Cafe Atlantico- this is not Sunday Dim Sum brunch which is great, but more of a once in a great while kind of thing. If you like eggs benedict, get eggs bedicto, start with some guac and get a cocktail, some are pricier than others mimosas seemed normal price around DC to me. I did this on MLK day and they were wonderful, they let us sit and gawk at tourons for a few hours, while we snacked and drank our more than fair share of mimosas and other tasty beverages. You will like a sous-vide egg awesome texture and creaminess.

              Poste- I haven't been back in a while, but as I remember they had great a la carte brunch (always in search as MIL doesn't do buffets). Start with the mini doughnuts and then I think I had the croque monsieur which was good, I forget what else I have had.

              Tabard Inn- do it in the Spring when you can sit outside and it is pretty.

              I don't think any of the Great American Restaurant chains are metro accessible, but if you happen to be near, like in Shirlington, the Carlyle actually as much as I hate to admit has good crabcakes.

              Tallula used to have great pancakes with cherries and ricotta, but I don't think they have them anymore... I think Evening Star now has a bit better brunch, but is in Del Ray so not metro accessible.

              Another not metro accessible but great is Cassatt's Cafe in Arlington, very good normal brunch.

              In DC I also love Hank's Oyster Bar for brunch, they have great clam chowder, their hash is good but meat centric and the eggs chesapeake are great.

              Bistro Bis has a great high end brunch.

              Matchbox has a decent brunch or did I haven't been in a while.

              I actually like Chef Geoff's for brunch, although their food is decidedly mediocre any other time, I had their shrimp and grits one time at brunch and it was a good brunch, as I remember the mimosas weren't too overpriced.

              Harry's Tap Room in Clarendon and Whitlow's have decent brunch if you are in that area.

              For buffet brunch, suprisingly enough, although it is expensive all you can drink mimosas are included, Carribean Breeze in Ballston does a pretty tasty brunch.

              I will think of more... we like brunch.

              6 Replies
              1. re: ktmoomau
                m
                mjhals Feb 25, 2009 02:21 PM

                Thanks ktmoomau, some of your suggestions are actually already in my line up. Going with friends to Cafe Atlantico sometime in the next month. Now I'm even more excited about it based on your details, sounds very promising for that elusive mix of food + ambience I find necessary for brunch. And I've been to Whitlow's (will post that review when I've got a little more time).

                Thanks for the tip in Shirlington, I've wondered about the area as I take my dog to playdates on some Sundays in that area, so I'll definitely hit up Caryle soon. You've given me a ton of great starting points!

                Another stop that no one has mentioned (possibly a bad sign...) is the Front Page in Dupont. I even vaguely remember some derision here on these boards, but never fear I'll report back with some hard facts. My fiance is visiting again in two weeks and he remembers the place fondly from him intern days, so we'll see how it stacks up these days.

                1. re: mjhals
                  m
                  mselectra Feb 25, 2009 02:48 PM

                  Be sure to add Cashion's Eat Place to your list. Very good service and comfortable seating and atmosphere. Food's great. Haven't had eggs benedict there, not sure for sure they have them. I had a great mimosa there -- fresh orange juice (they have a good bar, so not a surprise to get good drinks for brunch too). I live in the neighborhood, so it's convenient, but I think it's worth a trip. And I haven't had to wait to get a table, just show up.

                  Have you been to Bistro Bis? I haven't, but seems like it always gets mentioned.

                  And the Mansion at O, or whatever that mysterious place is called (that I also haven't been to).

                  1. re: mjhals
                    e
                    Elyssa Feb 25, 2009 02:50 PM

                    This is where I went in my intern days as well, when the concept of brunch was new to me and I thought I was "oh so DC" to spend a Sunday with the paper and an eggs benedict. Even though I live across the street I haven't been back in 6+ years. When I went back after graduating (and my taste buds had matured) I found it pretty mediocre. It's been years though so maybe it's improved.

                    1. re: Elyssa
                      m
                      mselectra Feb 25, 2009 02:54 PM

                      You're talking about Front Page, right? I can't imagine the food would be very good (it's not at other meals), but I know people who like to hang out there so maybe if you're in the neighborhood.....

