Sometimes you just gotta get out of your own way. In an effort to break out of my downtown D.C. rut, we headed out to Silver Spring for the afternoon. We didn’t have much expectations given the office building vibes around All Set, but the restaurant is an oasis.
All Set is a chic restaurant with a nautical, New England theme. The dividers made of sailors knots, the navy-and-white accented booths, and the braided line chandeliers, make it enticing for you to cozy up for a seaside inspired brunch.
We tucked into a corner booth and observed our fellow diners. We saw young couples on brunch dates, families celebrating a birthday, and a pair of older ladies making time to catch up with girlfriends. Clearly, this is a spot for all ages, which we can appreciate.
After quickly ordering waters and Chai teas, we looked over the cocktail menu. All Set offers a selection of New England-brewed beers, bottomless mimosas, and an array of fun cocktails with nautical themes and Boston references, like “The T” and “Julian EdelRum Runner.” These made my Masshole heart happy.
We tried the Breakfast Time, made with spiced rum, lemon, Maple syrup, and Greek yogurt. Intrigued by the yogurt additive, our waitress informed us that it adds a bit of froth. This drink was sweet and quite rum heavy. We didn’t quite get the yogurt froth, but we appreciated the creativity.
I couldn’t resist the Green Monster, concocted with Cava, lemon, lavender syrup, matcha, and Boston “bittahs.” The green matcha gave a strong kick to the bubbles and all the notes blended nicely. This was definitely one of the best brunch cocktails I’ve had this year. It was an unexpected combination that went down easily.
As we looked over the food options, there wasn’t much that screamed New England. Apart from a lobster roll and a fried cod sandwich, nothing really stood out in the seafood category. The nautical theme veered south with a shrimp & polenta dish, as well as the chicken & biscuits. Perhaps more of an emphasis on a fusion with Maryland shore favorites would have been more appropriate, given the crab cake Benedict and touches of Old Bay on various items.
To start, we agreed upon the Sriracha cheddar biscuits and cinnamon sugar bombs. These biscuits were a hit. Moist and perfectly portioned, they had kick of hot Sriracha, which had a nice juxtaposition with the sharp cheese. The bombs were classic doughnut holes, loaded with the sweet cinnamon sugar, both inside and out. I made the mistake of popping one in my mouth whole; which made me gag like I was doing the Cinnamon Challenge, so I recommend taking your time with these.
To satisfy our sweet cravings, we tried the blueberry pancakes. These thin flapjacks were beautifully presented, topped with macerated blueberries and whipped cream. They were your classic pancakes, and the toppings not cloyingly sweet, which we appreciated.
The classic eggs Benedict was just that—classic. The Benny had Canadian bacon, Hollandaise, and a perfectly poached eggs on an English muffin and was unremarkable. The side of home fries left much to be desired.
Having grown up on the Atlantic, I have high standards for lobster rolls. The bun must be a perfectly buttered, toasted hot dog roll in true New England style. This one passed that test. And while the lobster was not the freshest I’ve ever had, I appreciate that they did not skimp on the lobster meat, and only added scallion and mayo to the lobster salad. This traditional roll was accompanied by yummy, house cut fries. The dish certainly passed muster.
In need of a sweet finish, we order the apple crisp with salted caramel ice cream on top. The ice cream melted quickly over this delicious, warm pie, and crunchy crumble. We enjoyed our last few bites as we people watched before heading out.
The Bitches Say: B+. All Set pays homage to New England in a chic nautical themed restaurant. It gets top marks for inventive brunch cocktails, but could be more consistent to theme by getting creative with seafood on the menu.
8630 Fenton St.
Silver Spring, MD 20910