There’s a pocket of Columbia Heights, unknown by tourists and those who frequent 14th Street, where some great restaurants are thriving. It’s hidden away a bit further east and north of the main drag, on 11th Street, where the likes of Room 11, Meridian Pint, The Coupe, and Red Rocks Pizza are sharing an intersection.
I have frequented this little pocket quite a bit lately for brunch, but I never noticed the tiny little restaurant with a red door and a sign that says simply “KBC.”
Why, that’s Kangaroo Boxing Club, of course, said Cori Sue, who had been meaning to try its brunch for quite some time. And who better to take to brunch there than the men of VIDA Fitness—our newest partners, and an excellent gym if I do say so myself—to talk about how much boxing I don’t actually do. Ever.
It was one of those January Sundays that felt like spring. Warm enough and sunny enough to sit on a brunch patio with a coffee and not feel blistered by the cold. So we snagged a small table in front of the restaurant, right on 11th Street, and enjoyed the people-watching and dog-watching.
The service was extremely friendly and very real. The girl who served us was honest about her favorites on the menu and happy to tell us that we’ve probably over-ordered and, by the way, you just ordered three dishes with Johnny’s cakes, are you sure you want to do that? I appreciate that sort of honesty from my servers.
Per usual, we ordered a lot of food, but that was because the menu was fun to read (Four Horseman of the Aporcalypse, anyone?). But of everything we ate, there is one dish that I will never forget, and I must mention it first.
This is a dish that made such a deep impression on me that I will never look at bacon the same way again. A dish that is perhaps up there in the highest heights of Best Bites rankings in my book. I do believe—excuse me while I shed a tear—that this dish has changed my life. And that it is KBC’s caramelized bacon.
Oh yes, you read that right. Carmelized. Bacon. It’s a recipe from the owner’s sister, and it’s big, thick strips of bacon covered in caramelized sugar. It is absolutely divine. Please, please, bring me five more of these. Because, as the menu quite rightly states, the only thing better than bacon is caramelized bacon.
We also got the biscuits and gravy to share, which were house-made biscuits with bacon pastrami gravy. Delicious. The biscuits were buttery and fell apart, and the gravy was piping hot and filled with chunks of meat.
Cori Sue ordered the Biscuits and Jam, to avoid the bacon gravy. Even though this place has plenty of pork on its menu (they get it locally and they smoke it at the restaurant), it definitely caters to the veggies in town, too, with plenty of delicious non-meat options. The owner later told us that his girlfriend is vegetarian, so he had to make a menu that suited her tastes, too, and Cori Sue nodded approvingly.
To prove that point, Cori Sue ordered the Veg ‘n Egg, which was a beautiful, colorful dish of seasonal vegetables, spinach, and quinoa topped with a fried, local duck egg, balsamic reduction, and vegan BBQ sauce. Jealous of everyone who had plenty of BBQ, she was thrilled the dish came covered in a sweet, delicious BBQ sauce to allow her to participate.
Moreover, who knew BBQ sauce tasted so good on cooked broccoli and carrots? For the record, it does. The dish was hearty, nicely cooked, and unique. It was like two dishes in one: roasted veggies with BBQ sauce on half, and warm balsamic spinach with quinoa and runny fried egg yolk on the the other. She ate it all, didn’t share, and complained only that she wished the dish was larger.
I ordered the Morning PORC (who doesn’t love a morning porc?), with mac and cheese and a fruit cup on the side. The dish itself was a heaping pile of pulled pork, and I bathed it in BBQ sauce and ate it by the forkful. Delicious.
The brunch dishes came with a selection of the most delectable sides. The mac ‘n’ cheese was awesome, made with spicy jalapeno cheddar and tiny pasta shells. The fruit bowl had sliced banana, melons, strawberries. The coleslaw was a plenty.
James, one of the lovely VIDA men, ordered the stuffed French toast. When it arrived, we all stared aghast. The toast was huge, and stuffed with sweetened vanilla cream cheese and fresh fruit. Not only that, but it was then covered with crunchy caramelized frosted flakes. Amazing, and almost too much to finish. It was rich but delicious, he said between bitefuls.
Aaron, the other lovely VIDA man and a tall drink of water, went for the wonderfully named Four Horseman of the Aporcalypse. It was a single patty, made with ground pork, pulled pork, ham and bacon. It was topped with a fried egg, tomatoes, and maple syrup. He polished off his plate, and then helped us with ours. Amazing, ones metabolism, when you live at a gym.
On the side, a Johnny Cake, which is a cornmeal pancake, per the menu. To me, it seemed to be flattened cornbread hashbrowns. Ace! I say that because the restaurant channels Australia, but it was actually dreamt up in an Ann Arbor college dorm room.
The owner came out to say hello and, when we introduced ourselves as the Bitches, started apologizing profusely for the sad state of the coffee. Honestly, I didn’t even notice that the coffee was bad, and if it was, the rest of the brunch certainly outshone it.
Yes, the brunch was solid. Great food, an interesting menu, and lovely service. In fact, we were all so stuffed that we decided to walk back to VIDA on U Street, down the hill, which was nice exercise.
Except, quite unfortunately, a few members of our group had to duck into a restaurant because they felt a bit sick. Oh no! We thought, it couldn’t possibly be the delicious food. After deducing which were sick and what they ate, we determined it must have been the bloody Marys. A bad batch of tomato juice perhaps? How unfortunate.
The Bitches say: B+ So great, we loved it, and would have been an A if the Marys wouldn’t have sent some running for the loo.
Kangaroo Boxing Club serves brunch on Saturday or Sunday.
Kangaroo Boxing Club
3410 11th Street NW
Washington, DC 20010