                      1. re: mselectra
                        e
                        Elyssa Feb 25, 2009 02:57 PM

                        Yes I'm talking about Front Page. I tend to agree with you Mselectra but I haven't been there in more then 6 years, so I was trying to hold off judgement. But considering I live right across the street and haven't been should say something lol

                        1. re: Elyssa
                          m
                          mjhals Feb 27, 2009 10:32 AM

                          Such a good point about Front Page, it definitely wasn't at the top of my to-try list so...I basically vetoed my fiance and now we're going to Cafe Atlantico (in 3 weeks). We'll make it to the Front Page eventually I'm sure, just to check to see if those intern taste buds really have developed!

                2. h
                  hamster Feb 25, 2009 11:58 AM

                  Creme on U Street - a tad pricey but good.
                  Cafe Luna on P Street and 17th - I had good eggs benedict there last week.
                  Luna Grill on Connecticut south of Dupont - good, can't remember the specifics.
                  I've not had alcohol at any, but I assume they all serve it. They all serve dinner and lunch as well, so presumably...

                  I would have recommended Comissary (P Street and 14th) and Ulah Bistro (U Street and 12th), but I haven't been overly impressed by the food quality at either...

                  Has anyone tried brunch at Vinoteca on 11th Street? Just a few weeks ago I could have sworn they were advertising $1 mimosas for brunch on their website, but I think they may have changed their menu now. So sad.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: hamster
                    Melanie Feb 26, 2009 12:51 PM

                    I remember that. I think they were offering the $1 mimosas only until December 31st. Sadly, I never made it there.

                    1. re: Melanie
                      h
                      hamster Feb 26, 2009 06:35 PM

                      Thanks for the post. Too bad I missed it!

                    2. re: hamster
                      s
                      sdw Mar 2, 2009 11:26 AM

                      Brunch at Vinoteca is good but the menu, as I remember it, is a bit limited.

                      I used to agree about Creme on U Street, but holy crap, the service is abominable!

                      Commissary also has pretty crappy service, and the food is always mediocre. The huevos rancheros is decent, but not worth the trouble. In fact, none of the restaurants owned by the Eat DC group (Commissary, Logan Tavern, Grillfish, etc) have bad service and mediocre food.

                      1. re: hamster
                        maoj Mar 4, 2009 09:56 AM

                        Vinoteca gift certificates:
                        http://dcdd.halfoffdeals.com/index.ph...

                      2. e
                        Elyssa Feb 25, 2009 02:48 PM

                        Some of my favorite brunch spots are Tabard Inn, Bistro Bis, Bourbon (bonus points for the booze factor!), Cashion's Eat Place, and Cafe St. Ex. I also hear really good things about Creme and have been meaning to check it out for brunch for a long time (the dinner is delicious).

                        Poste is also pretty good, although I've only been once. The steak and eggs was good as was the bloody mary. For something totally different I like Cafe Atlantico, but I don't really consider it classic brunch.

                        Clyde's is pretty good, but I haven't been in a long time.

                        Georgia Brown's should be tried at least once. The food is delicious and there is TONS of it. There is a big breakfast buffet and then you get to also choose an entree (which I bring home and eat for a late, late dinner or lunch the next day. When I went I thought the food was good but the place was SUPER noisy and I practically had to shout at my bf in order to have a conversation. Besides being packed, they also had a jazz player. Maybe it would be better in the summer when you can sit outside. But its a nice, Southern brunch.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: Elyssa
                          m
                          MarcDC Feb 27, 2009 11:08 AM

                          I gonna have to disagree with you on Georgia Browns... I find it to be overpriced, decidedly mediocre, and poor service. This place wouldnt last two seconds anywhere down south. I think the only reason it does well is bc it's the only option for "high-end" southern comfort food.

                          1. re: MarcDC
                            c
                            chicken kabob Feb 27, 2009 12:59 PM

                            I second MarcDC's opinion.

                            1. re: chicken kabob
                              s
                              sarahinthecity Mar 1, 2009 04:25 PM

                              Third. Terrible service, none of the waiters spoke English when I was there last month.

