I think I’ve found a hangover’s dream. It’s in Adams Morgan, at a bar where you would typically go to for rare breeds of bourbon. Instead, you can soak up the sickness with a barbecue buffet that rivals most I’ve seen in the South.
Smoke & Barrel was empty when we arrived, which was grand because we were expecting a rather large group of (probably disheveled) friends. We quickly filled up a table near the front of the restaurant, which ended up proving quite cold every time the front door swung open and a huge rush of freezing air hit us.
The deal was simple: Go get your plates’ full of barbecue meat and all sorts of fixings, and we’ll serve you drinks. Typically I despise buffets, but since this was a group that was rolling in at different hours and in different states of hangovers, this proved to be the perfect scenario.
We ordered mimosas and coffee. The cocktails were good, but heavy on the orange juice. The coffee kept coming, even though it tasted a bit stale.
The buffet itself is rather small, but packed with the essentials: scrambled eggs, hangover helper (pulled pork, smoked sausage, red peppers, cheddar), jalapeno cheddar grits, chili, French toast, brisket hash, and a big filet of smoked salmon with fixings on the side.
Plus, there were plenty of vegan options, including home fries, tofu scramble, and tofu hash. A huge rectangle of cornbread was nearly destroyed by my group. And then, there was the piece de resistance, the hot plate of pulled pork and smoked brisket. The brisket was the best; it was tender and tasty.
On the table, bottles of bottles of barbecue sauce, in any flavor you’d like. We all piled our plates high and then went back for seconds and thirds. Eventually, the restaurant filled up with, what seemed to be, an entire cadre of Adams Morgan locals wearing flannel pajamas. Clearly, this is a very relaxed neighborhood joint where it’s totally acceptable to do such a thing.
One or two dishes were a bit on the dry side, but overall, the buffet was pretty solid. A lot of the food would have been better if it were actually hot instead of barely above room temperature. But hot plates and burners are par for the course when it comes to brunch buffets, I’m afraid.
One good thing was the price. At only $14.95 a person ($4 for a mimosa or Mary and unlimited coffee, tea, or juice), it’s a good deal if you’re an AdMo local. I could see going back if I really wanted a lot of meat in my brunch, but if I wanted that, I’d probably also be in the mood for some hard day drinking, in which case I’d opt for another spot where they keep it flowing, bottomless-style.
After brunch, we of course had to try some of the bar’s bourbon, so we asked our server for his recommendations. We tried the Angel’s Envy, which was highly recommended by the bartender, and his rec was spot on. It was quite tasty indeed, and everything he promised it would be.
The Bitches say: B- We would go back if we were local, and if we were really craving meat in our brunch. But it’s nothing to go out of the way for.
Smoke & Barrel serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.
Smoke & Barrel
2471 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20009