It was a cold, wintry day and I wanted a casual catch-up with my dear friend, Cara. I was craving burgers—because I’m always craving burgers. So, we decided to head up to Woodley Park to Duke’s Counter, the sister restaurant of Duke’s Grocery in Dupont Circle.
Located across from the National Zoo, Duke’s Counter is a super casual, family-friendly restaurant. It was bustling with young families and people catching up on this particular Saturday.
We cozied up at a bright, window side table for two.
The coffees are large, served in cozy, tall mugs with cream and sugar. Meanwhile, the mimosas are served in low glass tumblers and go down very easily. Lucky for us, the waitress was readily available with a pitcher to keep our tumblers full. These cocktails were light, frothy, and classic.
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The brunch menu offers an array of breakfast options, all very hearty in composition and in size. There are classic English brekkies, plus several breakfast sandwiches, and avocado toast.
Duke’s is famous for its burgers, which were created by Chef Alex McCoy, a DC native and chef known for his burgers and pop-ups, who now has his own burger restaurant, Lucky Buns. The Brekkie Burger is served with cheese, onions pickles, and arugula on a buttered, grilled bun. You can upgrade your burger with avocado, bacon, a fried egg, truffle, and French fries. Because a burger crazed Bitch has to have options. We chose truffle, bacon, and a fried egg. I was overwhelmed, because in hindsight I also would have wanted avocado.
You may order the burger well done, or medium rare—but those are your only two choices, we were informed. We picked medium rare, which is obviously the only real choice.
This burger was stunning in presentation and execution—it’s a jaw-droppingly beautiful creation, with bacon and onions spilling out atop between a beautiful golden bun. Surprisingly, this baby wasn’t that difficult to cut in half and to eat. And it was decadent, with perfect medium rare burger meat, warm bacon, and a perfectly fried egg. The notes of truffle and the pickled red onions added great additional flavors for a mix of flavors in each bite.
The service is kind of hit-or-miss, there are numerous servers, bus-boys, and managers who come to and from the table without much rhyme or rhythm—and it’s hard to discern who is who or how you should get your milk for your coffee, or your check. Everyone working at the restaurant seemed to be Russian—judging by the thick accents. The flow of service and simple interactions were rather confusing—and we couldn’t discern if this was a result of a lack of management or of language barriers or both. That said, everyone was incredible kind and friendly, albeit slightly confused.
We also shared the soft scrambled eggs with fresh smoked salmon, served with diced arugula and roasted cherry tomatoes atop white sliced bread. The eggs were perfection: light, and fluffy, and they didn’t need much seasoning.
For something sweet, we opted to order Duke’s variation on yogurt and granola: “The Weekend Delight.” The dish is an elevated, unique take on this shareable, vegetarian friendly brunch dish—and it’s absolutely beautiful in presentation. The dish comprised quinoa, candied walnuts, local blackberries, strawberries, guava puree, Greek yogurt, coconut flakes, and mint. The dish was absolutely beautiful—Get my review of this dish on TidBit, by downloading the app and following @BitchesWhoBrunch.
The Bitches say: A-. The burgers and brunch fare are incredible—this is the perfect, cozy brunch spot and a destination for burger lovers. While this is a casual spot, the service could work out some kinks.
Duke’s Counter serves brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. (202) 733-4808
Bitch Biz: This post was sponsored by TidBit. While this article was written independently by us, we did receive compensation from the company.