The end of the year the time to reflect on the important things in life, like where we had the best bacon in Washington. Or the best stack of pancakes. These are crucial things to know.
Yesterday, we gave you the Best & Worst Brunches on the Year, both in D.C. and New York. Today, we bring you the best bites and sips of the year–everything from mimosas to mussels. So keep this in your pocket for the next time you have a craving.
A party brunch requires not just bottomless mimosas, but perfectly crafted bottomless mimosas. At STK, the mimosas are pretty much the only thing we remember, poured from magnums of Moet and mixed with just the right amount of blood orange.
Best Bloody Mary
The new Second State has an amazing bar program, and brunch is not an exception. The creme de le creme is the selection of Marys. The top of the list? The Kale Mary, a gorgeous green concoction made with vodka, kale, celery, ginger and lime juice.
The coffees are the main event on the brunch menu at Slipstream: There are three in-house blends and a half-dozen single origin brews. You can also pick your style: espresso, with milk, or drip coffee. Plus there are yummy hot drinks like an almond cashew cappuccino or a “thoughtful” mocha.
Commissary has a big Bennys menu, but we loved the short ribs Benedict, which is quite possibly the most interesting Benedict we’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.
Best French Toast
Michel Richard’s Central serves up a creme brulee French toast, which is so amazing it should be a dessert. The round piece of French toast is bruleed and set in a bed of sweet sauce. Break through the classic crusted top and you get gooey French toast instead of creme. So unique and tasty. Coming in a close second is Medium Rare.
Maybe we’re biased, but we love a good Argentine steakhouse. The omelet at Rural Society sounded boring but was anything but—covered in Serrano ham and topped with fried potato sticks. It was definitely the most excited we’ve ever been by an omelet.
Best Chicken and Waffles
Bar Charley’s chicken and waffles dish was beautifully prepared and presented. The chicken was juicy, moist, and slightly sweet—maple syrup had clearly been used in the breading and frying. The waffles were hot and crisp, served with enormous dollops of hot, melting butter and drizzled with warm maple syrup. It tasted just as amazing as it looked.
The cast iron pancakes at Del Campo with maple and butter ice cream were a real hit. Served in an enormous skillet, the three pancakes, layered atop one another, were more like a pancake souffle than actual pancakes. They were moist, flavorful, and awesome—a memorable rendition on pancakes.
Granted, we went to brunch at The Heights when the restaurant was hosting an epic pig roast. But even beyond that special event, the restaurant knows its bacon. Bacon marys. Bacon dishes. Bacon bacon bacon.
Kapnos has a unique Greek brunch menu, and the Greek coffee waffle simply delighted us. This dish is a coffee lovers dream: a chocolate, espresso waffle topped with cinnamon butter, house-made whipped cream, and chocolate shavings.
Fiola Mare’s bread basket is priced at a jaw-dropping eighteen dollars—but my goodness is it worth it. The entire thing is baked in-house that morning. It’s delightful: croissants, sweet brioche, pane carasau, green olive panino, filoncino, and more, served with delicate tiny fresh fruit jams, chocolate hazelnut sauce, local honey, and farm butter alongside.
Best Breakfast Juice
Malmaison has claimed the healthiest way to get over a hangover: one of its amazing juices served up during brunch. Not only are they packed with nutrients and amazingly tasty, the options are adorable, with the likes of the Beetle Juice, made with apples, beets, carrots, and ginger; and The Incredible Hulk, with spinach and pineapple.
Best Brunch Cocktail
The boozy milkshakes are available at Satellite Room during dinner, too, but we think they’re the perfect extravagant brunch cocktail. The Vincent Vega with Bourbon, vanilla ice cream, and whipped cream is just as good as the milkshake at your favorite childhood diner, but loaded with liquor. They are deceivingly strong. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Best Brunch Sandwich
The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown serves up yoga then brunch, including a chicken sausage and Belgian waffle sandwich that melted our hearts. Served with cheddar cheese and an egg over-hard, we can not think of a better, more American way to make a breakfast sandwich.
Best Cheese & Charcuterie Board
Brunch at Lupo Verde can simply suffice with the restaurant’s amazing cocktails and appetizers, like the phenom cheese and charcuterie board. It’s one of the most interesting and beautiful we’ve seen, with a great selection of cheese from around the world, plus charcuterie like the amazing prosciutto. It’s presented with lots of accoutrements such as jams and fruits, and nicely marked so you know what you’re eating.
GBD Chicken and Doughnuts puts our favorite sweet in its name. When the good ones are available (they’re quick to go and served hot and fresh), they are really, really good. You can pop in for a post-brunch dessert, or order a plateful of doughnuts with your brunch.
Best French Fries
There’s nothing better than the French fries at Medium Rare. Steak fites, si vous plait.
We absolutely loved the mussels at Béarnaise, served in the traditional style, arriving at the table in a large covered pot with a side of frites. The ones we tried were prepared in a rich, creamy Dijon whole grain mustard sauce, loaded with bacon and crispy onion straws, and topped with a poached egg. We’ve eaten moules frites across town, and these knocked our socks off: well-presented, well-prepared, well-flavored, and memorable.
Best Brunch Pizza
It’s a tie between Alphonse and Paolo’s Ristorante. Both classic Italian diners, both make a killer wood-fired brunch pizza. Paolo’s pizza for one, was so perfect. Hot and crispy, but soft inside. On top, there was quattro formaggi, spinach, pancetta bacon, a tomato basil relish, and, of course, a sunnyside up egg.
Best Steak and Eggs
Iron Gate’s rendition of the classic steak and eggs is perfection: two olive oil fried eggs with crispy fingerling potatoes, salsa verde, and oak grilled Roseda farms flank steak. The steak is seared perfectly, oozing with flavor at every cut.
Best Brunch Hash
The gyro hash at Cava Mezze reminded us of ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ classic hashes, but with a tasty twist. The combination of gyro with well-seasoned vegetables, eggs, and Cava’s famous tzatziki was hearty and satisfying.
Best Huevos Rancheros
We loved the open-faced huevos rancheros at Carving Room. It looked a bit messy when it arrived, but it was quite delightful. Shredded beef, eggs and green onions were set on two crispy tortillas and covered in a spicy brown sauce. It was filling and flavorful.
We all know that flowers and bubbly must of course come with their third sibling—chocolate. At Beuchert’s Saloon we loved the Candy Bar, a homemade frozen confection bar filled with caramel, chocolate, and crunch. It was like a gourmet frozen Snicker’s.