I’m a vegetarian (pescetarian, actually), so brunch at a restaurant with a limited, no-fuss, steak-centered menu was tricky for me. Unabashedly carnivorous, Becca had dined at Medium Rare once before—for dinner—and she found it very odd.
There was no menu, just simply, “How do you want your steak cooked?” ‘Medium rare’ seems to be the only acceptable answer at that point, and so the waiter scribbles your request on your paper table cloth and disappears. After a little while, they return with steak, fries, and a mysterious brown sauce in a metal jar.
‘Wouldn’t this get boring?’ she thought after dinner. And, ‘Why would you go back when there’s only one dish to try?’ But the steak is good, the sauce is delicious, and you can’t get enough of the bread. And then, just when you think you’ve cleaned your plate, suddenly another waiter appears at your side with a skillet full of hot steak, pushing it onto your empty plate.
So you begin again, and you continue in this carnivorous fashion as long as you may like. And that’s why you go back.
Brunch, however, was quite different. The menu seems overwhelming when compared to the dinner menu. This might be because the owner contacted us a few months prior for some advice on their then-new brunch menu, and we offered up a few basic tips: give us options, and make it bottomless.
So they reformatted it with a spectacular deal: bread, two courses, and bottomless mimosas, coffee or orange juice for a mere $23. They invited us back to try it out.
The mimosas, the perfect mixture of fresh-squeezed orange juice and excellent champagne, were served promptly, and then promptly refilled, over and over again, as we sat outside on Medium Rare’s patio on a simply gorgeous fall morning.
Along with the mimosas, the first (of many) servings of bread arrived. If anything, I’d dine at Medium Rare for the bread alone. The bread, a high-quality French loaf, is also served at Michel Richard’s Citronelle. With a crispy, crumbly outside with fluffy melt-in-your-mouth inside, it’s served in a tin tray alongside room-temperature butter that we promptly globed on with steak knives. It was positively gluttonous in the best way possible.
For your first course, you may choose fruit or yogurt, and, in the name of blogging, we chose one of each. The cup of fruit was fresh and fine—filled with pineapple, honeydew, grapes and cantaloupe.
The creamy Greek yogurt comes served with granola, dried fruit, and amazing berry preserves. I’m not typically crazy about dried fruit, but this concoction was the perfect mixture of sweet, crunchy, chewy and savory. I enjoyed every bite.
Becca had the “famous” steak Benedict, because, how can you not? It seemed to be the item on the brunch menu commanding the most attention, so she went for it. The Benedict itself was only one-half of the English muffin, but that was alright, as it was overloaded with steak, eggs, and sauce. The restaurant, of course, substitutes its secret steak sauce for the normal hollandaise, and so this Benedict tastes quite different, much less brunch-y, save for that egg on top.
The entire thing gets a little mushy if you let it sit too long. It is filling, however, and you end up sopping up the sauce and runny poached eggs with the muffin, the steak, and eventually with the fries and the bread that came as an appetizer.
I ordered the only vegetarian option on the menu—the French toast, and a side of frites. (Bread, French fries, French toast, mimosas … I’m a beacon for healthy eating.) The French toast is right on par with the heavenly concoction at Granville Moores.
The dish was phenomenal. The chef takes the ends of their infamous French bread and soaks them overnight in their cinnamon-egg-cream concoction, and then they flash fry, rather than bake it, so that it is moist, fluffy and sweet on the inside and crisp on the outside. It’s sprinkled with powdered sugar, topped with fresh berries, and served with a side of real maple syrup.
Instead of being baked into the toast, the Logan sausage that comes with the French toast is served separately on a dish, looking rather sad—but enabling me to give it to Becca. It’s delicious, though, by itself, she says.
The frites were delicious as well, served with Medium Rare’s uber-secret special sauce. Unfortunately for yours truly, I had been dipping them lavishly into said secret sauce throughout brunch with reckless abandon. Near the end of the meal, the waitress, with a look of appall, says, “Miss, you’re a vegetarian? That sauce … isn’t … I’m so sorry.”
“No problem,” I replied. “It’s only my moral convictions, no big deal.”
Her jaw dropped further.
Aside from that little snafu …
The Bitches say: A. High-quality cuisine, gorgeous patio, good service, and a spectacular brunch deal—with more options than dinner. This brunch is a hidden gem.
Brunch is served on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
3500 Connecticut Ave N.W.