When I first moved to Washington, dance-maniac Becca took me to Policy for a crazy night of dancing amid the graffiti-laden walls and glitzy chandeliers of Policy’s second floor. I had a blast, but had no idea the nightclub served food. I think a lot of people in the District have had similar experiences with Policy.
Well, listen up, because you should go downstairs for dinner, and brunch, because what’s cooking in the kitchen is just as good, if not better, than the music and dancing upstairs.
It’s been years since this experience, and, as a 14th Street resident, I’ve had multiple delicious dinners at Policy. I even walked the runway at a DC Magazine and Saks Fifth Avenue fashion show held at the restaurant. Then, last month, Policy launched brunch.
Between vacations, Bitching, party planning and birthdays, it took me awhile to get there—but when I did, I enjoyed every bite. (Full disclosure: this brunch was complimentary, but that doesn’t take away from the incredible food and experience.)
I was joined by Hilary and Lindsey, and we requested a seat on Policy’s upstairs patio, which has big cushy patio furniture, string lights hanging above your head, and a funky graffiti mural of Washington on the wall. You could not find a better space for brunch with your girlfriends.
On this occasion, Belvedere vodka representatives were on hand doling out complimentary Bloody Marys to diners, made with a new Belvedere Bloody Mary vodka. The vodka smelled delicious, and exactly like a Bloody Mary—it’s infused with seven ingredients: black pepper, horseradish, bell pepper, chili pepper, vinegar, tomato and lemon. The Bloody Marys were flavorful and easy to drink. I finished the whole thing—a rarity for me, as they are usually too thick for me to finish a full cocktail. At brunch, Policy offers a bottomless Bloody Mary bar, and allows you to concoct your Bloody exactly to your liking. (Policy also offers bottomless mimosas, and both options are $18.)
Brunch began with a complimentary bread basket filled with miniature portions of the Laotian Pastry chef Deth Khaiaphone’s best treats. The basket included cranberry scones, blueberry muffins, chickpea quinoa muffins, and a chocolate bacon muffin. They were all unique and delicious—fluffy and moist, each with its own unique flavor.
I couldn’t sample the chocolate bacon muffin, but Lindsey says it was sweet, salty, savory and absolutely scrumptious. I can’t imagine the amount of thinking, baking and time that goes into making those cute little muffins—just one of the details that makes Policy so special.
The yogurt and fruit dish was actually a fruit plate with a citrus Greek yogurt dipping sauce, which, to me, was even better. As you may know, Miss Lindsey and I are harsh critics of restaurants’ fruit plates. Because, as our saying goes, if the fruit isn’t fresh, the rest of the food probably isn’t either. Lindsey says, “We always rate the quality of a restaurant based on the freshness of their fruit, and they definitely passed. The plate was delicious, featuring cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, mango, and pineapple.” Those happen to be all my favorite fruits—so I was happy as a clam.
We also shared the cinnamon sugar beignets in blueberry compote. The enormous, fluffy beignets were coated thickly in cinnamon sugar, which, it should be noted, remained on the beignet and not on your lap. The beignets were very sweet, but the compote was not too sweet, not too syrupy, or too jammy, but just right. (Gotta love those Goldilocks moments!) There were whole delicious blueberries throughout the compote. You simply must order the beignets.
For her meal, Lindsey ordered the hot smoked salmon. She says, “It was served in a classic smoked salmon style on a plate with capers, diced red onions, diced eggs, and a cream cheese and chive spread. However, as usual, Chef Brian added his own creative touches. The salmon was warm and fully cooked, rather than the usual cold lox. Additionally, rather than a bagel, the spread was served with latke like hash browns that were a unique, yet delicious, pairing for the salmon plate.”
For my main course, I ordered the crab and eggs Benedict, which, at this point, I know surprises none of you. The English muffin was made in house by Policy’s pastry whiz, and topped with wilted spinach, fresh crab meat and a tomato Old Bay Hollandaise. Adding wilted spinach to a Benedict often makes the dish oilier, and this Benedict was no exception. However, it was not overly oily to the point that I didn’t enjoy it. The Old Bay Hollandaise changed up the flavors and really surprised my palate—I’ve eaten so many Benedicts that sometimes they all run together. This flavor, however, was memorable and unique.
Also on the table were the truffled asiago stone mill grits. Hilary, a Southern Georgia girl, thought the grits could have a bit been better, labeling them too watery and not fully cooked. I, however, really enjoyed them. But, I love anything with truffle oil and cheese, and I am no Grits expert.
The meal concluded with Policy’s candied bacon. Part of Policy’s brunch shtick is a “bacon brunch,” meaning you can add bacon to anything. Again, I didn’t try the bacon, but, Lindsey says, “I was surprised I loved it. I typically don’t like bacon or even most candies, but the sugar-salt combination was dangerously addictive.”
Chef Brian is a creative mastermind in the kitchen and adds a unique flair to every dish, making each plate just a little bit different and just a little bit special. Lindsey always told me Chef Brian is the best kept secret in Washington, and I agree. Here’s the kicker, ladies: He’s a total dreamboat.
The Bitches say: A. Policy’s dishes are creative, original, and artfully prepared. There is something for everyone on the menu—and your taste buds will enjoy every bite.
1904 14th Street NW