District Commons Brunch

In the sea of Cherry Blossom tourists last weekend, I added one more to Washington’s streets—my high school best friend, Becka. I know what you’re thinking: Two Beccas in D.C.?! That’s just too much.

Once, long ago, we were a dynamic duo, bopping about Tampa, Florida, together. Sometimes we were referred to as Tall Becca and Short Becka, sometimes Becca Squared, and occasionally just Beccka. We even had a blog! The Beccka Blog. It chronicled all that Beccka-ing and Bopping.

And then I left the state to go to Mizzou for college and Becka stayed in Florida for college, eventually getting married. She has been happily birthing babies for much of the last few years.

So when she comes for the occasional girls’ weekend in Washington, it’s a chance for her to remove herself from Mommy duties and put on her party hat for a couple days. And, of course, this only means that I must organize a massive, boozy, bottomless brunch with ten friends. Last weekend, we landed at District Commons.

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The Foggy Bottom staple offered three things that were necessary for our Saturday brunch party: (1) $11 bottomless deal on both mimosas and Bloody Marys; (2) A restaurant enormous enough to handle our ever-expanding group; and (3) Stumbling proximity to the Cherry Blossoms, which is where we landed afterwards.

The best part? The service was great. From the poor hostess, who simply smiled cheerfully in the face of our ever-changing party size, to our server, who handled our massive, rowdy table like a pro, doling out the mimosas and Marys at a steady pace.

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The restaurant is absolutely enormous, and filled with lots of light at brunch o’clock, so I wouldn’t recommend heading here if you’re hungover. But, I would recommend it for massive groups, like mine. There were at least three other brunch parties our size or larger while we were there.

The only bad part of having a restaurant the size of a college cafeteria and a brunch menu the length of its Olympic pool is that the quality of the food sometimes suffers. This was, unfortunately, the case during our brunch. Thankfully, the endless brunch booze made us hardly care much.

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We started with a few crispy flatbreads to share. The Lox & Bagel flatbread was our favorite. It’s made with smoked salmon, lemon dill mascarpone, and other appropriate condiments. Delicious and perfect for sharing. Our second flatbread was The Kentucky Colonel, covered in hot brown-roasted turkey, smoked bacon, and plenty of oven-cured tomato and Mornay sauce. It was plenty smokey.

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Of course, we had to get The Pig Board, which is actually served on a wooden board in the shape of a pig (how cute). It’s the restaurant’s daily showcase of artisanal hams, which was actually just a massive pile of prosciutto, with a couple biscuits on the side. I ended up just eating the ham with a fork.

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The must-order appetizer at District Commons is their hot pretzel—a big pretzel baguette, served up piping hot and covered in sea salt. The beer mustard on the side melts on the bread, and it’s the best filler to share before the entrees come.

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The entrees took a while, but as we were a drunken large party and the drinks kept coming, we were easily forgiving. (Side note: The Bloody Marys were pretty potent for a bottomless brunch.)

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In a game-time decision, I decided to abandon my usual Benedict order and instead went for the Brunch Quesadilla, thinking it would soak up some of the booze. It was filled with chorizo sausage, scrambled eggs, and pepper jack cheese, with a large dollop of guacamole and sour cream on the side. It was hot and delicious.

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Becka did order the Benedict, however, and was woefully disappointed. The dish was way overcooked, from the eggs down to the extremely hard English muffin it was sitting on. Like, rock solid. She nibbled on the Canadian bacon and my quesadillas instead.

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Continuing the overcooked trend? The swordfish, which was the catch of the day. It was nice and simple: grilled with olive oil and sea salt, but way overcooked. Rubbery fish is never good, especially when your restaurant touts its raw bar like it’s the bee’s knees. The salad on the side had too much bitter radicchio.

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We ordered a couple of side dishes, including the macaroni ‘n’ cheese (on the menu as “Old School Velveeta” – ha!). My friends teased me for spending $5 on Velveeta mac ‘n’ cheese when you could buy it for $1. But it was more than just out of the box—it had a bit of a spicy kick and was nicely baked with a crust. The side of mashed potatoes were also very tasty, smooth and creamy.

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The “Cast Iron Skillet” Huevos Rancheros, made with black beans, avocado, and XXX Sauce (sexy!) were not so good—basically fried eggs on top of a mush of black beans. I think there was a tortilla in there somewhere. Not good at all.

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The egg-white “skinny” omelet, which came with spinach, red peppers, and feta, looked very sad on its plate. However, they happily switched out the feta for goat cheese (which was available on a different omelet on the the menu). This might have been the best dish that day, despite its simplicity.

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Instead of the breakfast potatoes, the omelet dish came with a side of fresh fruit. The fruit was accompanied by a small bowl of Greek yogurt, which was a nice, unexpected touch. It also came with a few slices of avocado, which was odd but still quite good.

We shared and struggled, pushed our food around the plates, and ordered more mimosas and Marys. We ended up spending nearly four hours there, drinking and laughing, which was fantastic. I haven’t had a great big boozy brunch like that in a while.

Afterwards, all a bit tipsy, we waddled down the hill to the National Mall, stopping at a wine shop along the way, then found a nice patch of grass under the Cherry Blooms and shared a bottle of bubbly. It was a lovely day, and Becka was quite the happy tourist.

The Bitches say: C+ The bottomless deal is great, and it’s a good spot for large groups, but the food is seriously hit or miss.

District Commons
2200 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C.
(202) 587-8277

District Commons on Urbanspoon

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Comments

  • Carrie says:

    I totally agree about District Commons being very hit and miss! Always go with high expectations but am disappointed with the long wait time and average food.

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