The Tabard Inn is one of D.C.'s oldest and most historic hotels and it serves one of the best brunches in the city. The restaurant is set in a small dining area to one side of the inn with simple yet elegant decor. (There is also an outdoor patio area that is open when the weather is warm). The Tabard Inn is unsurprisingly crowded during brunch and the small inn feel is unfortunately damaged by the noise of the crowds. That is a small detraction from an otherwise memorable brunch experience.
There are a lot of great dishes at the Tabard Inn but they are best known for their homemade donuts, which are warm, cakey, and delicious, if a little too sugary, and come with a side of homemade vanilla whipped cream. At $1.50 a piece, no Tabard Inn brunch is complete without a few donuts for the table.
Tabard Inn has an extensive seasonal menu. (Though the menu on the website may vary slightly from the actual menu). They have a large selection of appetizers and entrees ranging from salads and soups to omelets, frittatas, tarts, and sandwiches. All of the dishes we ordered were excellent. Tabard truly lives up to its reputation as among the best brunches in the city.
Being from New York, I had to try the smoked fish plate, which comes with house-smoked salmon and bluefish, with frisée, caper berries, crostini, and homemade crème fraîche. This dish had an unexpectedly larger portion than I had anticipated. Further the salmon and bluefish were both mild and without imperfections. The salmon in partcular was truly excellent and certainly outperforms the smoked salmon you'd find a virtually any other place in the city. The homemade crème fraîche and crostinis complete the dish well.
The savory tart the day I went considered of lump crab meat, spinach, and gruyere and came with a side of fresh mixed greens. The tart was a thick slice with large visible pieces of crab. The crusts were nicely crisp and the middle soft.
Keeping with the seafood theme, we tried the lobster and brie omelet, which came with a side of potatoes and a buttery biscuit. Like the crab tart, the omelet came with large number of big visible pieces of lobster. The omelet itself was prepared in a trifold design, reminiscent of classic French preparation. It also exuded soft melted brie cheese, which provided a nice complement to the lobster. The biscuit was puffy and buttery.
Finally, we tried the frittata with tomatoes and goat cheese. The frittata looked more like a thick omelet than a traditional frittata, which often looks more like a tart or quiche. Nonetheless, this dish was also excellent and it had a generous amount of fillings with a side of fresh greens.
The coffee was strong and rich, and they brought individual cream servers with each coffee, which was a nice touch. The service was helpful and attentive, but they do stick to their no substitutions policy.
Overall a great choice for brunch. You must get a reservation several days in advance if you want to go on Sunday. Saturday brunch is less crowded.
Contact information after the jump. Continue reading.
Brunch Menu [Tabard Inn] (N.B. May differ from what they offer on a given day)
Hotel Tabard Inn
1739 N St. NW
Washington D.C. 20036
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