Oh, Urbana. Your walls are so sleek. Your flowers so lovely. Your plates so shiny. The 173-seat basement bar and restaurant adjoined to Hotel Palomar is the perfect spot for that late-night glass of fabulous wine to top off a dinner date in Dupont. But what about for brunch? Hmmm.
Forty of us gathered there on Sunday (our party took up half the dining room, mind you) for a friend’s surprise birthday brunch (we love you, Michael). The deal was a buffet for $26 (including tax and tip) or $40 if you added bottomless champagne.
Sidenote: I believe the buffet was arranged on special request because of our large party. Most guests have to choose from the menu (check it out here) and add on the bottomless champagne to their brunch entrée. But, dear friends, this is how I would recommend going at Urbana anyway. Here’s why.
The buffet was minorly disappointing. Okay eggs with mushrooms, Parmigianino Reggiano cheese, vegetables and herbs. Smoked bacon and spicy Italian sausage. A very greasy croissant sandwich with egg, ham, and cheese. And a big boring bowl of low-fat yogurt with house-made granola.
Not that I eat like a cow … But this bitch enjoys having more to choose from in her brunches.
The shining light at the end of the buffet, however, came in the form of the extraordinary champagne bar. Bottles and bottles sitting on ice—my favorite sight at noon on a Sunday.
$11 bottomless gets you access to a selection of Montelliana Prosecco, Francois Montand Rosé, or Spruce Goose sparking juice. Even better, you can top off your glass with a variety of fresh juices and purées: orange juice, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, grapefruit juice, mango purée, passion fruit purée, strawberry purée, or peach purée. And look at the pretty coffee cups. This delights me.
Indeed, the champagne bar and its fruit purée selection is the golden ticket at this brunch spot. And not something you’d usually find in a hotel buffet. (We stayed sipping for over two hours, and then I tottered over to U Street to get my hair done whilst a bit tipsy: not the best idea.)
The hotel restaurant, which is owned by San Francisco’s Puccini Restaurant Group, could stand on its own, I think. And next time, I’m ordering off the menu, which I’ve heard is fab.
The bitches say: B+ for a sleek ambiance, extensive champagne bar, and good, but not life-changing food.
Urbana Restaurant & Wine Bar
2121 P Street, NW
Washington DC 20037
Brunch is 8 am to 3 pm Saturday and Sunday