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Smith Commons Brunch

It was American Craft Beer Week, and I hadn’t yet made it to any of the events (even though I live with a complete brew nut who pours for Port City in Alexandria). So instead I planned to fit in some of the excitement and suds at brunch.

Plus, Cori Sue and I had connected with the lovely Alejandra of One Bite at a Time and Tammy of Florida Girl in DC. The two are actually coworkers at AARP, and on the side they are both bloggers, social media queens, women-about-town, and avid foodies. This particular Sunday, they were joining us for brunch and beer (and they brought us delicious goodies).

The ACBW event in question was a BYT Flying Dog Brewery event at Smith Commons. All the factors were in place: great sponsor blog, great brewery (anything with Steadman illustrations is automatically awesome), and great restaurant. However, the place was nearly deserted.


So, we decided to skip the “smith” dining room on the first level and head up to the “commons” Public House for the patio and some sunshine.

Let me tell you, the atmosphere at Smith Commons is fabulous. A renovated carpet warehouse, it’s all white oak and exposed brick, fancy light fixtures and high tops. Upstairs, the vibe is more in line with H Street, with a huge open window that frames the space like a picture. The patio is small but just enough space, and it overlooks the little side streets into the neighborhood.


It’s such a cool place; you want the food to be excellent. Cori Sue and I had dinner there back when it opened, and we were unimpressed. We were crossing our fingers their newly launched brunch had stepped it up a notch.

Sadly, it wasn’t to be.

The French toast was said to be made with Cointreau Noir Orange, which sounds amazing. But all in all, it was a bit soggy and flavorless. Plus, we tasted hardly no orange.

The eggs Benedict, which I had, were nothing special. Standard Canadian bacon and hollandaise on an English muffin, and not even that great. Also, they were perched by themselves on my plate, with no sides or garnishes to assist. How lonely.


The shrimp and grits were made with Anson Mills grits, and had a touch of avocado, cilantro, sundried tomatoes, and pomegranate peppered throughout. The tiny dish also lacked the necessary punch. We didn’t even finish it.

Cori Sue had the pancakes, which were miniature and cute, but again, completely flavorless. Making them with cornmeal, rather than buttermilk, was a nice touch—and they were topped with a bit of fruit. But other than that, a bit boring.


The beermosas might have been the best part of the meal. A light hefeweizen with a touch of orange juice is the perfect drink for a patio brunch. And Smith Commons has a great craft beer selection. We advise you stick to the suds at this place. A friend of ours who also brunched here told us the bloody Mary had the consistency of a yogurt smoothie. Eep!

We really like what Frederik De Pue does—we’ve had some of his dishes at charity events and he also contributed to the Number 68 meals—but this brunch was just overreaching. We hope he fine tunes.


The Bitches say: C+ Go for beer and the atmosphere, but head across the street for grub.

Smith Commons
1245 H St, NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 396-0038

Smith Commons on Urbanspoon


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