It’s always nice when other bloggers, writers and event regulars share your mutual interests. It makes the fact that you see the same people out and about in Washington so much more pleasant.
Michael, creator of The Washington Lobbyist, a hotel, travel, food and events hub, is such a gentlemen. He is friendly, vivacious, well-dressed, intelligent and unique. By day, Michael, an Arizona native who is part Navajo, is the Communications Director at a Native American advocacy group. But in the evenings, he haunts hotel lobbies like it’s his job. Because it sort of is.
But we really like Michael because he loves brunch. “It brings together what we like most: breakfast, booze and brash honesty with friends,” he told us over mimosas. “Much like a hotel lobby, you become encapsulated in a place where you can be open, authentic and not bound to time. Brunch is one of those meals, set aside just for the weekend, where you can have eggs with a salad, mac and cheese with crispy bacon, and a cheese burger with skillet potatoes. And a big mimosa, of course.” We said cheers to that.
Because Michael is The Washington Lobbyist, we had to brunch in a beautiful hotel. We had planned on the Madison and its restaurant The Federalist, which just announced a great bottomless deal. We arrived on a Saturday and it was closed!
So, we made the very hot walk to the Hay-Adams down the road, passing through the hotel’s beautiful lobby with towering floral arrangements and arriving into its surprisingly empty restaurant, The Lafayette.
It’s a gorgeous space, with windows overlooking Lafayette Park and the White House beyond. White linen table clothes, crystal chandeliers, beautiful flowers and tableware. We nestled into an old fashioned velvet couch and sat across the the table from Michael.
“The Lafayette Room in the Hay-Adams is not as exciting as its treasured downstairs bar, the Off the Record,” Michael told us when we arrived. “It’s quiet, refined, and maybe not the best place to ‘people watch.’”
But the service was certainly people-watching. Out the windows, that is. They stood in a group, hovering by the window facing Lafayette Park, pointing and talking amongst themselves.
And when they weren’t peering out the windows, they were hovering over us—probably because we were the only people in there. The constant attention aside, the service actually wasn’t that amazing. We had to repeat ourselves multiple times, and for a restaurant of that quality and price, the service should be 100-percent-flawless.
We shouldn’t have to remind them who ordered what dish, or holler at them to bring the check—which Cori Sue did as we all had other engagements that afternoon and the French fellow was taking his sweet time bringing the bill.
The other thing that bothered us was the gnats flying about our table. This was probably due to the fact that we were seated on a sofa that had a live tree on each end. Regardless, when you’re sitting at a nice restaurant, or anywhere with food for that matter, you don’t want to squash a fly on the white tablecloth. And the service just laughed it off. (Not even awkward laughter, just laughter, it should be noted.)
The complimentary bread basket was enormous and lovely—as one would expect with a French restaurant. They had Cori Sue’s favorite raisin walnut bread nestled in there so she was a happy camper.
The mimosas had way too much pulpy orange juice. They served it in a champagne flute for your first round. But, when Becca asked for a refill, they brought the bottle of Tattinger and a glass jar of orange and began pouring, at which point she instructed them to only pour the champers, because there was already plenty orange already, thank you very much.
We began with the Asian edamame dumplings, and were pleased that we correctly selected the best appetizer on the menu. The dumpling itself was perfect—light, eggy and correctly done. The fillings were fresh and healthy, and the sauce, which was soy-sauce-based, was salty and sweet.
Becca’s Eggs Benedict was standard and average. It came with an enormous asparagus in the middle, which was quite phallic and we all giggled upon its arrival. Becca had one muffin of the Benny, and Michael had the other half, and she wasn’t wishing for the whole dish like she normally does.
Cori Sue’s blueberry pancakes were fluffy and tasty—but cold once they finally arrived. They did, it should be noted, have that great balance of crispy on the outside and moist on the inside, which is hard to strike. The blueberries were fresh and not mushy—mushy blueberries are the worst. They were a bit stingy on the blueberries on top, and some whipped cream would have been nice.
The gnocchi was by far the best dish on the table—and worth making a return trip to the Lafayette for dinner. They were crispy yet fluffy and served with spinach, roasted Roma tomatoes, and cheese in a light cream sauce.
There was simply not enough chocolate on the dessert menu. In fact, there was none. And the dessert that we had, a peach cobbler with ice cream on top, was not memorable or amazing.
The Bitches and The Washington Lobbyist say: B-. A stunning space with delicious dumplings, gnocchi and pancakes. The Benedict, desserts and mimosas need improvement, as do the service and pest control.