                              1. re: sarahinthecity
                                monkeyrotica Mar 1, 2009 04:40 PM

                                Fourth on Georgia Browns. Their secret ingredient is salt. And noise. Their mainstay seems to be weekend churchgoers looking for something upscale.

                                1. re: monkeyrotica
                                  j
                                  Jacey Mar 1, 2009 07:31 PM

                                  Fifth

                                  I would be embarrassed to recommend this place to anyone.

                          2. re: Elyssa
                            ktmoomau Mar 2, 2009 07:42 AM

                            Well I am going to be the one lone dissenter...

                            If you want a huge brunch, this one is a good choice. I am not a buffet brunch person, but I love Southern food, and for Southern buffet brunch it is great.

                            It can be a little loud, and the meal after the buffet section I always take home (I get fried chicken and warm it up in the oven or toaster oven later) and it is good too. They have good greens if you like cooked greens, their pastries are fresh and good, the biscuits great, I haven't been in a long time, but I took my brother as he is a big Southern food person too and we both had a great meal.

                            I think it is overpriced, but I think all buffet brunches are overpriced as I just don't eat that much. I think they have some really good things and if you like a buffet and southern food a lot of it, it is good. We had great service, good drinks which I don't remember being as pricey as someplaces.

                            Do I think OP would love it? No. Do I think people who like buffets like it, heck yes, it is a hard reservation to get, and it is damn hard to find a decent biscuit in the area. Let alone other Southern brunch items like Virginia ham, and their Benedict is pretty good too.

                            1. re: ktmoomau
                              e
                              Elyssa Mar 2, 2009 08:02 AM

                              Don't get me wrong. I don't think this is the best brunch in town. I had MAJOR issues with the volume level and I also prefer table service vs buffet for brunch (and any other meal).

                              I did think the food was good though and it was a fun/interesting experience for the pure volume of Southern food. I haven't gone back since my original meal...mostly because its not a relaxing experience persay (again because of the volume).

                              I always found myself comparing it to B. Smith's when I first went and I liked Georgia Brown's much more then B. Smith's (very disappointed with my brunch at B. Smith's when I took my extended family there).

                              I should be clear that this isn't my top choice but if you live in the area it might be fun to try it at least once. If you are visiting or here for a short time I would never recommend it.

                          3. ktmoomau Feb 26, 2009 01:07 PM

                            Oh- and a lot of threads on here suggest Monmartre for brunch in the Eastern Market area. Don't go for normal brunch. If you are at the Easter Market and are not eating bluebucks, shame on you, but then it might be ok, but it just isn't leisurely, it is normally a get in, eat, get out type of place. FYI.

                            Oh and I have heard that Belga has a good brunch, but I haven't been. Of course the friend who said it was good has good taste in food though so it has been on my list when I am in that part of town.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: ktmoomau
                              e
                              Elyssa Feb 26, 2009 01:38 PM

                              Belga is pretty good, although not as good as places like Tabard Inn and Bistro Bis. I do like their green eggs though. My problem is their service is pretty wishy washy and at times down right snobby and nonexistent. Food is pretty good though and in the warmer months its nice to sit outside.

                              1. re: Elyssa
                                g
                                Gigi007 Mar 17, 2009 01:04 AM

                                I agree wih you about Belga, Elyssa. The food at Belga is great, but service is lacking. I also love the Tabard Inn's brunch.

                            2. Bob W Feb 26, 2009 01:16 PM

                              Have you tried Acadiana for brunch? I've only been for lunch but their brunch menu has several poached egg dishes, as you'd expect at a place with Louisiana-style food.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Bob W
                                e
                                Elyssa Feb 26, 2009 01:34 PM

                                Totally forgot about brunch at Acadiana....it's very good! Awesome bloody marys.

                              2. m
                                mjhals Mar 16, 2009 10:06 AM

                                Ok, here's the latest update- went to Cafe Atlantico yesterday, and it was amazing, albeit with a few small problems. I loved it, very interesting experience. The opportunity to sample lots of small dishes was fun, especially because it encouraged you to try things you otherwise might think twice about, for example- one of my dishes was "conch fritters with a liquid center"! Yikes, a little unnerving to risk it on a full-size dish, but totally worth it for a few bites (very good btw- the "liquid" isn't as scary as it sounds- just like a rich seafood chowder).

