Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Year of Brunch: Best of 2008

Here are my recommendations for the best brunch in Washington, D.C.

(1) Tabard Inn, 1739 N St. NW, (202) 833-2668, Menu.

The Tabard Inn is one of D.C.'s oldest and most historic hotels and it wins the honor of the best brunch in the city for 2008. 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; at $1.50 a piece, no Tabard Inn brunch is complete without a few donuts for the table. Their extensive menu changes seasonally. The best dishes are the smoked fish plate, which comes with a large portion of house-smoked salmon and bluefish, with frisée, caper berries, crostini, and homemade crème fraîche; and the lobster and brie omelet, which was prepared in a trifold design, reminiscent of classic French preparation with large pieces of lobster, and exuding soft melted brie cheese, which provided a nice complement to the lobster. The homemade bread and biscuits are also superb. There is no better place for brunch in D.C. than the Tabard Inn.

(2) 2 Amys, 3715 Macomb St. NW, (202) 885-5700.

2 Amy's brunch consists solely of homemade bagels and bialys with house smoked salmon (along with their traditional menu of superb pizza) and they rightly take their place as the best in the city. These are not traditional New York-style bagels. Instead they are larger, crispier, sourdough rolls with a slightly tangy taste. The tangyness of the sourdough used to make them comes from using leftover whey (from their homemade cream cheese) instead of water. The homemade cream cheese is whipped so it's very soft and spreadable. A virtually perfect brunch experience.

(3) La Fourchette, 2429 18th St NW, (202) 332-3077, Menu.

This authentic Parisian cafe serves the best brunch on 18th street (so authentic it's closed for much of August in true Parisian form). It had a solid selection of exquisitely prepared dishes, is not particularly expensive, and provides excellent service and atmosphere. The best dishes include the omelet Provençal, which contains a variety of fresh herbs and is covered with a tomato sauce and a side of potatoes, which are crisp well-seasoned; and the French toast, which is made with fresh baguettes.

(4) Domku, 821 Upshur St. NW,(202) 722-7454, Menu.

Aside from the almost undrinkably spicy bloody mary, Domku, in Petworth, serves excellent Scandinavian and Eastern European cuisine. It has great originality and a welcoming environment. Dish highlights are the Norwegian pancakes that are thin and crepe-like and can be filled with a variety of meats, cheeses, and vegetables that are cooked into the pancake; and the Swedish waffle, prepared in an interesting heart-shaped waffle iron and topped with whipped cream and lingonberry preserves. The lightness of the waffle was an excellent complement with the heartiness of the preserves. Worth the trip.


John said...

its appalling that you left out Vinoteca. I'll take a monte cristo and $1 mimosas over your top selections anyday.

T. Torres said...

Sushi? How can you not pick the Sushi place you featured back in October. The selection was phenomenal - and all fresh. Further a monte cristo and a $1 mimosa (vinoteca) is way more worth getting up for than a plain bagel and cream cheese at 2 Amy's... You clearly have allowed your personal love for salmon to overtake the good sense you have displayed since this site began...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips! Tabard Inn has been a favorite for years and we can't wait to get back for their brunch.

I've been wanting to try Domku as well. Russian Christmas (per the Orthodox calendar) just passed and I was trying to think of a Russian place besides Russia House where we could have a nice meal to celebrate. I should have visited your blog earlier for the Domku reminder!