If you haven’t visited Union Market recently, you might be surprised by the flurry of activity on 5th Street N.E., which is bustling with new businesses. One of the highlights of the slew of new shops is St. Anselm, a new American steakhouse from restaurateur Stephen Starr (the genius behind Le Diplomat and some of our favorite Philly spots) and Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley.
This dark, offbeat tavern is filled with vintage Americana prints, mismatched china, and portraits of less-than-popular presidents like Herbert Hoover. The restaurant feels almost like a good old boys’ club or a hunting lodge. It’s dark, masculine, and so obviously different from the trendy build outs of seemingly every other new restaurant. This dark, deep aesthetic is refreshing by comparison—and we dig it.
As you might expect of a steakhouse, the brunch menu goes heavy on steaks and eggs. It’s decidedly not full of options for those with dietary restrictions, but there is at least something for nearly everyone.
After a round of water, coffee, mimosas, and Bloody Marys, we were ready to dive in. We were disappointed by the lack of spice in our Bloody Marys, but would soon discover that this would be our chief disappointment of the meal.
We started with the cinnamon roll monkey bread with cream cheese frosting. This giant Bundt cake was shiny with frosting, fluffy, moist, and warm. This superbly executed pastry had great flavor— and we devoured it. It was gargantuan: you’ll want at least three people to share it.
The Eggs in Purgatory was a beautiful presentation of flavorful, spicy tomato stew, and a duck egg-in-a-hole. The duck egg was a nice change of pace from the usual chicken egg and gave the plate a rich, elevated taste and experience.
Similarly, the Eggs Norwegian felt like an fancier Benedict, with smoked salmon, two perfectly poached eggs, and Hollandaise sauce. The smokiness of salmon wasn’t very strong, but we appreciated the generous helping atop the English muffin.
The obvious choice to order would be the steak and eggs, and you wouldn’t be wrong. The grilled butcher’s steak is accompanied by eggs your way, hash browns, and béarnaise. The filet was juicy and perfectly cooked to order. We’ll definitely be back for dinner at St. Anselm to enjoy another cut over a glass of red wine.
Both the steak and eggs and Eggs Norwegian had fantastic hash browns on the side. These potato pancakes were perfectly crispy and would be a great base for another egg dish. We also ordered side strips of thick-cut grilled Heritage bacon. The bacon was juicy and fatty; definitely what you want from a butcher in the kitchen.
And while you’d likely not think to order the crispy chicken sandwich at a steakhouse, you should definitely consider it. Topped with heirloom tomato, iceberg lettuce, and buttermilk dressing on a brioche roll, the sandwich was outstanding. Quite simply served with a Gordy’s pickle on the side (hat tip to the local purveyor!) the chicken was utter perfection, both crispy outside and moist inside. It’s another dish I’d order again at dinner.
Our friendly waitress insisted that we try the malted chocolate chip pancakes so we ordered it to share as a dessert. Topped with bananas and whipped cream, we all agreed that this dish was the star of the show. The pancakes were fluffy and light enough on the malt to not overpower the cocoa flavor.
The Bitches Say: A. Swing by St. Anselm for a meaty, boozy, decidedly unsaint-like brunch full of juicy steak, rich eggs, and fluffy pancakes.
1250 5th Street, N.E
Washington, DC 20002