                                We were a group of 6 and we each tried 3-4 dishes a piece, which was plenty if you're not too hungry. I personally had the mushrooms and egg 63, which refers to the temp the egg reaches I believe, but it's basically just a low-cooked coddled egg. Great dish because the egg yolk runs into the mushrooms and makes a rich, velvety sauce- so good. Then the tuna ceviche, which was fresh with coconut, the conch fritters, and the soup of the day (not great, just a shot glass of celery root soup, but at $2, not bad for a taste). Fiance had a great carne asada dish with wonderful flavor, and black beans with fried egg.

                                So the food was great, and very interesting, but as you can see, it's definitely not your typical brunch fare. My few complaints were about the service, our waiter was fine, but had some problems explaining the dishes, and we had a problem with the runners not clearly identifying the dishes they put down. All the dishes were individual (even if 3 people ordered the carne asada, there were 3 indiv plates of it), until the ceviche, which was placed down w/o explanation. 3 people had ordered it, so one girl started with the placed dish while the rest of us waited for the other 2. They never came and eventually the waiter explained that the single dish had contained all 3 servings, which you never would have know (the portions are small). But they did bring the other two dishes, to their credit (I didn't double-check the bill, but I think we were only charged for the three ordered). My other complaint was the price of the mimosas- most expensive I've seen in the city at $12.00 a piece, and they're not big, just the normal thin flute.

                                All in all, very good, and I can't wait to go back, but it will definitely be saved for special occasions when we have out-of-town guests looking for something new and different. Not the go-to Sunday brunch I'm in search of.

                                1. r
                                  radioman18 Mar 17, 2009 09:42 AM

                                  I haven't seen anyone mention Beacon Bar & Grill on Rhode Island Ave. Unlimited mimosas, good food, live piano music. $27.95 and if you go to their website, sometimes they have a coupon for $3 off. It has been rated the #1 brunch on Open Table for a while now. Definitely make a reservation.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: radioman18
                                    d
                                    Dreamworks May 6, 2010 09:08 AM

                                    I was there on Saturday. I know, Saturday Brunch? The Horrors/ But while I found the food really good, I found the service lacking enough that it detracted from the meal. And they made the worst bloody mary I've ever had, Tasted like they put a shrub through a Juice Tiger.

                                  2. j
                                    Jeremy303 Jul 11, 2009 08:46 PM

                                    Brunches for good eggs benedict are Poste and Darlington House, The Eggs benedict at Poste are amazing. I am going to the Tabard Inn tomorrow and I will let you know how the eggs benedict are there. Belga Cafe also has a good brunch, for waffles, french fries and mussels. but the service is horrible.

                                    1. j
                                      Jeremy303 Jul 12, 2009 10:01 AM

                                      I had brunch today at the Tabard Inn with my girlfriend and it was only ok. It didn't liv up to expectations.

                                      The bread is very good, as are the homemade donuts. but the eggs benedict was only ok. I have had much better eggs benedict at other restaurants. The bacon with it was overcooked. Sunny ordered the scrambled eggs with cream cheese and chives. It was only ok, and she disliked her sausage that came with it.

                                      It was very hard to hold a conversation since we were right on top of 3 tables indoors. All the patio seating was taken by those with reservations.

                                      Service was good, very pleasant place, I want to go back again next time with a reservation and sit outside on the patio. I would like try some other dishes on the menu maybe the waffles and french toast.

                                      What are your guys favorite dishes at The Tabard Inn?

