There’s nothing better than a long, boozy girls brunch followed by an equally long nap. The only thing that makes this sort of brunch better is when it occurs in the summer, and I can saunter home tipsy to take a glorious nap in the air conditioning. We gathered a big gaggle of girls to try Kingbird, the restaurant in the newly revamped and reopened Watergate Hotel. After being closed for several years and under renovations, the Watergate Hotel received a major face lift, and came back bright, shiny, and new. It reopened with a glamorous, black tie opening party revealing a glitzy whiskey bar, beautiful, well-appointed rooms, enormous event spaces, and a posh, gilded restaurant: Kingbird. Then, we were invited in to try the brunch.
As we were a big group, we were able to try everything—and order every appetizer to share. Brunch began on a strong note, with a big gaggle of girls chatting, ordering cocktails, and diving into the pastry basket. Kingbird offers three brunch cocktails: the Bloody Mary, a strawberry Bellini, and the Sangria Blanca. Ashley selected the strawberry Bellini, which was a light, frothy beverage served in a tall flute. Meanwhile, the rest of us chose the Sangria Blanca, a light pink glass of heaven with a slice of citrus for good measure. The cocktail is made with white wine, brandy, citrus juice, and a splash of sparkling rosé. This rosé cocktail is my ideal brunch cocktail—wine based, chilled, fruity but not sweet, and goes down easy.
The cocktail trio is available bottomless for $17, which is a steal considering how delicious they are. That said, we were invited in to try Kingbird, so this brunch was on the house.
The brunch cocktails at Kingbird were incredible, as was the pastry basket.
The basket was loaded with croissants, chocolate croissants, and cinnamon rolls—the pecan sticky roll was a game changer. It was warm, and impossibly ooey gooey—this was a memorable pastry. (Definitely order the bread basket when you go to brunch—and then snag the pecan roll before you friends, and don’t share. It’s OK, you’re a Bitch, remember?)
The heirloom beet salad, with multi-colored yellow, pink, and red beets served with soft dollops of goat cheese and sprigs of microgreens was a perfect salad: fresh, inventive, and easy-to-share. Basic Bitches love their beet salads and we are no exception.
We also ordered the quiche appetizer, which was a relatively paltry portion for sharing, despite being listed as an entree. The quiche was a lobster and potato quiche with Gruyere, and an herb salad with a mustard vinaigrette.
As we were into gabbing and drinking our brunch cocktails, it was was quite a while before we thought about our entrees. We were having a lovely little Saturday and were in no rush.
Unsurprisingly, I ordered the steak and eggs—and as there were several Bitches brunching, there were multiple orders of the steak and eggs and chicken and waffles.
The steak and eggs was served on a slate board, which is more apropos for a cheese plate than fried eggs. Along with the steak and eggs came bricks of hash browns, which were so crispy that when I cut one it went flying off the hard chalkboard. Dangerous, this game of brunch we play. That said, the steak and eggs were both prepared perfectly—medium rare and fried over easy, respectively. I also enjoyed the roasted cherry tomato accoutrements—as I am forever reminding myself to eat more vegetables.
Alana and Tristin both opted for the chicken and waffles, with two varying results. Alana enjoyed the chicken and waffles, which was Asian inspired—topped with a chunky fish sauce and served with a side of jicama and carrot slaw. However Tristin, who does have a bit of a delicate constitution, was nauseated by the fish sauce and couldn’t muster more than a bite of her dish.
The token vegetarian, Ashley ordered the grilled cheese and tomato soup off the lunch menu. There were enough of us that she got away with breaking a cardinal Bitch rule: that you must order off the brunch menu. The waiter initially brought her the wrong soup—a green soup rather than tomato, but returned momentarily with the right plate. The grilled cheese was truffled and served on potato bread.
She says: “It can often be a challenge to find a satisfying meal at brunch that isn’t a repeat offender. I love a good omelet, but sometimes, the wheel needs to be reinvented. Even more so, finding a good meatless sandwich on a brunch menu these days is easier said than done. That being said, I was delighted to see Kingbird offered its Watergate Soup and Sandwich. A unique twist on a classic combo, this duo featured a truffled grilled cheese sandwich on potato bread, paired with a smoked tomato soup. The sandwich was grilled to perfection, was the perfect portion size, and was cheesy enough without being overwhelmingly heavy. Dunking it into the tomato soup, which was poured table-side, really sent the presentation over the edge. The soup was all that you expect in a tomato soup — creamy, balanced yet vibrant, coupled with that extra ge ne se quois: the grilled tomato flavor you never realized you’d been missing out on until you experience it.”
Again, as we were a gaggle of girls, so we ordered every dessert on the menu. The black-and-white ice cream popsicle was difficult to share but a unique, creative dessert—Kingbird clearly seeks to please its female clientele with decadent desserts and creative cocktails. We love it when a man, bird, or restaurant aims to please.
They surprised us with the mint chocolate chip pop, made with mint semifreddo, chocolate pudding and a cocoa nib tuile. This was a doozie to share but would be enjoyed about the kid in all of us.
Our favorite dessert was the artfully constructed strawberry shortcake. The stunning dessert featured a round shortcake, with dollops of white chocolate, thinly slices strawberries, and more white chocolate. Beautifully plated, the dessert also had vanilla ice cream with cookie crumble on the dish. It tasted just as pretty as it looked—and despite being oh-so-full, we left nothing on the plate.
I love créme brûlée, so I insisted we order this dessert as always. This brûlée was mango flavored, and topped with avocado cream and mango pearls. It was creative without being overbearing. Créme brûlée is appropriate for a fancy hotel—was well executed and presented cleanly.
Rather than a classic tiramisu, Kingbird opted for a dark, sexy version. The Tiramisu Verrine comprised Mascarpone cream, chocolate ganache, coffee gelato, topped with chocolate crumble and an artfully poised macaron.
All in all, Kingbird is an upscale restaurant in a historical building with impeccable service and formal vibes.
The Bitches say: A-. A posh, historical setting for brunch with excellent cocktails and service. A few minor menu kinks need to be worked out, but that could be expected at the start of service.
Kingbird at the Watergate Hotel
2650 Virginia Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037