Spring had sprung and I was determined to get outdoors. The new directive? Cycle to brunch every Saturday and Sunday morning. In my head, this ingenious plan served multiple purposes: 1) it would save me the excruciating weekend-afternoon Metro or car ride to brunch; 2) the cardio-fueled jaunt across the bridge and up into the city would do my body good; and 3) I would be able to say that I actually accomplished something on a Sunday besides polishing off pitchers of mimosas and falling back into bed.
Well, that lasted all of one day. And, who am I kidding? I never feel guilty about sucking up an entire Sunday afternoon on brunch. Or polishing off mimosas. Or napping.
But on this particular Sunday morning, feeling unusually alive for that hour of the weekend, I whizzed across the Memorial Bridge on my new-ish bike. My poor boyfriend, painstakingly trying to keep up and not wobble into traffic, was trailing behind on my roommate’s light blue single-speed Huffy (I torture him; it’s true).
When we finally made it to Hudson Restaurant, locking up our bikes up as if it was something we do all the time and strolling in covered in sweat and bike grease, I realized, oh, this probably isn’t the place to show up post-bike ride. The tables were covered in white linen; there was beautiful, original art on the walls; the bar is sleek and colorfully lit; and there’s this gorgeous little back room with plum walls and floral art that is just asking for a girls’ birthday dinner party. The patio wasn’t open when we brunched there, but it likely is now.
Perhaps I should have made it a point to dine at Hudson sooner. Certainly, I should have made it a point to not dine while covered in cycling grime. The restaurant positions itself as contemporary, chic—cosmopolitan, if you will. But still, it’s very comfortable. And, so, our party of eight kicked off the white-table-cloth brunch with bottomless mimosas and Marys, and baskets of lovely cornbread. And continued there for four hours, per usual.
We started with the banana and granola bruschetta, which, frankly, sounds like breakfast heaven, doesn’t it? Toasted bread coated with peanut butter, slices of banana, and a sprinkle of granola. All this, drizzled with lavender honey. It was a sticky, gooey, sweet way to start off. So we countered that with some soup, the Matzo ball soup, to be exact. Made with pulled chicken, carrots, turnips, celery, it was veggie-hearty and packed with flavor.
Then the entrees arrived, and things started to go downhill a bit with the service. Once the main course was on the table, it was hard to grab a server to refill our bottomless glasses. The Marys were authentic and some of the best we’ve had, and the mimosas were adequately bubbly and pulpy, but it was next to impossible to snag a fresh glass, or any attention whatsoever from the servers.
To be honest, I worry that the owners might be steering a lot of their attention towards their new venture, Lincoln, a few city blocks away on Vermont, and are loosening their grip on the service at Hudson. Please tell me this isn’t true; Hudson has so much going for it.
The Maryland crab cake Benedict didn’t hold a candle to any we’ve had at other brunches. But the salmon scramble did. It was made with scrambled eggs, salmon, scallions, tomato, cream cheese, and capers, and practically covered arugula. The salmon was not smoked (surprising considering the Eastern European/Jewish tendency of the menu). It was good, but the most memorable thing was how freaking massive it was. In fact, come to think of it, each of the egg dishes on the menu were particularly large. They come with four eggs. Four! That’s sort of ridiculous, no?
My Hungry Man’s Pot (because, hey, why not just go for it?) was a huge bowl of cheesy eggs, bacon, chorizo, and country gravy, all mixed together, with a few biscuits buried deep underneath. I could barely make it down to the biscuits, never mind finish the dish. So much egg. Likewise, the steak and eggs were filling, but also came with four eggs atop them (along with some delicious fontina cheese). This place wants to fuel you up with protein … perhaps it is the perfect place before a bike ride, after all.
Going along with the Jewish theme, we had side orders of potato pancakes, which sort of resemble hash browns. They came nowhere close to Brooke’s mother’s latkes, she attests, but they were still pretty darn good. Our only complaint? They were served with ketchup instead of applesauce and sour cream.
Poor beau ordered his usual Belgian waffle, which was supposed to come with pecans, sliced bananas, and syrup. Instead he got a naked, nearly cold waffle with a shot glass of syrup and a couple sprinkled pecans. To this day he still refers to it as “the Bullshit Waffle.” Ha! I had to laugh at that dish, especially because I had the Hungry Man’s Pot in front of me.
The barbecue pizza, however, was sort of perfect. The crust was just crunchy and soft enough—a tricky medium to attain. The sauce wasn’t overpowering, and it was covered with cabot cheddar cheese, shaved red onion, and an arugula mix.
The Bitches say: B-. So much potential! Don’t forget about lovely Hudson while opening Mr. Lincoln. The service and kitchen are slipping and still needs to be top of mind.
Hudson Restaurant & Lounge
2030 M Street NW
Washington, DC 20036