There’s no shortage of fried chicken in D.C. This is one of our blessings for living south of the Mason Dixon line. However, no one does fried chicken quite like Crisp.
The restaurant and bar occupies a converted townhouse in Bloomingdale. The team, lead by Jamie Hess, took a no-frills approach when it came to the ambiance and menu. Crisp doesn’t pretend to be a white-tablecloth-bottomless-mimosas-stay-for-the-afternoon kind of brunch experience, its clear by the paper cartons on each table filled with yellow mustard and hot sauce. Even the menu touts “breakfast,” not brunch.
It was an unseasonably warm spring day, so naturally we wanted to spend it perched on a patio, recovering from the night before. We loved the small, neighborhood feel of the restaurant, complete with dogs sunbathing on the patio.
Although you can find cereal, avocado toast, and a country egg breakfast on the menu, we didn’t venture to Crisp for said entrees. We came for the fried chicken. So, we ordered what we felt were the non-negotiables (with a little guidance from our waitress): the OG chicken sandwich, the chicken and waffles, and the biscuits and gravy. We contemplated ordering the old school hot cakes, but couldn’t pull the trigger, as we’re a group who prefers savory versus sweet dishes. As such, we needed a side of cheesy grits to complete the Southern experience.
All three fried chicken dishes came out at once and our faces lit up like the heart-eyed emoji. Frankly, we didn’t know where to start. The fried chicken and waffles was definitely the easiest to tackle, so I dug right in. The waffles were so moist they tasted like cornbread cake, which was the perfect palate cleanser to the spicy Nashville fried chicken. Crisp has perfected what I like to call the fried chicken trifecta – chunky, juicy, and perfectly crispy (duh). The apple compote in the middle of the waffle was the alternative to syrup, which was refreshing and not overbearingly sweet.
The biscuits and gravy plate was enormous. You essentially had to eat this as an open-faced sandwich. The gravy was hearty and the biscuits were flaky, and again, the fried chicken did not disappoint. It’s best to share this plate with someone, especially if you’re dining outside, as it was heavy. The bed of arugula was a nice touch, but let’s be real, we weren’t here for the salads.
The OG chicken sandwich comes with Nashville hot chicken and within minutes earned one of my favorite brunch bites in D.C. this year. We agreed that the fried chicken kick was a clean spicy, not one that annihilates your palate and ruins the rest of the meal. The pickles, onions, and yellow mustard were reminiscent of a classic burger, but with fried chicken. And you can’t beat that.
Just when we thought we couldn’t bear another bite, this Acme Pie Co. beaut arrives at our table compliments of the chef. It had a filling like a key lime pie. A few bites served as the perfect ending to a gluttonous meal.
Crisp is the place where you go with your best friend for a cheat meal, also known as Saturday for us. Or you take your boyfriend, that you’ve been dating for a long time, because you will be a hot mess by the time you’re done with any of the fried chicken entrees. And he will love you for it.
The Bitches say: B. If you’re looking for a delicious, but casual neighborhood breakfast spot, or just jonesing for some of the best fried chicken in D.C., Crisp delivers.
Crisp Kitchen and Bar
1837 First St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001
Crisp Kitchen and Bar serves breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.