When it comes to food, I’ll ruthlessly rebut the statement “you can’t always get what you want.” Good hospitality and well thought out menu concepts should give you what you want out of a dining experience. However, when planning a brunch for, say, 10 people, there are circumstances where you will, without a doubt, not be able to get all that you want out of your dining experience.
If this is the case, we must turn to reliable restaurants with a big enough space to squeeze large groups in the last minute and where the booze will be consistently flowing. Matchbox just re-launched its brunch menu with bottomless food and drinks. We put our stomachs and livers to the tests in the name of all you brunchers out there who know very well you can’t get everything you want—but can come pretty close.
Matchbox is a large piece of real estate on an intimate corner of 14th Street and T. The big brick building has multi-levels, has varying seating types, and lets in a ton of light. They also have locations in Chinatown and Barracks Row. The staff is incredibly accommodating and really want you to have everything you need, but want you to stay a while and enjoy your dining experience.
The brunch menu is an encyclopedia of brunch classics and twists. With varying types of pizzas, scrambles, pastries, and Benedicts we didn’t know where to start—luckily the limit did not exist. We found comfort in ordering some brunch cocktails to start, which were in ample supply with regards to both variety and quantity. We opted for the classic bloody Mary and then mimosas with varying juice infusions.
The bloody Mary was adorned, salted, and seasoned. No complaints here. If you go for bottomless, the restaurant will bring you a Champagne bottle with an accompanying juice, a style we appreciate so you can fix your own ratio and not have to wait for refills. If it’s not the time or place for you to be riding the bottomless train, the flavored mimosas are well crafted with specialty flavors and in a glass larger than a Champagne flute.
We ordered pizzas first, as they are familiar and an easy metric to begin with. The traditional ones were simple and delicious with a thin, crispy crust. The breakfast pizzas, however, were slightly overcooked and didn’t have a flavorful combination of topping: thick rounds of gouda and mozzarella with scrambled eggs were stiff and unappetizing.
We steered towards some off-concept menu items like shrimp and grits, a burrito, and a scramble with smoked salmon. The shrimp and grits were delicious and perfectly portioned. We didn’t feel it fit the rest of the menu but were pleasantly surprised by the savory Southern favorite. Similarly, the breakfast burrito was slightly out of place. The tortilla was hard and the eggs overcooked.
The breakfast scramble with smoked salmon was tasteful but slightly too salty. It was a nice alternative to many of the meat-heavy options on the menu, though.
The more on-brand menu items were executed well. The arancini balls were probably our favorite thing to hit the table. The balls were crispy on the exterior, while fluffy and gooey on the interior — one of the better arancinis we’ve enjoyed in D.C.
To top off this endeavor, we had a cinnamon roll and cheesecake, of sorts. Dessert definitely doesn’t need to be part of the bottomless brunch game plan, and neither did this, unfortunately. The dish tasted overly refined and unoriginal.
The Bitches say: four Champagne flutes. This brunch is incredibly fun, low maintenance, and perfect for groups. The food is tasteful if you stick to the simple Italian-American fare Matchbox is known for.
Matchbox serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.