Shaw’s Tavern Brunch

As an adult (read: a 20-something in high heels with a 401K who calls herself an adult), I’m finding a rapidly increasing segregation between males and females in my life.

Gone are my middle school days when I could have friends of all ages, political persuasions, and genders. High school friendships fraught with sexual tension are history. College co-ed parties are no longer—who has time to flirt with men you have no intention of dating?

It comes down to this: Nowadays, I date men. I am friends with women. The end.

Save for one particular male friend, whom I’ve kept since the age of 12. Now, we’ve both been in Washington for quite some time—studying foreign relations then working as foreign-policy wonks. We catch up over brunch, drinks, and discussion on our dating lives. We Gchat and text, and I don’t over-analyze every sentence written before clicking “send.”

Thank you, man friend, for keeping me sane.

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This brunch is co-written by yours truly and my anonymous “man friend,” lest the ladies in his life or his high-profile employers catch on to his association with a bunch of Bitches.

He lives in Shaw, and regularly goes to Shaw’s Tavern to eat, work, brunch and relax. I met him there last Saturday, where we sat on the patio for a couple hours and discussed the stresses of balancing work and dating in Washington.

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From the dude: Shaw’s Tavern has the potential to be a great neighborhood hangout. Cori Sue might dock it a few points for its “manufactured authenticity,” but the dark wood paneling and exposed brick and ceilings fit in well with the neighborhood, and the entire restaurant is just the right amount of casual without looking like you’d see guys in cargo shorts walking up.

It feels like the kind of place you can stroll up to dressy-casual on any weekend and kill an hour at the bar reading a book and sipping one of their many beers on tap, or kick back in one of their comfortable couches with a coffee and the morning’s paper. On this occasion, however, Cori Sue was on the job, so there was no loitering with literature.

We set about grading their brunch, seated on their patio alongside Sixth Street NW. While on previous mornings the patio has been relatively quiet, clean, and laid back, this afternoon the construction next door and the traffic on Florida Avenue made it loud, dusty, and a little unpleasant.

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From Cori Sue: As we shouted over the enormous delivery trucks, we discussed everything from Hillary Clinton (why should we stay within typical gender constraints?) to how tight is too tight for men’s pants (If he wears skinny jeans will he be any good in bed?).

After three visits from the waitress asking us if we were ready to order, we finally turned to Shaw’s Tavern’s menu. The menu is thorough, providing plenty of options and everything a bruncher could ever desire: pancakes, waffles, French toast, chicken and waffles, scrambled eggs, omelets, even pickles. There are house-made pastries, corn bread, English muffins, a pastry basket, and more. There are even more unique options like a truffled egg salad sandwich or a house-made smoked pimiento cheese sandwich.

From the dude: But Shaw’s is trying to do too much. The Southern-accented menu is intriguingly adventurous, but has been poorly executed on earlier trips to the Tavern. So, after a few miscues on some of the more complex items during previous visits, I decided to go with something pretty simple: soft scrambled eggs. Hard to screw that up.

But the eggs, with cherry tomatoes and cheddar, were somehow both dry and runny at the same time. Despite the tomatoes and cheddar they were mostly devoid of flavor. The English muffin with which it was served was dry, almost stale. On previous visits, I have enjoyed the cornbread and the chicken and waffles, but neither of these were worth writing home (or giving quotes to brunch blogger superstars) about.

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From Cori Sue: Meanwhile, I ordered a special on the menu: scrambled eggs with wild mushrooms, topped with arugula and served on an enormous slice of whole-wheat bread. I was happy with my dish, the mushrooms were enormous and fresh, the eggs properly scrambled, the arugula fresh and the bread soft.

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I ordered a side of fresh house-made English muffins (not knowing that man-friend’s dish also came came with them. The English muffins were good. However, they were trying too hard, the muffins came with an herbed buttered and a raspberry jelly that was syrupy sweet. Just a whole lot going on there.

The service was pleasant and reasonably quick—serviceable would be the appropriate word—until we wanted the check. Then, it took a good twenty minutes for our request to be met. We had places to go, work to do, dates to go on—we were rightfully irked.

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From the dude: We really want to like Shaw’s Tavern. It has potential. The menu is great in concept, and I think the patio was just having an off day. I just hope it gets its act together sooner rather than later. Until then, I’ll be a less than frequent visitor.

From Cori Sue: As for this little Bitch, I was happy with my meal, and with the patio. I wanted to try more, but I just couldn’t stomach it. It has potential and is worth a visit—but I predict the results to be inconsistent.

The Bitches say: C+. Cool ambiance, good patio, lots of menu options and the food sure isn’t bad. There’s just a whole lot going on and they need to figure themselves out. Brunch therapy?

Shaw’s Tavern
520 Florida Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C.
(202) 518-4092

Shaw’s Tavern serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays.

Shaw's Tavern on Urbanspoon

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