Michel Richard’s Central is somewhat of a D.C. institution. Situated right on Pennsylvania Avenue, across from the
Old Post Office Trump Tower, it’s one of those restaurants that you frequent when you first move to the District.
But since those early days, Central has remained a steadfast, go-to, fancy-pants dinner spot for visiting parents or second dates. It’s just so convenient to all the touristy sites and galas in the Reagan Building.
But the classic American restaurant never served brunch. Until now.
Cori Sue and I recently hopped down to the restaurant for a Sunday afternoon of sunshine, eggs, and gossip. Central, we were thrilled to hear, is now offering a $25 three-course prix fixe brunch, with just $15 more for bottomless drinks.
For the quality of food and service you’re getting from a restaurant like Central—not to mention the glorious patio ambiance and people-watching right on Pennsylvania Avenue—it’s a steal.
To start, we ordered coffees and virgin Bloody Marys. Our server was prompt, efficient, and friendly. A basket of piping hot bread arrived on the table, with the beautiful, warm slices of Richard’s infamous French bread keeping warm in their napkin.
For the first course, we had the choice of five appetizers, from pancakes to organic steel-cut oatmeal. Cori Sue ordered the three-cream waffle, with extra berries, which was a picture-perfect dish. The waffles are perfection, and very sugary and tasty.
On the side of the waffles were three dollops of delicious cream: in vanilla, lemon, and lime flavors. The waffles were coated with a thin dust of powdered sugar, piled high with berries, and then the server, as the piece du resistance, poured a gorgeous syrupy caramel sauce over the entire dish. The dish was incredibly rich and sweet.
I ordered the creme brulee French toast, which sounded too interesting to pass up. It was like we both had dessert at the start of the meal, instead of the end. My appetizer was so very sweet and decadent, and rather hard to explain.
It was a round piece of French toast that had been bruleed on top. Set in a bed of sweet sauce, it was an interesting take on the dessert in that once you broke through that classic crusted top, you got delicious gooey french toast instead of creme. Perfection, and so unique.
The second course menu also offered five choices, from Eggs Benedict to shrimp and grits. Cori Sue ordered the steak and eggs, of course, being Paleo (well, except for that waffle, but let’s not talk about that). The steak was requested medium rare and the eggs fried over medium.
It was a gorgeous dish, the steak cooked perfectly, the eggs to her order placed right on top. It was served with a small pile of herb potatoes on the side, and a hot pour of steak sauce that I kept swiping from.
I ordered the croque madame, which arrives looking rather artistic, with the sandwich in one corner of the huge square plate, and a dish of greens on the opposite corner. It could be a painting.
The sandwich itself is not as enormous or overly fried or greasy as most of the croque madames I’ve tried, which I truly appreciated. It’s a bit more thin, still stacked with ham and amazing cheese, but pressed flat as if it were made like a grilled cheese sandwich.
On top, a fried egg, much like Cori Sue’s fried egg on her steak, a nice touch for the brunch dishes overall. The salad was the perfect amount of greens on the side, and tossed in a refreshing vinaigrette.
For dessert, there’s only one choice: a duo of sorbet, which is served in a bowl, looking rather colorful and beautiful, with a tiny macaroon perched atop. Like the other dishes, it’s artistically presented, but not overly complicated. It’s refreshing and sweet, the perfect end to a classic D.C. brunch. The macarons were chocolate hazelnut and the sorbets a tangerine and raspberry. While we preferred to eat them separately, we enjoyed all of the flavors.
The Bitches say: A. A solid fancy-pants brunch with non-fancy-pants prices.
Michel Richard’s Central
1001 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Michel Richard’s Central serves brunch on Sundays.
BitchBiz: Bitches Who Brunch partners with Central. While this article was written independently by Bitches Who Brunch, we do receive compensation from the company.