                                      FYI for everyone The BEST Eggs Benedict I have had are at POSTE!!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Jeremy303
                                        k
                                        kabeergo Jul 19, 2009 08:12 AM

                                        My girlfriend and I live around Dupont circle and we are big fans of brunch. We have tried pretty much every place that is mentioned on this post and have our favorites. We def like Tabard Inn and Poste a lot, particularly outdoor seating. However recently we discovered one of our fav brunch places, Blue Duck Tavern.
                                        We were always fans of Blue duck tavern but never imagined their brunch would turn out to be so delicious. I tried a dish that was like potato hash but instead of potatoes it was made from chopped short-ribs. It was topped with sunny side up egg. yummm, it was absolutely delicious. They had inside out bloody mary (ice cubes made of tomato juice and other spices). So as the ice cubes melted, it made the drink more delicious.

                                        Worth trying.

                                      2. m
                                        mjhals Sep 9, 2009 01:55 PM

                                        Been awhile, but rest assured- I'm still searching! Had a not-great experience about a week and a half ago at Tonic, Quiglely Pharmacy by Foggy Bottom. This thread has generated a lot of great suggestions that I intend to try, so I want to apologize for ignoring those, it's just that we picked Tonic b/c it was the only thing I could find by the Foggy Bottom metro and we had errands in the area. Wish we hadn't- what a bad experience!

                                        From the beginning we sensed disaster. Had made reservations on Opentable (love the points), and arrived about 5 minutes early. Hostess was a mess, didn't seem to be tracking people according to walk-in/reservation or any type of order for that matter. People were getting REALLY angry about being arbitrarily passed over while someone else was sat. I wasn't thrilled by it either and all told we waited about 20 minutes past our reservation time.

                                        We were eventually seated at the very top floor of the place, which seemed way more lounge-y/bar-y than brunch-y. Not a big deal, but for some reason this level was freezing! And it wasn't just me, I finally asked the waitress to do something (normally not my style) because I saw two other tables shiver and wrap their napkins around themselves! The waitress was nice, but the temp never changed and I actually ordered coffee that I didn't want just to warm up my hands.

                                        And it wasn't just service problems, the food was awful too. I ordered my usual eggs benedict and made a point of asking that the eggs be runny (nothing sadder to me than an over-poached egg). Unfortunately, the first egg I cut into was just over-cooked, at that grainy, not runny, but still orange, stage. Wouldn't have sent the dish back just for that egg, but the second one was over hardboiled! Not just not runny, it was yellow and chalky all the way through. So I sent it back and they promptly fixed it (good thing b/c the original order took 30-40 minutes to come out and I was starving!) unfortunately, they hadn't re-warmed the tater tots and cold tater tots are just a pretty dismal thing. Fiance didn't fare any better. Thought he'd be safe w/ the bagel and lox plate as there didn't seem to be any cooking involved, and there wasn't. Bagel wasn't toasted so he asked that it be toasted. Came back not even faintly browned, maybe tanned, but not browned. Something must've been off w/ the toaster, but no explanation was given.

                                        So, another fail, I'm afraid. I promise next time to try one of the suggested places, probably Tallula. Wish me better luck!

                                        1. littlew1ng Sep 9, 2009 02:12 PM

                                          had a yummy brunch at matchbox last weekend (barracks row location). we were all very pleasantly surprised at how good the food was. avoid the bloody mary — i got the "fire" one which was supposed to be spicy, but it came out weak and bland. i had the special brunch pizza and it was so good — scrambled eggs, italian sausage, onions, pico de gallo and tomato sauce — if it's on special when you're there definitely try it or make sure somebody else in your party does.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: littlew1ng
                                            e
                                            Elyssa Sep 9, 2009 03:08 PM

                                            Matchbox has a really delicious stuffed french toast that I had awhile back at brunch in the Chinatown location.

                                          2. m
                                            mjhals Sep 13, 2009 12:47 PM

                                            Great news- just tried Poste this morning and it was wonderful! All around great experience from the food to the service to the ambience. The only tiny downside is that they don't have eggs benedict! Which is my go-to brunch item and the dish I use to compare and contrast, and couldn't do that this time. In fact, I had a pretty non-brunch dish (cobb salad), which was very good. Only complaint is that the menu stated it had grilled chicken and the chicken it came w/ was poached. Still, excellent dish w/ little hardboiled quail eggs, serrano ham, avocado and chicken (also comes w/ blue cheese which I left off). Wonderful lemony vinaigrette and fresh greens.

