It’s taken me more than a month to write about brunch at The Source. The restaurant’s Saturday dim sum brunch is a feast for the senses—taking your palate on an unforgettable journey. It is, by far and away, a dining experience.
Let’s get a few minor details out of the way before we get to the food, shall we? First, I brought an Asian cuisine connoisseur, my mother, who further vouched for the legitimacy of The Source’s dim sum brunch. Secondly, this brunch was complimentary, as we were invited by the PR folks who handle The Source. However, I would be happy to pay a pretty penny for this brunch.
In typical fashion, Cindy Sue and I began with cocktails: a Pimm’s Cup for her and a pear bellini for me. The cocktails provided the trifecta we all so desire—strong, pretty and packed with flavor. I could drink those bellinis, made with Domaine Chandon and pear puree blended together into light, sweet perfection, all day long.
I was slightly overwhelmed by the tasting menu. The Source allows you to try five or eight plates, for $30 and $40 respectively, from the 25 dishes on the dim sum menu. While traditional dim sum places bring the plates out on carts, at The Source, an army of waiters bring the dishes to your table as they are prepared.
As the waiters assaulted our table with an endless array of adorable heavenly little dishes, I scribbled copious notes on my ordering card as my mother sipped on her second Pimm’s between ladylike grunts of content.
As may be expected, the dumplings and the noodles were the most spectacular components of the brunch. Mother had the Szechuan “Dan Dan” dumplings, filled with organic chicken and peanut sauce. We also sampled the crystal chive dumplings, which were round little patties of king crab surrounded by thin, crispy rice paper and sitting in a delicious, sweet sauce.
My favorite dumpling was the wild field mushroom dumpling, a moist melt-in-your mouth dumplings covered in a ginger mushroom broth and served with dandelion greens.
The lobster & shrimp spring rolls were a challenge to eat—extremely crispy (deep fried) and chewy (stuffed full of fresh lobster and shrimp and no vegetables). Despite this, they were devoured.
Mother had the chinois-style chicken salad, served with mustard dressing and candied cashews. She described it as “excellent but not inspiring,” as we were overwhelmed by so many other amazing plates on the table.
I had similar sentiments about the turnip cakes, which were bland in flavor (as is the nature of a turnip), but topped with dandelion greens and a fiery brown sauce that really spiced things up (pun intended).
The Chinese sausage fried rice, filled with cucumbers, onions, peppers and sausage, arrived topped with a poached egg, providing a unique twist on the the typical run-of-the-mill chicken fried rice.
In addition to the dumplings, the noodles at The Source were presented in several dishes: the Shanghai noodles and the Chow Feung, a spicy, crunchy rock shrimp dish. These little noodles were thick, soft and generally amazing—unlike anything I’ve had before. I wanted more and more of these yummy little noodles, despite being so full; you really must try them to see for yourself.
I sampled two more traditional brunch dishes: the Maryland crab cake Benedict and the Maine lobster club. The miniature Benny was perfectly done in the typical brunch manner—a poached egg and a fresh crab cake perched atop a correctly toasted muffin. Definitely one of the better Benny’s I’ve had, and I love that it’s miniature, which allows you more room to try other things.
The restaurant was kind enough to hold the bacon vinaigrette on the Lobster Club, replacing it with a creamy mayonnaise-style sauce. The small sandwich came served on crispy cranberry walnut bread and filled with chunks of lobster, mixed greens and cherry tomatoes.
Now, Asian cuisine does not typically come with the best dessert. The chocolate balls were better than I anticipated, as the thought of sesame seeds with chocolate did not appeal to me when I read the menu. However, the dessert worth trying was the tangerine sorbet, which came served on an orange in the most adorable manner. It was light, fresh and a perfect conclusion to a long meal.
The Bitches say: A+. The ambiance and service at The Source are a class-act and the food a welcome, divine departure from your typical brunch.
If you brunch at the Source, here are the five dishes I recommend:
– Chow Feung,
– Wild Field Mushroom Dumpling,
– Szechuan “Dan Dan” Dumpling,
– Maine Lobster Club, and
– Tangerine sorbet.
Lastly, we skipped several impressive dishes that may make your carnivorous mouths water, including the Kobe Beef Hash, the Pork Banh Mi, and the Duck Bao Buns.
The Source by Wolfgang Puck
575 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.