Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Brunch Done Right: The Tabard Inn

As I have stated before on these pages, brunch is not something that a lot of DC restaurants seem to put much effort into.  For many if not most DC establishments across the spectrum, brunch seems an after-thought, replete with runny eggs, soggy French toast, and abysmal service, which is usually masked by offering-- my head hurts just thinking about it --bottomless rail mimosas or bloody marys.  But I have found that The Tabard Inn has consistently exceeded my brunch expectations.

The bad news first: the intimate series of dining rooms in this Dupont Circle brownstone fill up so quickly that even for a party of two, you need to call at least two weeks in advance.  So stop reading, and go make that call if you think you'd prefer a brunch that decidedly does not include a make-your-own waffle station or bloody mary bar.

The good news: Once you have the reservation, you arrive via the cozy fireplace and lounge at the entrance to the restaurant and find yourself seated and hungry.  What to get?  The homemade fried donuts!  These piping hot, cinnamon-and-sugar-dusted, hot-sticky-doughy balls of goodness come with fresh whipped cream.  At $1.50 each or $9 for a half dozen, the price is right for couples or groups.  And should you be carb loading, fresh bread and a rotating selection of mini-muffins also arrive (gratis) prior to the meal, so you will not leave hungry.

Tabard Inn: Fresh Fried Donuts

As for the savory, Tabard Inn offers both breakfast and lunch options ranging from the classic Eggs Benedict (!) to the more adventurous seared Tasmanian salmon fillet (?).  On this past visit, we stuck to the breakfast entrees, and were both very pleased with our choices.

I opted for the same thing I had on our previous trip: the huevos rancheros, which come on house-made tortillas with two salsas, refried black beans, and avocado.  This dish really comes together with the perfectly fried eggs which, when pierced, allow the egg yoke to escape ever so slightly and flavor the entire dish.  This entree provides a great bite at brunch, and is not nearly as heavy as it sounds.  If I were to suggest one tweak, it would be to up the heat a bit on the salsa. 

Tabard Inn: Huevos Rancheros

B also opted for eggs, but scrambled with cream cheese and chives, served with house-made Toulouse sausage (tastier than it looks), and home fries.  The eggs were pure decadence; the creamy texture and rich flavor was nicely offset but the crunch and zest of the chives.

Tabard Inn: Scrambled Eggs w/Cream Cheese and Chives

I am considering making a standard monthly reservation at the Tabard Inn.  In the last five years, I have not found a better brunch spot in and around DC.  And like with most things in life, you get what you pay for.  Brunch entrees hover around $15, with an average tab for two with tax, and tip at $40.  Budget more if you want to sample any of the breakfast cocktails, though unlike at other spots, they are by no means necessary to stomach the food!

Tabard Inn on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I never knew it will be a good idea to make a reservation for a brunch in The Tabard Inn. Those food look delicious. I would love to eat there and try out that Huevos Rancheros.