A Note from the Bitches: We’re excited to introduce the newest member of our Washington, D.C., team, Amanda! Amanda, our D.C. Baby Bitch, is a native Washingtonian who prides herself on staying in the know on her hometown’s rapidly growing restaurant scene. If you don’t spot her at brunch, you can find her shopping as her primary means of cardio, binge-watching reality tv, or stalking the National Zoo Panda Cam. We absolutely love her wit and charm and we can’t wait for her to partake in more Bitching!
Finally the big day had arrived! On Saturday morning, I met Becca and Cori Sue for my first brunch as the official D.C. Baby Bitch. We decided to meet at Alphonse, the recently opened Italian restaurant and market from the owners of Biergarten Haus and Russia House. I arrived early, eager to start my new adventures in brunching, and was led past the glass cases of tempting Italian treats to a cozy booth next across from the bar. I was immediately charmed by the restaurant’s décor, which featured warm wood accents, leather booths, and red-and-white checkered table cloths. With the vintage décor and Frank Sinatra crooning over the speakers, I was transported to an old-time New York restaurant.
When my brunching partners arrived, we got down to the business of Bitching and ordering cocktails. Cori Sue opted for the mimosa, which was offered in either traditional orange or grapefruit juice, while Becca selected the Bloody Mary loaded with bacon. Lastly, I chose the Bellini, which had a welcome kick of bourbon.
Upon our server’s recommendation, we ordered the ricotta cheese and heirloom tomato salad appetizers. The ricotta was creamy with hints of mint and served with summer beans and the salad’s ripe heirlooms accompanied with house-made mozzarella and pesto celebrated the final days of summer.
Both dishes were impeccable: incredibly fresh vegetables, high-quality, rich cheese, for a flavorful, satisfying result.
The server also brought out a bowl of yogurt topped with crunchy granola and fresh berries, allowing us to pretend that we were being healthy.
I had difficulty choosing an entrée from the variety of crave-worthy brunch options but settled on the porchetta hash while Becca got the vegetable quiche and Cori Sue ordered her go-to steak and eggs. The hash was loaded with savory pork and well-spiced potatoes with a poached egg that gave way to creamy yolk when I broke into it.
Cori Sue was incredibly contented by her large portion of tender steak, cooked perfectly, and dressed in the most amazing sauce. Alongside the steak were two perfectly fried eggs.
Becca had a bit of order envy, being a bit let down by the quiche, commenting that it was a bland and could have used more vegetables. As another surprise, the server brought a margherita pizza that would satisfy any pizza snob with thin, chewy crust topped with mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. It’s up to par with some of the best New York pizzas.
Although we were all approaching our limits, we couldn’t resist the desert menu of traditional Italian favorites including cannoli, cheesecake, and tiramisu. We decided on the tiramisu, which was delightfully creamy and had a rich coffee flavor that led us all to proclaim it as some of the best we’ve had.
We all agreed that Alphonse was a welcome addition to the neighborhood that had all the makings of our new hangout for brunch, dinner, or drinks. Since Cori Sue and Becca were headed out to enjoy the late summer weather, I got the honors of taking home the leftovers from my inaugural brunch.
The Bitches say: A. A delightful atmosphere with comforting Italian food that would make for a great spot for many occasions, from a casual brunch to an intimate date night.
Alphonse Italian Market & Osteria
1212 U St. N.W.
Alphonse serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10-3.