I just moved from the District to Arlington with my husband and daughter, five-month-old Mina. Our plan was to flee the city to search for more space and better schools. But, after being beat up by the crazy Arlington real estate market, we settled for a Clarendon apartment while the house hunt continues.
All said and done, Clarendon is not a bad stopover when making the transition from D.C. proper to suburbia. Whole Foods (check), boutique gyms (check), restaurants and bars (check, check), cultural events (err, well … the city is so close!).
I have had my eye on Lyon Hall for a while, noticing it on my strolls through Clarendon with Miss Mina. I’ve been to her sister restaurants, Liberty Tavern and Northside Social, and of the sisters, I would consider Lyon Hall the worldly and cultured one.
Serving French brasserie and German cuisine from the Alsace region (it borders Germany), Lyon Hall gives off a comfortable, European café atmosphere with cozy tables, a nicely appointed bar, and handsome black-and-white photos adorning the walls. Mina and I met Becca and Sylvia (her mother, my godmother) there the Sunday after Christmas.
Because most folks were out of town for the holidays, reservations were easy to snag and the hostesses were very helpful finding a table that would accommodate a stroller. Sylvia and I both started with cappuccinos, which we loved. Sylvia is a cappuccino connoisseur.
Becca opted for the large French press coffee. Our waiter said it would yield three cups but she was drinking from it the entire two hours we were there, and she found it glorious that she didn’t have to keep asking for constant coffee refills.
Next came the bread basket filled with two types of bread baked in house. It was delicious and devoured quickly.
Becca got the lobster bisque to start. It was warm and flavorful with good chunks of lobster and a pleasing “vermouth-tarragon froth.” However, it does come with a hefty $12 price tag, which we thought was pretty spendy for such a small appetizer portion.
The main dishes came promptly and were proportioned nicely. I got the bacon poached eggs, which I thought was delicious, and a nice change from the classic benny. The bacon was crisp, the egg was just runny enough, and it was topped with spinach that was well cooked and seasoned.
Becca went for the pulled pork poached eggs. The dish included a crostini topped with pulled pork, peppers, olives, pecorino cheese, and perfectly cooked poached eggs. It did get a little mushy towards the end of the meal, but it was still tasty.
Next, Sylvia’s cheddar herb omelet was just the right consistency, fluffy, and flavorful. The bratwurst sausage looked too good to pass up so we ordered a side for the table and were delighted. It was succulent and filled with a surprise gushy gruyere cheese—so savory!
Normally, we would have stopped there, but this being the holidays, and since our New Year’s resolutions hadn’t started, we indulged in the selection of four fresh donuts for dessert.
The donuts were plain yeast donuts covered with four different flavored glazes. We identified the flavors as chocolate, some type of fruity glaze, eggnog, we think, and then some type of cinnamon glaze.
We nibbled on bites of each, but they were nothing to write home about. We were disappointed. Also, as you read this, I’m probably on the treadmill trying to run those donuts off.
The dishes were fresh and flavorful, the environment was cozy, and the music was even good, however we don’t suggest it for budget diners. It’s a tad expensive—our final check was over $100 and we didn’t even order cocktails.
I will definitely be going back, maybe next time for beer and brats.
Tip: If you use the bathroom there, don’t talk about your boyfriend … You’ll see what I mean.
The Bitches say: B. A quality restaurant with good food, good service, and a European flair—just a tad expensive and the much-anticipated donuts were meh.
3100 North Washington Blvd.
Lyon Hall serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.