When it’s this stinking frigid outside, meeting a friend for brunch means morning conspiring—from under your toasty covers, via text—on the nearest, coziest brunch you can think of, and then bundling up and running there as fast as you possibly can.
This is exactly what happened when I recently met up with Tyler Jeffrey, my realtor-turned-best-friend, and his fiance, Adam. The chosen close-by, cozy locale? Commissary on P Street, just a quick, chilly jump across 14th Street from where I live.
The casual neighborhood restaurant is never really on my hot list of places to pop into for food, as it’s been facing Whole Foods for what seems to be forever. There’s always something newer and trendier opening on 14th Street, right?
But we shouldn’t go forgetting our old, trusty friends, especially in times of dire weather and hunger, and Commissary certainly proved that to me during this brunch.
I rushed in the door, bundled to the brim, and immediately bumped into a crowd of people waiting to be seated. I was worried the wait would be ages, but the staff was pretty efficient at handling us, and we were quickly maneuvered to a corner table.
The restaurant is set up so that it appeals to all different types of diners. There’s a long bar for solo dining or watching sports on the big TVs, there are plenty of couches and chairs in the middle for sipping coffee over your laptop, and the perimeter is packed with tables for groups.
Nice surprise: Commissary’s brunch is bottomless. And so we ordered a bottle of bubbly to start, which came with two big glasses of orange juice so we could mix our own mimosas.
While the bubbly was the cheapest kind (really, it gave me a headache later), we were grateful that it was flowing and our server was constantly quick to top off our glasses for us.
Second pleasant surprise: Commissary serves breakfast all day (well, until 4 p.m.). So they don’t necessarily have a brunch menu, per se, but they do have a pretty extensive breakfast and lunch menu to choose from.
There are eggs and scrambles, omelets, sandwiches, small plates to share, even pizza and burgers. But the best is the Benedicts menu, which offered four interesting options, including a chorizo benedict with poblano hollandaise.
I ordered the short rib Eggs Benedict, which is quite possibly the most interesting benedict I’ve had in Washington. It arrived piled high on two pieces of cornbread toast. The short rib meat was thick and juicy, and smothered with BBQ hollandaise. This made for a very saucy dish, but it was delicious.
Tyler, ever on his to-be-wed diet, ordered an omelet, which came with toast and home fries on the side. Inside the fluffy eggs were goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. Quite gourmet for your local commissary, I’d say.
The finale dish was the quesadilla, which was thick with pulled chicken. It came with salsa, guacamole, and sour cream, and was toasted just so that it was crispy enough (and made me rethink all my trips to Taqueria Nacional around the corner).
The service was kind, friendly, and attentive considering how busy the place was. The woman seemed like she had been serving at Commissary for years and was an old hand at busy brunch times. She let out a big, hearty laugh when I handed her a credit card that said, “Bitches Who Brunch.”
After brunch, with a bit of champagne in us to ward off the cold, we bundled back up, gave quick dough-boy hugs, and ran as fast as we could back to our beds for our afternoon post-brunch naps under our toasty covers.
The Bitches say: A, for a quick, inexpensive, and good brunch. A solid, trusty standby for a frigid day if you’re in the neighborhood.
Commissary serves brunch every day until 4 p.m. (202) 299-0018