                                            Also had two of the very, very fun cocktails they have on the menu. First was the best- the country cooler, which had bourbon, lemon and lavender syrup, second was also good- the awakening, with gin, lime and some herbs, I think. The table also shared the truffle fries and the donuts, both excellent. Friends had the onion soup and yogurt parfait.

                                            So, definitely a great brunch, although I guess we did veer into non-brunch items. The donuts were awesome, fresh, and a nice start to the meal. Cocktails were fun. Service was great and very patient with us as we got distracted from ordering by talking so much. I'm very encouraged, hope to find something just as good a little closer to Arlington.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: mjhals
                                              littlew1ng Sep 13, 2009 03:37 PM

                                              mj — closer to arlington, try eventide brunch. i had brunch there today and it was great. i think their kitchen has improved immensely since it first opened.

                                            2. j
                                              Jeserf Sep 13, 2009 03:12 PM

                                              Had a surprisingly good brunch at Busboys and Poets. Usually, I think I'm going to be disappointed by this place, but the brunch was great. The iced coffee was a little too strong/bitter, but all in all, the french toast was great, the eggs very well cooked, and the service was quick, friendly, and efficient.

                                              Don't cross it off your list if you haven't been.

                                              1. r
                                                Raids Feb 9, 2010 01:04 PM

                                                Try Againn. I'm not sure if they have an eggs benedict per se, but the corned beef hash is pretty close and fantastic. And get to Beacon already - I'm looking forward to reading your review!

                                                1. m
                                                  mjhals May 2, 2010 03:42 PM

                                                  Have recently made it out to some new spots and wanted to share. First, was Eventide about two weeks ago. Awesome brunch, especially enjoyed the cocktails- wish I could remember the name, but the one I liked best had aperol and elderflower liquer and champagne. Really, really good, think I'll attempt it at home. For my entree I had the scallops with grits and the browned butter brandy sauce. The sauce was amazing, but predictably rich. I had it on the side which helped my limit it to a taste so I could taste the grits and scallops separately (both were awesome- grits were creamy and just-made, no lumpiness, and the scallops were fresh and perfectly cooked). Dish was on the light side (about 6 medium scallops, but a lot of grits).

                                                  So thumbs up to Eventide. In addition to the food, that atmosphere is fun, and I really like the big, comfy booths on the second floor. We arrived early, right as they opened around 1000, so the bar was empty. By the time we left after 1100 the place was backed. So if you're looking to get fit in for brunch (I'd tried before on a previous weekend and didn't see reservations available), I would suggest trying the earlier times.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: mjhals
                                                    m
                                                    msjess May 5, 2010 07:33 AM

                                                    I am not really a fan of eating brunch out becuase the food tends to be horribly overpriced. However my mother in law begged us to to do brunch for mother's day. I cannot tell you how many resteraunts have a 30-50 dollar prefix "mother's day special" talk about obnoxius. For 50 dollars a person for BREAKFAST I expect lobster, caviar and gold plates.

                                                    1. re: msjess
                                                      ktmoomau May 5, 2010 09:42 AM

                                                      Well speaking of Eventide. I believe they are having an a la carte menu that isn't like that. I am always on the prow for non-buffets. You might also check out BlackSalt and Dino. (Although I don't know at this point if any of those will be available)

                                                      -----
                                                      BlackSalt
                                                      4883 MacArthur Blvd., Washington, DC 20007

                                                      1. re: ktmoomau
                                                        keithlb1 May 14, 2010 07:08 AM

                                                        Brunch should be effortless in the relaxation department
                                                        Tabard Inn fits the bill, excellent food, outdoor seating, and competent service.
                                                        And a Washington brunch would not be complete without fresh oysters.
                                                        You do need to make reservations at least a week in advance.
                                                        But it is worth it.
                                                        If you just want eggs benedict try bistro francais in Georgetown pretty good, and Clydes has decent Benedict not great but fits the bill.

