Under the upheaval of H Street’s construction, the potholes, and the dust, there are some true dining gems to be found. And Dr. Granville Moore’s was a hard one to find. Not kidding. We nearly walked past it.
The nondescript wooden door, iron steps, single window with metal rails, and hand-painted sign (Frites-Ales-Moules, it reads) barely gives it away. Had I not been with a friend who frequents the locale for beer, I likely would have spent a while walking up and down the block looking for the place.
Inside, it’s like walking into a underground European pub. I love the atmosphere. Brick walls, exposed ceilings, and a long wooden bar running the length of the place. A nice big chalkboard salutes the day’s Belgian beer specials, and the occasional beer ad hangs from a bit of plaster here and there on the wall. The tables are low, the lighting dim, and the brunch crowd pretty scarce (when I called for reservations, the guy on the end of the line nearly laughed at me, saying while they’ve been serving brunch for a few weekends there hasn’t been much traffic).
This particular Saturday—and take note, Granville Moore’s ONLY serves brunch on Saturdays “because we like to be different” the man on the phone explained—it was a little more crowded than they had anticipated, likely because that week the Tasting Table had tipped off us DC foodies to the new brunch.
The bar was stacked with hangovers, crouched over their newspapers and coffee. The booths were full of friends, gossiping about the night before. Everyone is slightly ragged, disheveled, sort of like the interior of the place. But it’s OK. We’re here for the food. And the Belgian beer (H Street is becoming quite the international beer destination).
The brunch menu is deceptively fantastic and interesting. First, the cocktails. There’s a huge selection of bloody Mary’s made how staff likes theirs – just ask for it by employee name. The Mary Stella has beer, the Mary Teddy Old Bay, the Mary Matt comes with house-infused black pepper vodka, the Mary Corinne is garnished with wasabi powder, and so on and so on.
Skip the normal mimosa and hit the Antidote, which is Granville’s mimosa made with house-made Clementine liqueur, St. Germain, orange juice and champagne. So tasty, and definitely my brunch drink of choice at this spot. If you want something stiffer, there’s the Ginger Rickey, Dr. Granville’s Love Tonic (lemongrass infused vodka, house crafted lychee liqueur, and tonic) or the Jack Ruby (bourbon, ruby port, and rhubarb bitters).
The food menu is just as creative as the drinks. It’s a small brunch menu, but it still manages to fit in a few classic breakfast-egg dishes, some creative specials, a nice spattering of bison, and a healthy dose of vegetarian dishes (even veggie sausage; both of the Bitches were equally pleased).
We started off with a big bowl of their home frites, fresh-cut fries (twice fried!) with caramelized onions and roasted peppers. It comes with a number of different dipping sauces to suit everyone’s fancy at the table. There was chipotle mayo, ketchup, horseradish mayo, and a truffle-infused mayo that set Cori Sue’s heart aflutter with joy. Whether you’re there for brunch or just for a beer in the evening, definitely snag a bowl of the frites.
The Saturday we went, chef Teddy Folkman was offering two amazing specials: the bison burger and a huge bowl of steamed mussels (the moules, of course). The boys at our table snagged the specials. I went for the bison bruschetta, which was a tender braised bison brisket with sunny side eggs on a toasted French bread roll. That meat was pulled, and so tender and juicy, it was unlike any bison, lamb or beef I’ve ever had. The roasted tomato basil salad on top was a lovely touch, too.
Cori Sue had the fried French toast stix, which she casually stated were the best French toast she’s had in her life (rather a grand statement said nonchalantly in shades from the corner). The clincher was the cinnamon-apple butter that was served with the dish. You could have that by the bucket-full, it was so delicious and perfect for dipping, devouring, and smothering your bread in.
The mussels were gone in a flash, and the bison burger was devoured before I could try it. The unusual thing is that they put a sunny side egg on top of the bison patty, which was a nice surprise. If you wanted even more classic breakfast, you could go with The Good Doctor, a sandwich made with scrambled eggs, sausage or bacon, cheese, chipotle mayo and avocado on a kaiser roll. Or you could dig into something a little more adventurous, which is my recommendation.
The servers were so friendly. The chick who was serving us wasn’t usually on brunch duty, but went out of her way to make sure we were set at all times (and rushed to the back to answer all the menu questions we had). The chef even came out to make sure the food was great.
The Bitches say: A. Comfortable, unpretentious and deceptively delicious.
Dr. Granville Moore’s
1238 H Street NE
Washington, DC 20002