I’m going to start rating these brunches by how effectively they cure my hangovers. Because, well, that seems to be a pretty efficient scale. Not to mention I’ve spent most Saturdays and Sundays of late hungover (err … since college?).
Saturday night I went to my first Fatback. Yes, yes, I know this epic dance party has been around for years. And I have heard so much about it since moving to DC (good DJs make my world go ‘round, people). Here’s why this party is so cool: There’s no dress code; no cover; nothing but dancing, and I’m talking dancing with reckless abandon. The sweatfest is on the third Saturday of every month at Liv, which is adjoined to Bohemian Caverns on U Street.
Fatback took a break in March, but then got back to work this month by bringing in their group of phenom DJs that mixed “funk, soul, boogaloo and more from around the globe” (their words). The dance floor was alive: There was a dude shaking a tambourine. There were dance-offs. There were pirate hats. There were pink balloons flying. There was dancing Obama projected on the wall. And there was sweat. Lots of it.
I mean, you can’t top a bacon-themed party. I’m just saying.
The next morning we rolled into Cleveland Park in dark shades and inappropriate hoodies (well, except for Cori Sue, who had run the Earth Day 5k that morning and was glowing with energy because of it). The destination: A $25 two-course champagne brunch at Ardeo, a swanky French/American spot in that strip center just north of the Zoo on Connecticut. (OK, the food is American but the waiters are all fat Frenchmen.) It’s owned by the geniuses that run Rasika, my favorite DC restaurant, so I had extremely high expectations.
Instant hangover relief: the chocolate chip scones and spongy rye bread they have in baskets on the tables. Then the first course dishes were perfectly sized. The baby spinach and frisee salad came with calimyrna fig dressing, honey goat cheese, and toasted pine nuts. So refreshing. They were out of mussels, but the rest of the appetizers were written with enough flair to sound extremely interesting. Lemon-scented puree of sunchoke soup with sweet rock shrimp, for instance, sounds especially ambitious. Lemon-scented sunchoke? Really?
For entrees, the Florentine dish read so phenomenally well that three of us ordered it: poached eggs, fennel sausage, spinach, tomatoes, and hollandaise on an English muffin. My other table cohorts went for the stuffed custard toast (stuffed with cream cheese and perfectly sweet with caramelized bananas and maple syrup) and the roasted yellow tomato omelet filled with goat cheese and basil. I took a bite of both. The toast is rich enough to be a dessert. The omelet is extremely tasty—but make sure you love goat cheese. And back to that Florentine: nothing but mushy, runny, eggy satisfaction.
Next time, Ardeo, I promise I’ll be more adventurous than eggs. I mean, they have entrees such as squid ink risotto and huevnos con chorizo on their brunch menu! Things that, unfortunately, I couldn’t stomach Sunday morning, but will definitely try at a later date.
I suffered through this brunch (all in the name of blogging, I tell you!) but it hit the spot. I felt amazingly better afterwards. And promptly went home to nap and rest my poor dancin’ feet.
The bitches say: B. The menu was good, if not written with enough flourish to make you think it’s good, but the service was spotty. The $25 bottomless is, however, a fantastic brunch deal.
Hangover rating: Cured!
3311 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008