                                                        -----
                                                        Tabard Inn
                                                        1739 N St NW, Washington, DC 20036

                                                        1. re: ktmoomau
                                                          m
                                                          msjess Jun 16, 2010 03:24 PM

                                                          We ended up going to blacksalt and spent about 50 dollars per person. it was absurd. The food was really good though. I have to remember if given half a chance my in laws will order one of everything off the menu.

                                                    2. d
                                                      douglasm Aug 3, 2010 08:54 AM

                                                      I can't believe no one has suggested Nage at 1600 Rhode Island Ave NW. Make a reservation for brunch, because it's packed, but worth it. They have a huge menu of mimosas made from fresh-squeezed juice (think peach, lychee, blueberry). Ate there with a group of girlfriends. The pancakes were only okay, but the "kill-it skillet" (Truffled Mac n Cheese, Chorizo, Bacon, Frites, Fried Egg) was delicious. Although the place was packed, our server was kind and attentive. Definitely recommend.

                                                      -----
                                                      Nage Restaurant
                                                      1600 Rhode Island Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036

                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: douglasm
                                                        m
                                                        mjhals Aug 8, 2010 12:36 PM

                                                        Whoa- stop the presses, thanks for the rec, Nage looks great, definitely on my short list to try.

                                                        In the meantime- we hit Againn today for brunch and I have to say it's close to the front-runner for me. As mentioned, I'm an eggs benedict fan, and they had a version on their menu with black pudding! I was a little hesitant, I've always avoided black (or blood) pudding because I always thought it would taste like, well, blood. But the waiter described it well, emphasizing the spices, so I decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did- I'll never be afraid of blood pudding again. Theirs was wonderful and you really could taste the spices (nutmeg and cinnamon), the eggs were perfectly cooked- very runny but no undercooked whites. Also served with lightly sauteed spinach and a slightly lemony hollandaise. The english muffins were described as homemade, and they probably were- great flavor, but for some reason they were incredibly chewy, very hard to cut with a table knife. In addition to the benedict we had an order of scones (2) that came with clotted cream, strawberry compote and lemon curd. These were amazing and a great start. They looked a little overcooked but didn't taste it at all, and the crumb was wonderfully most. Great price for mimosas ($5), especially considering they're made with fresh squeezed orange juice.

                                                        I've been very impressed with Againn for dinner and brunch maintained their high standards. This is definitely a repeat place for us. Nice sidewalk seating as well, although it was too hot for it today. Service was attentive and informative.

                                                        -----
                                                        Nage Restaurant
                                                        1600 Rhode Island Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036

                                                        1. re: mjhals
                                                          s
                                                          Steve Aug 8, 2010 07:00 PM

                                                          The attention to detail at Againn is stunning. If you like that, I do believe you should hit up Lyon Hall in Arlington. Although it is an Alsatian restaurant, the care of what's on the plate reminds me of Againn. As far as I know, it is only open for dinner. The sausage skillet is a sensation.

                                                          1. re: Steve
                                                            m
                                                            mjhals Aug 15, 2010 03:36 PM

                                                            I've been to Lyon Hall for dinner, when they first opened and wasn't 100% impressed. Need to give them another chance (went with my visiting, insane parents, which may have affected my appetite), brunch may be just the opportunity! We live very close, so it's easy. It's not a buffet, correct? I know Liberty Tavern is and it's the same owners.

                                                            -----
                                                            The Liberty Tavern
                                                            3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

                                                            1. re: mjhals
                                                              s
                                                              Steve Aug 15, 2010 06:03 PM

                                                              Lyon Hall is open only for dinner, unfortunately. Their entire menu is open to Restaurant Week, according to their Facebook page.

