Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Fond Farewell

Unfortunately this will be my last post on Brunch DC. I am starting law school at Columbia next week so my ability to venture back South to D.C. will be limited. This site will remain up for as long as people continue to read it. All of my reviews can be found here. I've enjoyed exploring the D.C. brunch scene this past year. Hopefully it will continue to improve.

I started this project with the premise that "Yes, you can occasionally get good brunch in D.C." and my initial premise has held true. Over my close to 40 reviews, the average rating was 2.2 stars out of 4. Only one restaurant got four stars -- Tabard Inn -- while six got only one star. However, ten restaurants got at least three stars. Thus, while D.C. still has a long way to go in perfecting my favorite meal, there are certainly bright spots, like the pides at Rosemary's Thyme, the bagel brunch at 2 Amys, the doughnuts at the Tabard Inn, and the fried chicken and waffles at Marvin.

Here are some of my suggestions for ways in which D.C.'s brunch scene could improve:

(1) Provide mandatory training on how to poach an egg. There were sundry occasions where my poached eggs were downright terrible. That ruins the dish, particularly the brunch staple Eggs Benedict. Note the difference between a horrible poached egg (at Stars Cafe -- unreviewed, just so bad), and an excellent one made by yours truly. The whites should be firm and the yolks runny. It's really not that hard.

(2) Add some prix fixe brunch menus. One of my favorite places in New York, Essex, offers a brunch entree and 3 alcoholic beverages for a flat $18. It's an excellent deal. While prix fixe brunches have long been a staple in New York (even my local NY brunch spot, Fred's, offers an entree, coffee, and an alcoholic beverage for $15), you don't see them at all in D.C. And the $15+ bottomless mimosa deals that have recently sprung up don't count, it has to be all inclusive and under $20.

(3) Get some decent Dim Sum or other ethnic food. It is a shame you cannot find decent ethnic food for brunch in D.C. Aside from the occassional Indian or Japanese buffet, there really aren't any ethnic brunch options in the city. An excellent and inexpensive dim sum establishment within the city limits would add a lot.

(4) Improve the service. At even the best restaurants in D.C., the service was often slow, disorganized, and inefficient. I understand that the waiters may be just as hungover as the patrons on a Sunday morning but improvement shouldn't be too hard. We shouldn't have to be moved three times for our party of five at Ben's Next Door, or wait at least 20 minutes for someone to take our order at Utopia. Bad service really hampers the brunch experience at a lot of restaurants that have respectable food.

Well, there you have it. For those who aren't sick of me, I may begin doing some food writing up in New York; if so I'll be sure to let my Brunch DC readers know. Farewell D.C.

6 comments:

hannah said...

Any chance you'd pass over the reins to someone to continue the DC brunch research?

Robert said...

I'm going to miss BrunchDC - you've always pointed me in the right direction

Michael said...

Hannah: possibly. Contact me at brunchdc[at]gmail.com and we can talk about it.

T. Torres said...

I very much appreciated your competent critiques. Your fine photography demonstrated for all of us the quality of plating each of these establishments. Like a beacon of truth showing all of us the way to sound nourishment in a forest of imitation and gimicks - you have truly served all of us well. We are a city in a much poorer state of gastronomy now that you are leaving. My only hope is that DC's brunch scene does not disintegrate into the dark ages through which we all suffered before you first began your humanitarian mission.

Johnna Knows Good Food: Yum Yum, Gimme Some! said...

You will be missed! Thanks for the recommendation on the Tabard Inn;-) and good luck in law school!

GeraldF_Rotter雅慧 said...

I love readding, and thanks for your artical. ........................................