What is it with Washington women and hotel bars? We’re not escorts, nor tourists, yet we flock to hotel bars for cocktails with the rest of them.
Maybe it’s the mysterious and worldly businessmen drinking whiskey at the bar. Or the snazzy yet undeniably overpriced cocktails. Or, perhaps it’s the complimentary cocktail mix and olives they have at the bar—I certainly do love corn nuts and Cerignola olives.
One of my girlfriends is a regular at the Jefferson’s Plume, where she positions herself on a stool at the mahogany bar with a glass of red wine. Another prefers champagne and elderflower cocktails amid the bright-red seating and loud music of the W Hotel lobby. Yet another adores the martinis and plush velvet cushions at the St. Regis Bar.
While I’ve sampled all three locales, personally, I prefer to nestle in to the comfy, worn-in couches for hot toddys by the fire at the Tabbard Inn. Then, I have a friend who told me she likes the bar at Nage Restaurant, located in the Marriott Courtyard, nearby both our homes. This friend is clearly confused—and needs to re-prioritize her locales.
Though I’d heard mixed reviews on Nage—from both friends and Yelp—I went ahead and snatched up a two-for-one brunch deal on Open Table Spotlight (big mistake).
My date, Tristin, and I arrived at Nage at 11:30 a.m. on a Saturday, and the restaurant was about half full with brunchers, mostly groups of girls chit-chatting while downing mimosas, which are $15 all-you-can-drink.
The brunch menu at Nage focuses on the wow factor, but lacks quality in any way, shape, or form. There are plenty of unique options: from red velvet pancakes to duck confit frittatas to the “Kill-It Skillet,” with mac-n-cheese, chorizo, bacon, truffle frites and a fried egg. While everything on the menu sounded inventive and delicious, in reality it lacked decent ingredients, skilled preparation, culinary finesse, and edibility.
The brunch deal included bottomless mimosas, coffee or tea, one appetizer and one entrée for each guest. Due to a week straight of drinking, both Tristin and I skipped the mimosas, opting for orange juice, coffee and tea. As for the food, we chose to share everything.
The first appetizer to arrive was the cinnamon rolls, which were actually two enormous sticky buns that arrived cold, slightly stale, and with a paltry portion of pecan sauce. However, they were the best part of the meal, as they prompted me to take more than three bites.
Then, the cheddar biscuits arrived. Says Tristin, “I didn’t mind the cheddar biscuits. I would say they ranked better than quiche but not the cinnamon buns. They were cold when they reached the table, which was a disappointment. I do feel that they would have tasted much better had they been warm. However, this having been said, they were not terrible.”
Next, the vegetable quiche, which was billed as loaded with fresh seasonal vegetables, and arrived as a mess of egg and pastry mushiness (yes, I said mushy).
“I can’t recall what was supposed to be in said quiche because there didn’t appear to be much else in it except for eggs and pastry. I must say that the portion size was very generous. However, I would much rather have a smaller portion of quality cuisine than a larger dish of mediocre quality. Quality over quantity, just like mamma always said,” Tristin expounded.
The crab Benny arrived with those nasty frozen home fries you find at an assortment of awful restaurants. You know what I’m talking about—the kind that are cut in perfect squares, pale white, and definitely came from the freezer. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look at the picture or take my word for it.
As for the Benedict itself, the muffin was fine, correctly toasted and crispy. The crab cake, however, was almost entirely filling, and the Hollandaise sauce was scandalously horrific. Having had crab cake Benedicts across the city, this certainly will be remembered as one of the worst.
In conclusion, says Tristin, “Overall, I would not recommend Nage for brunch. The main dishes certainly need work but the sides were not so bad. You are not going to brunch for biscuits and cinnamon buns alone, however. So, if you are simply on the prowl for a decent amount of food for a fair price (read: tourists who stay at the Marriott) Nage would be the place.”
Oh, did I mention the orange juice wasn’t fresh? Another pet peeve of this Bitch …
The Bitches say: F. An awful hotel brunch with disgusting ingredients, terrible cooking, and a hideous ambiance. Yuck.
1600 Rhode Island Ave. N.W.