                                                              1. re: mjhals
                                                                keithlb1 Jul 3, 2012 06:05 AM

                                                                I have been reflecting on this thread about Sunday brunch and as a person who works in a restaurant that serves Saturday and Sunday brunch, and have worked in hotels that serve brunch, I think the FF debacle can probably be related to the fact that most restaurant employees absolutely hate working Brunch. Thus you have a lot of new hires that work those days, and there is one of the reasons you get many more mistakes made on these days. A lot of this bias can be traced to the fact that most servers are paid a less than minimum wage per hour, and exist on tips only. Many servers prefer to work the business lunches and dinners during the week so they can boost check averages by selling wine and appetizers. Desserts aren't enough to boost tip totals enough to work a brunch. Basically many places cater to families with kids, and girlfriends who get together and talk more than eat and drink thus taking away the server's ability to turn the table. I am not criticizing these people after all they're paying guests and are very welcome. But this takes me back to the premise about why servers hate working brunch. Some places do brunch way better than others. Because brunch can be a bit pricey in some locales they tend to get more foodie attention, and reservations only crowd, in other places where the brunch is less so, and provide kids menus you have more of a casual eat and go crowd. But to cater to this clientele the restaurant as a whole has to no how to handle a high volume situation on a Sunday morning where I guarantee that no one is really thrilled about working in a situation where guests who don't really eat out a lot have become part of the proverbial "fly in the ointment" by not even attempting to meet the servers level of competence by informing and prompting the server. After all in some instances the guests feel like we should automatically know that even though the menu says mushrooms they can't stand mushrooms...Go Figure.

                                                                1. re: keithlb1
                                                                  monkeyrotica Jul 3, 2012 06:49 AM

                                                                  You've pretty much summarized why I avoid brunch like the plague. Thanks.

                                                        2. t
                                                          tpowers Aug 5, 2012 05:11 AM

                                                          For decent Sunday Brunch Buffet for a good value, good atmosphere, good wait staff, good food.
                                                          These would equate to what you woudl find at a good Officer or NCO Club
                                                          Kilroys in Springfield VA http://www.kilroys.com
                                                          Right at Braddock Road and the Beltway
                                                          and
                                                          Brion's Grille in Fairfax VA http://www.brionsgrille.com/
                                                          Near George Mason University on Braddock Road

                                                           
                                                           
                                                          1. w
                                                            wineo1957 Aug 6, 2012 07:10 AM

                                                            Just had an amazing brunch at Dino where they have started Restaurant Week pricing.

                                                            The brunch is $20 and includes an appetizer, a main course and a Mimosa or Bloody Mary with unlimited refills. I had the Mimosa {real orange juice and tasty prosecco, not the cheap versions you usually get with unlimited: I'm (looking at you Ardeo!) and it is great, the boy has the Bloody Mary and it too was fabulous. Our friends had Bellinis made with local fruit, again tops.

                                                            Between the six of us, we had over half the menu. Not a clunker in the bunch. Highlights included crisp pork belly with grilled white peaches and green sauce, melon gazpacho, beets with yogurt and fried ginger, a great caprese, wild boar pasta made with cream and no tomato, eggs Benedict made with prosciutto taking the place of the ham/Canadian bacon and grilled ciabatta taking the palce of the english muffin with wicked good hollandaise, and French toast with nutella and the star of the day: corned beef hash made with their own house made corned beef.

                                                            Desserts were fabby as well: sliced peaches baked with a crumbled cookie topping and incredible vanilla gelato, plum cake that was very spicy and topped with black peppercorn gelato, creamalatta {sp?} which was a parfait of berry cream studded with chocolate, cookies and almonds, more gelato and spiked sorbets that were amazing.

                                                            All I can say is this is now our favorite brunch in town. Well worth the full price, but at $20, a pure steel. The $20 price is on until Labor Day.

                                                            1. monkeyrotica Aug 6, 2012 07:52 AM

                                                              Masa 14 does a $35 all-you-can-eat brunch with unlimited drinks. Steep, but high quality ingredients and a step up from the usual 978 kinds of eggs.

                                                              http://www.richardsandoval.com/masa14...

                                                              1. e
                                                                Elyssa Aug 6, 2012 09:11 AM

                                                                I had brunch recently at Mintwood Place and it was excellent. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite restaurants in DC and their brunch is equally as good as their dinner menu. I was really surprised that we were able to just walk right in on a Sunday at noon...I think the word isn't out quite yet about their brunch menu.

                                                                I got the breakfast succotash---a bunch of fresh veggies with a poached egg on top. You can get it with salmon as well but I passed (even though I'm sure that's delicious). Everything was great. I can't wait to go back.

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