A Note from the Bitches: We let our Guest Bro, Emil, handle this review as Becca fled the country for Southern Spain shortly after enjoying this brunch. You can follow Emil on Twitter @EmilCDC, or check out his writing on Thought Catalog, where he is a contributor.
According to the myth, Atlas was the primordial Titan who held up the celestial sphere separating the sky from the earth (as punishment, but that matters not for the purposes of our story). So it was with a bit of irony that I picked up Becca on a rainy DC Sunday, the sky seemingly falling down around us, and headed to H Street NE. Becca had had quite the adventure engaging in all-day drinking at the Penthouse Pool the day before, and we both needed something to get the weight of the world off our shoulders.
The Atlas Room commands the center of its block on H Street between 10th and 11th Streets NE. It’s a handsome establishment inside-and-out, with white linen napkins and fancy lighting. As Atlas is also the titan of astrology and navigation, framed maps covered the walls and other navigational items could be found elegantly placed throughout.
Our brunch party, made up of Lavagna Restaurant’s Stephen and Beasley Real Estate’s Colleen, had already arrived and was waiting for us at the only table by the window. As Becca arranged everything, none of us knew each other well, but by the end of the brunch we were all good friends, bound together by good food, good drinks, and the sharing of great stories—such as when Becca received a phone call that she answered with: “You owe me money, G!” that would have made loan sharks stand up and clap. Clearly, that required an explanation, a story which is too long to tell here.
There was no better navigator to the menu than our server, Kareem. Not only did the man know the offerings, but he waxed poetic about every single ingredient. While some might argue his narrative was a bit over the top, it fit the mood of our table perfectly, and he was able to deftly suggest drinks for all of us.
Shrugged, these drinks were not. The restaurant lists its Bloody Mary recipe as follows: “Finlandia vodka, horseradish, celery salt and celery, cucumber, Worcestershire, and a touch of veal reduction (optional).” The resulting concoction is unique in the best way possible— very elegantly balanced, providing a quick pick-me-up but not overpowering in alcohol. This is not your usual tomato mix, and I can honestly say it’s unlike anything I have tasted in the city so far. Likewise, it listed a “Brunch Punch”, a recipe that is changed on a weekly basis by the bartender. This was too much for Becca to resist and she quickly jumped at the chance to taste it. I ordered a Bloody, but then Becca decided she liked my drink more than hers and “suggested” we trade. In brunch, as in life, one does not deny a Bitch her preference.
We jumped into the food offerings with an order of Indian chickpea fritters. While a veggie dish, it was delightful. The fritters were not too soggy nor too dry, and the salad that came on top of them could have easily been served on its own—it was that good.
We also split the biscuits and gravy, a dish that was creamy, yet not too heavy.
And we also shared a small serving of the creamy polenta with honey, because (no joke) Kareem was so excited about it he brought us some as “we really had to try it.” Seriously. And he was right. It was delicious.
Becca had the bacon cheddar waffles with bacon on the side. Girl loves her bacon. The waffles were actually cooked with bits of bacon and cheddar cheese in the batter. So, when you broke into them, you were not only getting those tasty morsels, but also the lovely taste of bacon grease. They were covered with extra shredded cheddar cheese and powdered sugar.
I ordered the pork hash with eggs and cheese. The eggs were great: delicately cooked, not too runny, and the pork was served in little squares that made it easy to camouflage with the potatoes, making each bite a surprise. It didn’t seem to be a large serving, but by the end I was full and completely satisfied.
Stephen had the special omelet, which is (again) a recipe that changes from week-to-week, and this time included a hefty serving of peppers and potatoes.
Colleen had the French toast. Cooked with Grand Marnier and served with creme fraiche and a side of bacon, the French toast was not only substantial, but sumptuous.
We got the desserts. We didn’t order them, they just came, dammit. First up was what I can only describe as a chocolate ridiculousness. Smeared dark chocolate and chocolate mousse on a chocolate cookie. I dare anyone to come up with a more chocolate-y dessert.
Then there was a raspberry gelato, which was really tasty and refreshing, the best palate cleanser.
There was also a strawberry shortcake. A real strawberry shortcake. With real strawberries.
As we left the restaurant, full and satisfied and happy, we had yet another reason to celebrate: the miserable rain had stopped, the clouds had been pushed away, and the sun was shining brightly. Atlas had done its job, deftly navigating us towards food nirvana.
The Bitches say: A. Overall, the Atlas Room was a delightful experience. The H Street corridor is booming with new culinary options, and while a lot of these places must be highly commended for their efforts and offerings, the Atlas Room succeeds at creating an inviting atmosphere to boot.
The Atlas Room
1015 H St. N.E.