Last weekend I had the two men I love the most all to myself. Knock off the dirty minds now; this is my dad and my brother we’re talking about. They flew into D.C. for some sort of we’re-marginally-worried-about-Becca-post-breakup intervention, in which, as typical males, they never actually brought up the breakup. Instead, we just hung out. Which was rather perfect, actually.
They’re not the type of guys who care for reservations at fancy places or Bellinis with pinkies out, so we brunched at the most low-key place I could think of: Luna Grill. This selection turned out to be serendipitous. Just as we were waiting for our table in the packed entrance, trying to shield ourselves from the freezing blasts of air, a man, looking extremely hungover and exhausted, starts to make his way through everyone to leave.
“Excuse me,” I tapped on his shoulder. “Are you Jim?” He turned around to me, said yes, and then turned around to leave.
“Holy shit! I’m Chris!” my brother said, shaking his hand. He shook back, looked at us with sunken eyes, and quickly exited.
It was Jim Breuer. You know, goat boy. Or rather, Half Baked boy. Or rather, the best ACDC impression—ever. My dad, brother, and I spent a solid year watching the DVD of his stand-up comedy back in the day. And then we made everyone we know watch it too. We were still grinning from that fleeting celebrity sighting as we were seated for brunch.
Luna Grill is the sort of little hidden D.C. gem of a diner that celebrities would try to be incognito in. It’s tiny, but the booths are high, and it’s always packed with people. The menu is massive—and it doesn’t change. You can get their brunch items at any time of the day. The food is no frills and inexpensive.
To start, we shared the cinnamon raisin French toast. It was only $5 and we needed some bread, so we said why not. It was soft and warm, and a little soggy, but otherwise perfectly French toast delicious.
My dad, being a vegetarian, was thankful for the veggie options on the menu, including a Portobello Benedict. He went for the veggie breakfast wrap. It was scrambled eggs, tomatoes, green peppers, cilantro and cheddar cheese, all in a whole wheat wrap.
The home fries that came on the side of each dish were nicely spiced red potatoes. A little mushy, but some like them like that. We didn’t try the drinks—we’d had a night of bar hopping around Old Town the night prior—but noticed that other tables were enjoying mimosas with sliced strawberries in them. They looked lovely.
My brother went for a Belgian waffle, which can be ordered with a selection of fruit and sweet toppings, but he had it plain with syrup. Instead, he asked for cheese on his scrambled eggs on the side, and got them served with a square of cheese melted on top, as if it were plopped on there straight out of the plastic.
That same square of cheese was melted on top of the bagel and eggs dish, which is served simply with eggs and potatoes. If that’s too plain you can go for Kathleen’s choice, which is a bagel served with lox, cream cheese, tomatoes, onions and capers. But try to avoid the luminous square of fake cheese.
The Benedicts were really great, and there were a lot of options, including a couple suitable for vegetarians. I had the classic Benny, which came with thin slices of ham folded in half under the poached egg. The English muffin was toasted and coated with butter. The egg was a bit over cooked, so I didn’t get the runny effect over the whole dish, but the tasty Cajun Hollandaise evened it out.
The crab Benedict was just as delish. But there was also the aforementioned Portobello option, and a tomato and artichoke Benedict—and that one was the prettiest of the lot.
The service was excellent and just as no frills as the food. We had a big party for the size of the restaurant, and we were seated within half an hour—and there were a lot of people waiting. Our coffees and waters were never empty.
The tiny diner has come into its own since it opened in 1970—the walls are painted with suns and moons that stretch from the windows to the kitchen. There are displays of funky art and local creativity framed on the wall, all for sale. It was our art appetizer before we headed around the corner to the FotoWeek exhibition on L Street.
The Bitches say: A- A solid, no frills diner brunch, but some of the dishes need some work.
Luna Grill & Diner
1301 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20009