Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Year of Brunch: Mailbag

My selections for 2008's top brunches and brunch awards elicited a variety of comments and emails. Here I'll address the most pressing criticisms. (Names are included for comments on the website; excluded for emailed comments). I did minimal editing of comments for length.

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

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.
- T. Torres.

These are just a sample of the criticisms I received related to my exclusion of Vinoteca from my best brunches of 2008 list. While I gave Vinoteca a favorable 3-star review, it does not belong in the category of the top four restaurants. First, the $1 sparkling beverage drinks are a promotion, that, though they extended it until April, is not a regular part of their brunch experience. Second, on a subsequent visit to Vinoteca, their food was significantly downsized. The once mightly Monte Cristo was reduced to an ordinary sandwich. While the pre-downsized Monte Cristo was certainly an excellent choice, the overall menu is fairly limited. Finally, their service did not compare to the top four places. There's only one or two servers for the whole place which means that they're generally slow to take your orders and slow to bring your rounds of $1 drinks. They did not have the flourishes and service of the Tabard Inn, the originality of Domku, the homemade quality of 2 Amys, or the consistency of La Fourchette.

Notwithstanding these criticisms, I still think Vinoteca is a solid brunch choice and have duly awarded it one of 2008's "best deals."

You clearly have allowed your personal love for salmon to overtake the good sense you have displayed since this site began.

- T. Torres

All of your top choices are salmon-heavy. What's the deal with that?

Yes, three out of my top four choices have strong salmon and fish offerings. I hadn't initially taken that into account when I made the listing but it is a fair point. I will admit to a smoked fish bias. I'm from the Upper West Side of Manhattan, I can't argue against my upbringing.

I love the Diner!!!! Why hate?

I'm surprised you said the Diner was so bad. Especially after your review of Afterwords I'd think that would be your most overrated

I'm sorry, "Why hate"? We're talking about brunch here. And I don't "hate" the Diner. It just doesn't have very good food. It continues to baffle me that so many people make the trip to go there when there are countless other better brunch choices just down the block. It's baffling. And yes, I also think that Afterwords is extremely overrated. The reason I gave the award to the Diner is that Afterwords is a tourist trap and most DC residents know that. Local Adams Morgan residents frequent the Diner. That's a huge difference.

You should try ______. It's so much better than your choices.

How about some Georgetown or Capitol Hill reviews?

Yes you may be right that your favorite restaurants that I haven't reviewed would stack up to my top choices. I'll hopefully try out your favorites in due course. Of course, if you're interested in contributing to Brunch DC, feel free to email me. I live in the Adams Morgan/U St. area. Naturally my reviews are going to be skewed in that direction. I am going to make an effort to branch out a little bit more. Chances are I won't be reviewing many places in Georgetown or Capitol Hill though.

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