After Cori Sue nearly snapped her poor little legs running the Marine Corps Marathon, we hosted a post-race brunch celebration (she’s still alive!) in her honor at The Beacon Bar & Grill. We chose The Beacon because we had been there once before (pre-Bitching) for a rather large and flamboyant birthday brunch. The back room is easily reserved for such an event.
(For that particular brunch, back in early 2009, about 25 of our dearest gay friends had commandeered the back room, ordered mimosas by the dozens-o’-pitchers, stuffed themselves silly, and then danced around and spanked the birthday boy with a ruler. I kid you not … It was a stinkin’ fabulous time.)
You’d like to think a $30 bottomless buffet is a good deal in D.C. Because, well, the price is right. Right? I guess all those mimosas must have clouded my memory, because I remember the brunch being not grand, but certainly a decent enough deal. Or perhaps I’m just a spoiled bitch these days. Because, this time, I seriously wanted to gag.
One of our Bitches, Josh, begs to differ. Here we present our argument …
Becca: I’m sorry. But the buffet food is barely edible. There are stations: bread products, a row of salads, a longer row of cooked things in heated containers, the made-to-order omelet station, and then a big table of dessert in the middle of the room. I circled. And circled some more. And I ended up with this: tomatoes and mozzarella balls (slimy), a waffle (overcooked), and a slice of cake (totally dry). And that’s because I tried to pick off the best – I didn’t think I could stomach any of the other cooked food.
Josh: While I agree that a few dishes (the blood orange chicken in particular) were sub-par, I had two full plates and enjoyed them both. The biscuits and sausage gravy were amazing! Further, Beacon has the added bonus of having quite literally something for everyone. Even your vegan friends can enjoy loads of booze while us meatasauruses chow down. What might have impacted your perception was the timing (which is NO excuse I know), but when you sit there with an hour before you, the food looks great. As a former server, one of the pitfalls of the buffet is the trouble of how to keep things looking fresh. Beacon doesn’t get a pass on this, but that may help explain what happened in this particular instance.
Becca: When I opened the container of bacon I was overwhelmed by a stench not unlike formaldehyde. Am I in 6th grade science class? No? Am I really supposed to eat this bacon? Zomg. The fruit and salads were fresh (if not bizarre), but that didn’t really make up for the rest of it. The breakfast potatoes were overcooked, the fish looked like it had been sitting there for days, and the shepherd’s pie … wait a minute, shepard’s pie? What the fuck?
Josh: I can say that I tried the Shrimp Diablo, the Voodoo Catfish and the Black Linguine with Scallops, and they were all quite good. But if there was a weak link, I would say it was the Catfish. I appreciate how on Halloween they tried to do a themed menu for us. I only had carrot cake for dessert, and I did get a waffle but in all honesty I smothered that thing with fruit and whipped cream so I’m not sure I would know if it was overcooked.
Becca: I had some of the carved ham, which was basically carved ham fat. I wanted eggs, but there were no eggs to be found in the buffet. And I didn’t get an omelet because the line was long and the cooks looked rather grumpy. So I gave up and just drank mimosas (do NOT order the Bloody Mary).
Josh: Eggs are yummy for me but not for anyone around me after so I did not do the omelet station either. One other high note: the blintzes … yum. Agree 100% with the assessment on the drinks. Again, I know how hard it is to stock bottomless bloody marys versus mimosas. A mimosa requires anyone nearby to pour OJ and sparkling wine into a glass. The bloody mary, on the other hand, is a drink that really needs a bartender’s touch. They’re not easy. Too much tomato juice and you’ve got V8, and too much vodka and you have, well, vodka. Theirs was vodka. I get that having servers make bloody marys is not the same as a bartender, especially on the run, but maybe do a training class one week on how to make a bloody mary. Old Angler’s Inn just last Sunday made me an absolutely perfect bloody mary, and the boyfriend and I agreed it was like a completely different cocktail than the Beacon served.
Becca: I felt kind of awful because we had reserved the back room and therefore invited all the people who we can’t usually squeeze in for brunch on Sundays. So, it should have been a fab, massive celebration. Instead, I was in and out as fast as I could be (mind you, we were stuck in marathon-road-closure-traffic for over an hour on the way there). Cori Sue seemed to enjoy it. However, I blame that on the fact that she just ran 26 miles and was in a post-marathon daze.
Becca says: D- for inedible buffet food, bad service, and shit Bloody Marys. It’s not an F because they can fit ridiculously large brunch parties, and their bottomless drinks are indeed bottomless (and that deserves some respect, at least).
Josh says: B-. Nothing blew me away, but it was more than enough to leave me walking out ready to pop. They did accommodate our group well, and it’s worth pointing out that our group arrived somewhere between on time and 90 minutes late depending on traffic, which they were very nice about on a busy Sunday morning. If you want to nibble away and down countless mimosas, there are worse places to go and for $31. I had two huge plates of food and four or five drinks. The company was of course A+, as it had been entirely too long since I had seen the loverly Miss Becca.
The Beacon Bar & Grill
1615 Rhode Island Avenue, Northwest
Washington, DC 20036