Bar Pilar is a small Ernest Hemingway-inspired bar between Logan Circle and U St, owned by the same people who own the popular cafe/dance club Cafe St. Ex. "El Pilar" was, as devoted Hemingway aficionados such as me know, the name of Hemingway's fishing boat that he kept at his home in Cuba. Naturally the place contains a photo of a fishing boat. While Bar Pilar is mostly known for its inventive drinks and small sharable plates for dinner, where the same bartender who served you and your drunken friends a G&T at St. Ex the weekend before might be here serving you a small plate of pork loin with red cabbage slaw or blanched radishes with Amish country butter. For brunch, however, Bar Pilar still has some kinks to work out.
Unlike its dinner menu, its brunch menu does not feature small plates. Its menu is notable for including "Bulls-eye Toast" also known affectionately as "egg in a hole" and at least a dozen other names including my personal favorite "yolky pokey." This dish consists of a fried egg within the hole of a (thick) slice of bread. The result is an egg and bread combination with the yolk protruding from a hole in the center of the slice. If done well, this is excellent comfort food. Unfortunately, it was inconsistently prepared at Bar Pilar. Half of the eggs were overcooked, which cannot happen for this dish to be successful. The other dishes were also fairly mediocre.
The chocolate chip pancakes with walnut butter was an interesting idea but was dry and did not come with maple syrup. In fact, Bar Pilar would not provide us with syrup when asked -- a seemingly bizarre concept since they are serving pancakes. The eggs benedict were decent albeit a little salty. The bloody mary was well-garnished with a lime and three olives, but it could have used a little more kick.
The service was also spotty. Our dishes came out at different times. The waiter claimed that the kitchen is not used to making sure that each table has all of its food at one time because the kitchen is more used to making the dinner's small plates which they evidently just churn out and leave them under a heat lamp until they are ordered. That was an odd admission and should certainly be remedied for their brunch service to be put on the path to success.
Contact information after the jump. Continue reading.
1833 14th St. NW
Washington, DC 20009
View Larger Map