I have something to admit. I really didn’t like going into Metro Center/Gallery Place. It always felt so sterile and fabricated feeling, not to mention it’s always packed with tourists and Capital One patrons and passersby. On an off-weekend, though, I found Penn Quarter calm, quiet, and actually pleasant to meander around. Lucky for us, there are now more new restaurants creating additional places worthy of a pit stop.
Our beloved Boqueria opened its second D.C. location for brunch. With some varying menu items and bottomless brunch, we needed to evaluate the latest tapas situation.
This tapas-style brunch is $42.00 and gives you a variety of tapas for the table and a choice of unique sangrias and shishito margaritas, and coffee drinks, not to mention their famous churros.
To drink we ordered some coffees and Sangria. Boqueria has some of our favorite Sangria in the city, concocted with good quality wine and without extra juices and artificial flavorings.
For tapas, we had to have the Spanish tortilla, the Berza salad, bacon wrapped dates, lamb meatballs, the escalivada, and the pan con tomate. For mains, you can choose between familiar brunch items like Eggs Benedict, French toast, etc., or you can opt for their famous paella or the rotisserie chicken, a dish unique to Boqueria Penn Quarter.
The tortilla and pan con tomate were presented together on a gorgeous slate plate accompanied by Spanish olives and fresh garden salad. We remember the Spanish tortilla with a bit more egg, salt, and maybe at room temperature, rather than this slightly undersalted, potato heavy version that was ice cold. The pan con tomate, in general, is our most dependable tapa. The crispy bread had a sweet, acidic, and moist tomato spread with delicious manchego and succulent serrano ham.
Bacon wrapped dates are the kind of appetizer you know exist, but always forget until you have them at a fancy family gathering and realize how good they actually are. The Boqueria version is packed with flavor. The dates are soft, caramelized and filled with a crispy walnut, subtle blue cheese and wrapped in high quality, perfumed bacon. These disappeared– fast.
The Berza salad is the right amount of acid you need at a salty, sultry brunch with a plethora of meats and cheeses. The massaged kale was willowy and easy to eat. The complement of creamy avocado, sour grapefruit, and bitter dill was an amalgamation of freshness.
The lamb meatballs arrived at the table and you could instantly smell the fatty flavors cooked in an aromatic red sauce. We were bit turned off by the cold cucumbers garnishing this piping hot bowl of comfort food, but the lamb was delicious enough to overlook that.
We’d done some damage, but the raved about rotisserie chicken was up next. Served with crispy halved potatoes, and sunny side up eggs, the rotisserie chicken was a beautiful presentation of homestyle dishes. The chicken had incredibly crispy skin with a strong soy and umami flavor. A garlicky salsa verde was sprinkled above it to enhance each bite of juicy chicken and starchy potato. Since this brunch concluded, I’ve spent some time reflecting exactly what the sunny side up eggs were doing on this plate. They didn’t add any additional flavor or texture that would add to this dish, in fact, it might have taken away from just how perfect and beautiful the chicken was. I’m also not a fan of mixing eggs and chicken, but own fo pa opinion aside, I’d say they were bit unnecessary.
You can’t conclude tapas brunch without churros. We personally love the Nutella filled churros, but the thinner, churros with chocolate are the perfect amount of sweetness to sweep you off your feet.
The Bitches say: four champagne flutes
The food is always unique, sharable, and mouthwatering. The new space is beautiful and filled with incredible seating options no matter your party size.