When I walked into Cedar in Penn Quarter, I immediately felt like I should be dining with my grandparents. Between the fake-tree wallpaper and white tablecloths on the perfectly-set-but-empty tables, the décor seemed like it belonged in a cheesy conference center or somewhere reliable that your elders have frequented for the last 10 years because they can always get a reservation. That being said, the tacky-yet-sterile furnishings were covered by plenty of Holiday wreathes and garland, making the ambiance festive, rather than atrocious.
Aside from the bizarre setting, our waiter was fabulous and attentive, but not too aggressive. The menu had a fair amount of options, but entrees were on the pricier side for brunch, ranging from $12 to $14. While these a la carte menu prices are equivalent to J&G Steakhouse, Art & Soul, and Tabbard Inn, as a restaurant Cedar is not. Furthermore, I just think pancakes and French toast should be priced at $10 or below.
My second complaint is that you had to pay for bread. Who does that? But, I love carbs in the morning (and all the time), so I ordered the grilled bread with house-made jam ($3). The portion, a slice of bread cut into three pieces, was meager. Don’t most restaurants bring you a basket of unlimited glorious carbohydrates rather than making you pay three bucks for a slice?
However, things improved with the entrees, which were all plain old good food. I ordered the crab cake Benedict with brioche, béarnaise, and mixed greens. The adorable mini crab cakes were filled with fresh, real lump crab meat, and came served on little blinis. The mixed greens were light, crisp and refreshing. Similarly, Christina had the cobb salad, which was enormous but equally delicious.
Laura’s dish, the banana nut crunch French toast with Chantilly cream and maple syrup, stole the hearts and appetites of the table. It was mouth-wateringly good—fluffy, moist banana bread inside with a crunchy coat served with an enormous pile of Chantilly cream. Because, really, who doesn’t like having a mound of cream at their dipping disposal?
The Bitches say: B, good food, good service, bizarre decor. Beyond paying for bread, nothing offensive or bad, per say, but nothing wonderful.
822 E St. N.W.