Anyone who knows me knows that I’m all about friends meeting friends. My friends Langley and Maggie wanted to set up a brunch date with their friend Libby. Unfortunately, she had to work. Fortunately, she works at Le Jambe, which, coincidentally, just started serving Le Brunch. Despite the fact that I still can’t pronounce the name of La Jambe, this seemed like fate.
That Sunday morning, D.C’s first taste of winter wind sent us seeking refuge in this small, French wine bar in Shaw. La Jambe doesn’t take reservations for brunch, but it was easy to walk right in. Immediately, I adored the French street style decor, and the patterned china, printed napkins, and tables crafted from a blend of wood and marble. Our large group of eight fit perfectly into the restaurant’s tasting room, but I’d also recommend this spot more for an intimate brunch date or smaller group.
Our first order of business was ordering La Bouteille. For $35, you receive a bottle of French sparkling wine with five liquors for mixing. The liquors include Creme de Cassis (black currant), St. Germain (elderflower), Maurin (cherry), Rinquinquin (peach), and Creme de Pamplemousse (grapefruit). We had fun mixing and matching the potions with the champagne and easily went through two bottles.
While the rest of us focused on the bubbly, Caitlin and Maggie also shared a French press of coffee from neighboring Compass Coffee.
We had no trouble deciding on a cheese board for the table. With three cheeses, (two hard, one soft), honey, and jam, this board was fantastic. I find it’s usually rare that everyone likes everything on a cheese board, but on this occasion we wiped it clean. It’s worth noting that you can also take out the meat and cheese plates from La Jambe — perfect for picnics or happy hours at home!
We also enjoyed the pastry baskets, full of fresh baguettes, delicious chocolate croissants, and flaky pastries. They came with jam, butter, and Nutella, which was a nice touch.
As he had already perused the menu, Marcus knew he need the mixed board of cheese and charcuterie in his life. He was basically silent for the rest of the meal so I assume he enjoyed it. He noted that he was pleased with ratio of board offerings to bread and crackers (because there’s nothing worse than not having enough crackers to eat your meat and cheese with).
Maggie and Matt both opted for the croque madame with tomato soup. The sandwiches were good, but the eggs were inconsistent. Maggie’s yolk ran but Matt’s was overcooked, making his sandwich dry and thus less flavorful.
We wouldn’t be true brunchers if no one ordered the Baguette French toast. Luckily, this sweet dish was right up Langley’s alley. She was skeptical when the dish arrived with honey instead of syrup, but ended up loving it. And the homemade whipped cream on top was top-notch.
Colleen and Caitlin both tried l’omelette with potato salad. It was a traditional French omelet: small, simple, and not very cheesy. We were surprised to learn that Colleen had never tried potato salad, so we quickly remedied that. The salad was sweet and creamy, but not overpowering.
Totally undecided, I went with a last minute order of the crêpe sucrée-salée and boy, was I glad I did. With goat cheese, honey, and candied walnuts, this crêpe was the perfect mix of sweet and salty. It was also super light and didn’t leave me feeling gluttonous.
I was pleasantly surprised by the high quality food and relaxed vibes of La Jambe. We could have spent all afternoon there. I’d definitely recommend it on a lazy day or for a cute brunch date spot.
The Bitches Say: A-. La Jambe offers an affordable, light brunch at a charming spot in Shaw. Don’t miss the crêpes and the cheese boards.
La Jambe serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (202) 627-2988