There are many times when we are getting ready for brunch there’s a theoretical cartoon thought bubble floating overhead solely filled with meat and potatoes. Steak frites, sausage hash, bacon, and home fries are our best friends on hungover and ravenous mornings alike. On such mornings, we know we can rely on D.C.’s bistros for big burgers with boundless accouterments. Mintwood Place could see right through our poised personas and into our imaginary floating thought bubble.
Situated beside D.C.’s recently acclaimed culinary hub with bordering restaurants like Brothers and Sisters, Spoken English, and Tail Up Goat, Mintwood Place is a Washington staple… at least it is for Barack and Michelle. The classic American-Parisian space has muted tones and lets in lots of light during the daytime. The place was packed for Sunday brunch. It has a vibrant energy and was filled with families, special brunch dates, and brunch-goers celebrating birthdays.
With one look at the menu, we knew we’d have no problem living out our meat and potato fantasy. We ordered a Bloody Mary and grapefruit mimosa immediately. The Bloody Mary came in one of those tall 1980s style vase glasses. Adorned with lemon (as all Bloody Marys should be) and a charred shishito pepper, we loved the traditional flavors and simple toppings. We had to stick our necks out to reach the straw of this tall boy. A tart grapefruit mimosa is always a good complement to a decadent meal, and Mintwood’s version did not disappoint.
We started with the Mintwood classics: deviled eggs and chicken liver mousse. Come on, do as the French do! The deviled eggs were pickled in beet juice and topped with a whipped, mustard-forward yolk filling. The bright pink outside was potent with beet and a fun tang to contrast with the yolk.
Chicken liver mousse is a scary sounding dish to most. We get it, but hear us out. The mousse is typically a blend of chicken liver, some sort of fat, a variety of herbs, and acid. When mixed, it creates a lush spread of salty cream, like chicken soup married a stick of butter.
For our meat fix, we ordered the burger, a veggie hash, and a lox flammekueche (a German-style flatbread-pastry hybrid with various toppings). The burger is a standout in this city for sure. It’s more of a grill-style, burger with a barbeque-charred crust rather than griddled meat. The bottom of the burger is a perfectly shaped patty with pickled lettuce, wrapped beautifully in a ribbon of sour pickles. Thick, almost jerky-like bacon crisscrossed atop melty cheddar makes this burger a real showstopper.
The veggie hash is a classic skillet mixture of potatoes, romanesco, mushrooms, onions, and a seasonal item; this month it was pumpkin. The hash was topped with a perfect egg and chives. This was a simple but oh-so-comforting bowl of veg, egg, and – yes – starchy potato.
The flammekueche is the perfect lox toast. It’s flaky, buttery, and crispy, but isn’t overwhelmed by cream cheese or sour cream. The rectangular, topping-heavy pastry crust was cut into individual squares and perfect for sharing.
Last up: French toast. We will keep claiming the “bests we’ve ever had” until D.C. spots stop upping their brunch game – and no one really wants that to happen. The Mintwood Place French toast is our favorite in the city. We are honestly perplexed by how brioche so thick and fluffy can be so cooked through on the outside yet plush and billowy on the inside. The slightly sweet partnership of macerated fruits and a single dollop of unsweetened whipped cream completes the plate. There’s no syrup, no powdered sugar, and certainly no ice cream or oreo crumbles.
The Bitches Say: 5 Champagne flutes
This D.C. classic has still got it. Brunch energy is high, the interior is welcoming, and the food will alleviate the strongest of cravings.