It was one of the first crisp fall weekends and I had to dig deep in my wardrobe to find a suitable outfit for brunch. When exactly did it become sweater weather? I could have sworn just recently I was gallivanting in crop tops.
My roommate Haley and I were itching to get out of our never ending Uber ride. We were looking forward to spending a sunny afternoon in Navy Yard, and the anticipation was killing us. We didn’t realize the source of the traffic from Arlington to DC was stemming from a Nationals playoff game. I certainly felt the Natitude once we got to our destination.
I live with two lovely blonde bombshells, Kara and Haley. Since Kara is not a fan of Mexican brunch, Haley and I plotted to go while she was away for the weekend. As a proponent for all things spicy coupled with bottomless beverages, to me, a Mexican brunch is a no-brainer. Haley and I slept in and took a nice Sunday stroll around Yards Park before heading into Agua 301.
We were seated and greeted promptly by our server, Maria. We asked her about the brunch beverage offerings and she warned us the sangria might be too sweet for our tastebuds. We appreciated that Maria offered us a sample of sangria and mimosa before we ordered. Agua 301 offers bottomless sangria or mimosas for just an additional $14 or margaritas and bloody Marys for $17. We concurred with Maria’s sentiment about the sangria and stuck with mimosas. I was slightly horrified and could feel the sugar clinging to my teeth.
I refrained from digging into the chips and salsa brought to our table. I have a tendency of becoming full before my meal even arrives. Haley and I started with the queso fundido. Any time queso is on a menu, I gravitate towards it. What’s not to love about melted cheese and chilies? The queso fundido was baked with caramelized onions and served piping hot. It was flavorful to say the least. We especially liked that it was paired with warm tortilla to dip into instead of chips.
Agua 301 overlooks the Anacostia river and incorporates elements of water into their menu, with a modern Mexican flair. Haley and I sipped our mimosas and reveled in Reggaeton — a form of dance music that originated in Puerto Rico. While the restaurant wasn’t too lively, the music surely provided for a festive vibe.
Haley was captivated by the chilaquiles but was overwhelmed once she saw the portion size. She was also surprised to discover the chilaquiles was served more like nachos. While she enjoyed the scrambled egg and chorizo, she was disappointed in how soggy the dish was. The tortilla chips were likely dressed too quickly and stuck waiting in the kitchen.
After seeing the chilaquiles, I was a bit underwhelmed with the size of the huevos rancheros. The dish consisted of two crispy tortillas topped with fried eggs, refried beans, and avocado drizzled in a ranchero sauce. I certainly enjoyed the flavors but also shared her sentiment about the sogginess of the dish. As our brunch progressed, we noticed the mimosas became more clear with each round and light on the orange juice.
Considering it officially felt like autumn, we decided to try the pumpkin pancakes, especially as Maria recommended them. The golden stacks were spiced and served with ginger butter and chile-infused syrup. The pancakes were beyond scrumptious. As an added bonus, we were pleasantly surprised to find out they were made with whole wheat. We couldn’t get enough of the ginger butter and had to ask Maria for more. While all of our items weren’t a complete knockout, we think Agua 301 has the potential for greatness.
The Bitches say: B. For solid Mexican fare and bottomless beverages in a fun setting. We appreciated the knowledgeable service and festive tunes.
301 Water St SE
Washington, DC 20003
Agua 301 serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 am to 3 pm.