I text my boyfriend on a Wednesday night to ask what he’s up to.
“I’m at home base,” he responds.
I know, instinctively, that this does not mean his house. Or even my apartment. On Wednesdays, without fail, he is perched at the end of the wooden bar, upstairs at the Irish pub in Old Town, called Murphy’s.
Why do I even ask?
He’s a creature of habit, that one. And his Murphy’s habit has been a well-practiced one for many years now.
It’s his spot. His family. His other love (ahem).
And so when he suggested we have brunch at Murphy’s, I was slightly shocked.
“You won’t be embarrassed by my enormous camera?” He shook his head. “What if it’s bad?” I feigned horror. He shrugged.
Wooahhkay, I said, and off we went, across the bridge, dodging traffic on Old Town’s cobblestone streets, nipping around an adorable art festival, and settling into a table on a sunny Sunday morning.
I have to say, it felt odd being at Murphy’s in daylight. Where are the drunken folk singers? Where’s the sticky bar? The stumbling girls? I’m so confused.
Instead, the place was chock full of little old ladies and awkward dates, sitting around white-linen-covered tables, wielding champagne flutes. And the same servers, the same bartenders who hear our drunken rambling every Wednesday eve, chirpily saddled up to take our order.
This is weird.
But true: Murphy’s transforms itself for Sunday brunch, offering up a champagne brunch with all the fixings. And the food isn’t bad–it just isn’t classic Irish. Not that I’m complaining about Murphy’s lot, but I am always looking for an English … errr Irish? … brekkie in D.C., and I have yet to find a good one.
I had high hopes for Murphy’s Irish breakfast, but it disappointed with only scrambled eggs, a couple strips of bacon, two sausages, some home fries, a homemade biscuit, and packets of jelly and butter. Where’s my black pudding? My grilled tomatoes? For Godssake, where are my blessed baked beans?!
My love’s shrimp and grits was much more extraordinary, with a thick layer of grits covered with a tasty Cajun sauce. The sauce had a kick, which masked any taste of the grits or shrimp, but made the entire dish quite pleasant. On the side, scrambled eggs and a biscuit. Mix with the sauce, you’ve got yourself a spicy feast.
The steak and eggs also had the requisite home fries, biscuit, and scrambled eggs. The filet was enormous, long and thin, a little tough, with plenty of fat on the side. This was no filet mignon, but it was very well seasoned and served its brunch purpose nicely.
The crab cake benedict—ordered from the specials board—came with the standard, same sides. The English muffin was over-toasted and thin, and the Hollandaise nothing special. The crab cakes were tasty but very fried. In fact, I think I tasted more fried batter than actual crab meat.
Granted, the brunch is a phenomenal deal. It’s only $8.95 for an entrée, and $1 for each glass of champagne (and they kept our glasses always full). Then there are a number of specials listed on the chalk board on the wall, each of which are a whole grand dollar more expensive than the brunch menu—so there’s plenty to choose from.
I just wanted to love the quality of the food just as much as I love the quality of the people—and the place.
The Bitches say: B. Would have been a C, but Murphy’s has the character, the amazing staff, and a great brunch deal. But please, get me an authentic Irish brekkie.
Murphy’s Irish Pub
713 King St.
Murphy’s serves brunch every Sunday.