Dupont Circle restaurants rarely impress me. With their central location as tourist attractions and easy happy hour spots, they rarely have to work very hard. Darlington House and Tomate fall into this category, as does Circa.
I had been to Circa a few times before—beau loves it—and enjoyed my meal, but never had any burning desire to go back. But, someone always suggests it because the patio is lovely, and off we go.
Such was the occasion a few weeks ago for brunch. It was a glorious Washington spring morning and we wanted to show our out-of-towners the sights and sounds of Dupont Circle. We settled in on Circa’s patio for a round of mimosas.
The mimosas, oddly enough, came in regular tumbler glasses, rather than champagne glasses, and were served with ice. I was perplexed, and unenthused. At $5, the mimosas are a good price—especially for the size—but I didn’t want a second.
The visiting gang agreed that the menu has plenty of options. Trent, a guest bruncher from Texas, says, “I was a big fan of the brunch options. There wasn’t an overwhelming amount, and there wasn’t the standard process of elimination because you have tried everything else at other brunch restaurants. This place left you with a choice of maybe three dishes that you wanted to try because you haven’t seen them anywhere else, which is always a positive.”
The ladies at the table opted for Benedicts—a traditional for Brittney and a Chesapeake Benny for me. Brittney says, “I really enjoyed my eggs Benedict. I wouldn’t say it was anything out of the ordinary but it was prepared properly and tasted delicious. The asparagus was great and the brunch potatoes were even better! I really enjoyed the seasoning and crispness of the potatoes”
Meanwhile, I was less impressed. While my eggs were poached correctly, the crab cake had a lot of bread crumb fillers and barely any crab. My parents live on the Eastern Shore—I know good crab cakes. The Hollandaise was blah. Additionally, I opted for fries instead of brunch potatoes, and they were awful. After having Granville Moore’s French fries the night before, nothing would compare, but I would venture to say these fries were the frozen kind, limp and yucky. Yes, yucky.
Trent, who had fries with his egg sandwich, is slightly less harsh in his synopsis. He says, “The breakfast sandwich was exactly what it was, a breakfast sandwich, nothing more and nothing less. Everything was cooked just right and tasted exactly how I expected, which is not always a positive if you’re expecting something different from the usual. The sandwich was served with fries, and once again, nothing positive, nothing negative, no seasoning, no crisp, just your basic fries and ketchup.
The most unique—and delicious—dish on the table was Aaron’s banana stuffed French toast coated in cornflakes and served with Bourbon maple syrup. As the girl who strives to eat unprocessed food, the idea of coating French toast in cornflakes appalls me and reminds me of something my mother would do before I taught her better. However, everyone at the table had a bite—the dish was enormous—and really enjoyed it. Even me.
Additionally, Aaron’s sweet potato fries were much better than the standard French fries—so order those if you have the choice with your brunch dish.
The Bitches say: C+. Circa’s food is just that—average—but the patio, location and service take it up a notch to slightly better than ordinary.
1601 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
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