Just a few weeks after a fantastic week-long getaway to Nantucket, I was starting to experience those familiar pangs of missing the beach. Stuck in the city for the weekend, I decided the next best thing was to bring the beach to me. Luckily, Georgetown Events group (also behind Due South and Bayou on Penn among others) had already brought Nantucket standby Millie’s to Spring Valley earlier this year.
Like its sister restaurant, the menu here has plenty of recognizably New England influences, but the Spring Valley outpost adds a little mid-Atlantic flair. Nestled on the outskirts of the District near American University, Millie’s is a spacious, dog-friendly patio, full of picnic tables with shady umbrellas. The restaurant’s interior is considerably smaller but has a lovely bar and garage-style windows that retract on nice days. The New England seaside theme is pervasive, from the blue and white china to the whale tail hooks in the bathrooms.
But first, drinks. I strongly recommended the Blueberry Lemonade, made with 888 blueberry vodka, lemonade, and seltzer for my pal and brunch date, Langley. I’ve been known to knock back a few too many. They’re delicious, deceptively strong and go down dangerously easy.
The basic Bitch in me yearned for the frosé. Millie’s version is tart, but cool and refreshing. Looking around, I could definitely see myself spending a whole day drinking Cisco beers on this patio. The patio has a lovely community feel, and is family-friendly and accommodating of your pups.
The menu at Millie’s has an interesting mix of seafood, brunch staples, and more. We quickly decided on the yellowfin tuna poke to start. With ginger and soy marinated tuna with warm sticky rice, cucumber, nori, scallion, and sesame togarashi, this dish blew us away. D.C has seen a recent boom (and bust, TBH) of poke but this dish keeps it simple and flavorful.
We knew we needed to try the white queso and chips since Langley often laments a severe lack of white queso in the District. (Side note: Know where to find more? Holla at your girl.) It was delicious, albeit a weird choice at brunch.
The Muskeget lobster roll is served Maine style on a buttered toasted hot dog roll with Bibb lettuce, lemon, and chives. My one qualm was that it had a little too much lettuce, but otherwise it was a cool, overstuffed lobster roll that hit all the right notes. I appreciated the side of summer corn salad, which was light and a nice change of pace from french fries.
Steering us back to the brunch specials, we opted for the pancakes. These corn meal flapjacks with whipped butter, apricot preserves, and Vermont maple syrup were on point. The warm pancakes were thick and had a lovely texture. The toppings added the requisite sweetness.
We were nearly too full to function, but we couldn’t resist stopping by the walk-up ice cream window. Millie’s serves Gifford’s ice cream in an array of flavors. We recommend grabbing a cone of Maine blueberry or s’mores before heading out.
The Bitches say: A. All the reasons that have made Millie’s a Nantucket mainstay hold true for its Southern sister restaurant. It nails the light, coastal fare, in a welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere.
Millie’s DC serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (202) 733-5789