I had the greatest little Sunday in the suburbs with my wifey, Lauren. We headed out to Mosaic as we had wanted to try a new restaurant, Brine, and to do some shopping.
It was the perfect little Sunday. We began with a workout at solidcore, which is an incredibly challenging workout I do regularly. (It never gets easier! How is that possible?)
Then, we stopped by Mom & Pop, a concept from the folks at Dolcezza, and I enjoyed my second dulce de leche latte of the weekend. #Treatyourself. Coffees in hand, we perused the weekend farmers’ market, which was pretty impressive! There were soaps, cheese, crepes, and other local wares from Virginia. This farmer’s market offered less fruits and veggies and more specialty and gift items. I wouldn’t go to get the bulk of my groceries, but rather to pick up apple cider, specialty cheeses, butcher meats, and local soaps and lotions.
Brine is a large, open restaurant with high ceilings, beautiful wooden floors, and a great open kitchen and raw bar. The space was very organic and clean, and we both commented on the beauty of the restaurant.
We were greeted by a kind hostess who led us to a corner table with a super sweet waiter. We ordered the usual water and coffees and he kept both refilled constantly. This is an impressive feat, as I’ve been known to go through 13 glasses of water in a sitting.
Brine has an impressive menu of seafood. Appropriately, the raw bar is loaded with oysters from local waters; Rappahannock, Sting Ray, and Olde Salts from Chincoteague. There are also clam, shrimp and oyster platters, as well as caviar and ceviche.
We didn’t have oysters at brunch, but I’m already making plans to return for dinner. I just love oysters in a great ambiance. I’ve recently also acquired a taste for caviar, which is added to my long list of expensive tastes and habits. We sadly skipped both this morning.
The full lunch menu is available at brunch, which includes unique appetizers with a focus on vegetables and seafood, and then seafood roasted on the wood rotisserie. For our appetizers, we decided to share the pork belly and the radishes. The pork belly came topped with a sunny side up egg and smoked mushrooms. I love mushrooms, so this was one of my favorite dishes. The mushrooms were incredibly flavorful and the egg was perfectly fried. The pork belly was crispy on the outside, and the perfect blend of fatty and meaty when you cut in. Most importantly, you could tell they started with high-quality ingredients.
I’m also on a bit of a radish kick. I always order, and promptly demolish, the enormous board of radishes and butter at Le Diplomate. When the radishes arrived at Brine, we were surprised to see the vegetable cut in large chunks, rather than sliced thinly. It was a bit daunting, and we wondered aloud how we would cut into the dense, thick, raw radishes. There were several varietals of radish: green, purple, and white, which was delicious and unique. And they were served with an oyster aioli and olive oil. In addition to them being difficult to cut, we lamented that the aioli would have spread better over thin radishes.
The waiter brought out a beautiful tin of fluffy rolls of bread. Lauren and I quickly came to a standstill, staring at the bread. We’d both over indulged over Thanksgiving and were trying to be good. “I’m not doing it,” I said, and finally she gave in. The complimentary rolls were warm and fluffy—and sprinkled with large sea salt crystals and served with a side of butter. Lauren said they were good, but not as good as they looked. I’m still not clear on whether she was saying that to assuage my envy.
We ordered a side of bacon, as Bitches always order bacon if it’s available. No matter if you’re already eating pork belly, bacon is a must. And, I’m glad we did, because this side of bacon was delightful—warm, crispy, oily, and slightly sweet with an applewood smoke. I had three slices.
We also went splitsies on our entrees, as one does. We opted for the Migas, a Spanish egg dish served in a skillet, and the egg whites, also served in a skillet. The migas comprised Merguez sausage, chunks of country bred, and fried eggs. It was served with a purple-pink remoulade that tasted strongly of ketchup—I could taste a lot of vinegar and sugar. So, I’d adjust that slightly.
The egg white skillet was simple in the best possible way—very good for those who want to eat clean. The skillet had potatoes, kale and arugula baked into egg whites, toped with more arugula and seasoned simply with lemon and olive oil. The dish was perfectly executed and we enjoyed each bite.
Brine serves a few more brunchy items we didn’t try: French toast, a crab cake Eggs Benny, a steak, and a burger. It’s great for the hearty eater and also paleo-friendly. Of course, we finished with dessert, selecting the chocolate mousse. The dish, titled the Chocolate Bavarious, was described as a chocolate mousse. This mousse was not just a chocolate mousse, but rather a bowl of varied sugary treats. At the bottom of the bowl lay the thick, creamy chocolate mousse. Piled atop it was brownie chunks, chunks of peanut brittle, vanilla meringues, a whipped cream of sorts, and vanilla gelato. You had to be strategic with your bites, which was a challenge. The peanut brittle tasted better than the brownie, and paired perfectly with the vanilla gelato and the chocolate mousse. If we were in charge, we’d remove the meringues and the brownies from the equation.
On our way out, we stopped to take a Snapchat with Santa, who had been greeting the well-dressed toddlers of Virginia all morning. It really was a lovely little Sunday.
The Bitches say: A-. Love this upscale casual American restaurant with a focus on seafood and fresh ingredients. There were minimal missteps in the experience: our waiter was darling and attentive, the space was beautiful, and the food was great! We’d refine a few dishes slightly, but it was a delicious experience nonetheless.
2985 District Ave. Suite 120
Brine serves brunch on Sundays.