Local 16, U Street’s prettiest rooftop bar, just recently began serving brunch (and their uber-friendly PR gal invited the Bitches to check it out). While I’ve been there many times to drink beers on that gorgeous twinkling patio, or dance the night away with one of their DJs, I had never thought to sample their cuisine.
Honestly, I was unsure what Local 16 would look like without dim lighting and massive crowds of twenty-somethings on a Friday night. But in the Saturday morning sunshine, the restaurant managed to retain a pleasant ambiance. Its cranberry red walls, sleek wooden bar, big wooden tables and booths were accented by lots of mirrors, chandeliers, and fabulous tasseled light fixtures hanging from the ceiling.
Our waitress was a chill, friendly girl with plenty of advice on everything from the best menu options to the top vintage shops in the neighborhood. She was quick to bring us delicious, piping hot coffee and ensured our water and coffee cups were full throughout the meal.
The brunch menu includes plenty of wood-fired pizzas, salads, lunch fare, and desserts, but only a few actual brunch options: French toast, Eggs Benedict, and a Western omelet. With a $5 price tag, the breakfast cocktails—Bloody Mary and a Clementine crush—are a steal.
Between the three of us, we decided to share everything tapas style—and started with dessert first (as one should when you feel compelled to do so). For our “appetizer,” we had the Fuji apple fritters: rings of apples battered and fried then covered with a lemon crème anglaise, honey, powdered sugar and served with rich vanilla ice cream. The dessert was simply divine—a spectacular blend of the tart apple and lemon flavors paired with the sweet richness of the crème and vanilla.
The fresh fruit plate was actually a bowl of mint Greek yogurt with granola, strawberries, and blueberries. The mint yogurt was a pleasant departure from the typical vanilla and, while it was Greek yogurt, the flavor was strong without being overpowering.
Says Lauren, “I was nervous we were going to get a fruit plate with lots of melon.” (Apparently Lindsey and I are not alone in that fear). “The dish was refreshing and delicious. I loved that they incorporated mint into the Greek yogurt and included lots of fresh strawberries and blueberries.”
Also on the table was the lox scramble pizza—a New York-style pie baked in a wood-burning oven and topped with marinara sauce, lox, scrambled eggs, and crème fraiche. I never order breakfast pizzas, so, initially, I was hesitant about combining my eggs with my pizza, but it worked surprisingly well. Pairing breakfast lox and eggs with pizza is a fabulous idea. The pizza was flavorful without being too heavy; the cream fraiche was a nice, unexpected addition that really completed the dish.
The three of us ladies agreed that the last dish, the French toast, was the least memorable part of the experience. “It came out cold and was just average,” says Meaghan. Lauren, a bit nicer in her review, adds: “This was the one dish that didn’t really stand out to me. It was a good French toast, but my favorite part was the strawberries on the side rather than the toast itself. I would order it again, but it would not be my favorite on this menu.”
Upping the ante, when the weather warms up, Local 16 will serve brunch on that fabulous rooftop patio—and you can expect us to be there drinking $5 cocktails in the sunshine.
The Bitches say: A- for a pleasant ambiance, great service, affordable prices and delicious food. We hope they snazz up the French toast and add a few more brunch options—hopefully before summertime!
1602 U Street N.W.