I’m a bit of a Francophile. I try to suppress it—it’s just so predictable—but, despite my best efforts, my love of all things French cannot be quelled. The fashion, the language, the romance, and, of course, the food. We can thank the French for croissants, steak frites, Crepes Suzette, creme brulee, and several other delicious dishes.
I had enjoyed the opening party for DBGB, Chef Daniel Boulud’s first Washington, D.C., outpost. Thus, I was excited to try its new brunch.
It was a cold, blustery day in November when I slid into a booth to meet my dear friend Lauren, whom I’ve known since freshmen year of college.
The beautiful, upscale restaurant is located in the new City Center and was relatively vacant. It’s an American brasserie with a French twist, and the decor is well done—with high ceilings and traditional Burgundy leather booths.
It’s a perfectly fine place to have brunch, or any meal for that matter. Lauren and I certainly enjoyed the experience, despite the fact our conversation was routinely interrupted by an enthusiastic waiter. However, I left feeling cheated. I had been looking forward to any amazing experience and felt that this brunch was missing something.
The menu at DBGB is that of a classic, upscale bar and grille. For appetizers, there are salads, pastries, steak tartare, tuna crudo, and a charcuterie board.
The entrees are the traditional brunch fare: waffles, crepes, scrambled eggs, Eggs Florentine, and a Croque Monsieur, of course. The restaurant also offers burgers of two sorts:a Yankee and a Frenchie. The burgers are made in-house with 100 percent Angus beef and the selection of sausages are all house-made with Berkshire pork and natural ingredients. The menu lacks inspiration, but the food itself is clean, well-prepared, and of high quality. It’s a safe bet.
We began with the Tarte Flambee, a flatbread with white cheese, bacon, and onion. It sounded a lot fancier than it was—basically a French take on a thin-crust pizza. The French pizza was good, but nothing exceptional. You can’t really go wrong with cheese, bacon, and carbs and thus it was promptly devoured. However, the dish was far from a home run.
For our second appetizer, we selected the Tuna Crudo, which was a beautiful, bright dish. The enormous pink chunks of raw tuna were served with cucumber, radish, crispy rice, and a Harissa-sesame sauce. This dish, which is also available on the lunch and dinner menus, was beautifully presented and tasted equally good. It was by far the best piece of the meal.
For our entrees, we shared the steak and eggs. The Black Angus hanger steak, cooked perfectly medium rare and pre-sliced, was utterly delectable. The steak was covered in a fried egg, and served with sides of watercress and French fries.
And, of course, we opted for a side of bacon. The bacon was memorable—it was crispy, oily, and sweet. You could tell that it was a high quality cut of meat and we were grabbing for the last slice.
We concluded with the Brioche French toast, with spiced apple compote. The French toast looked like plain ole’ French toast, with the prototypical white triangle slices of bread.
I was unenthused, as this isnt a “brioche” French toast, it’s a “white slices of bread” French toast. I did appreciate that the toast was moist (it had clearly been soaked in an eggy batter) and that the compote was thick slices of fresh apples rather than any sort of syrupy fruit concoction. It came with regular Maple syrup.
I will certainly return to DBGB for dinner, given that the steak frites and the tuna tataki were the strongest components of the meal.
The Bitches say: B. The upscale restaurant boasts a famous chef and strong service in a lovely space, but the brunch cuisine lacks inspiration or panache.
DBGB Bar & Kitchen
931 H St. N.W.
DBGB serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.