I’m not quite sure where this summer has gone. As a Bitch, I’ve been severely slacking on brunching, fortunately not the boozing though. I was eager to finally be back in town after making questionable decisions while gallivanting in Europe. On this particularly hot and sticky Saturday afternoon, I met up with our super sweet Social Bitch, Annie, for some Bitch bonding over beers and brunch. Annie and I had both recently been on bachelorette trips for the respective brides in our lives so we had a number of stories to swap.
Over the years I’ve frequented Dacha with friends for happy hours and summer evenings. I was pumped to hear one of my favorite summer spots was beginning to serve brunch on weekends. Dacha Beer Garden is nestled right in the heart of Shaw—it’s notoriously recognized by the vibrant mural of Elizabeth Taylor. I’m sure by now you’ve probably seen that all over your Instagram feed. On any given day when it’s not raining, Dacha typically has a line wrapped around the establishment just to get inside. For a Saturday afternoon it was fairly empty but started to fill up as our meal progressed. We were able to seat ourselves pretty quickly but we recommend getting there early before it gets packed.
Dacha is set up like your standard beer garden with shared tables, schnitzel and an impressive list of beers on tap. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When you’re at a beer garden, indulge in the beer! Annie and I forwent mimosas and opted for the Stiegl Radler instead. The grapefruit radler was perfectly refreshing for a sizzling summer day and not too heavy for brunch. Dacha provides for a laid-back yet lively atmosphere for people of all ages including families with young children and dogs. We thoroughly enjoyed the doggy-dates around us.
We started with the home fries which were served piping hot with curry ketchup. The home fries were delicious and rather addicting. The curry was a nice accompaniment to your traditional ketchup.
Annie was intrigued by the chicken and waffle which came topped with bourbon maple syrup.
The schnitzel and waffle were decent and filling but forgettable. The schnitzel lacked real flavor. She noted that it was also too heavy and much too large to finish for how hot it was outside.
I had seen the Vegetable Frittata on the menu previously so I was disappointed to see it was no longer on the menu and my options were further limited as vegetarian. Our server was polite but prefaced that they were still working out some kinks with the new brunch offering. I decided to go with the Bullfrog Bagels sandwich. Everyone that knows me is aware that bagels, or as I refer to them “bae-gels,” are my weakness. We can all agree that the bagel scene in D.C. is lacking. I was raised in a magical suburb of New Jersey where bagels and schmear are not to be taken lightly.
Regardless of the fact that this was not a Jersey bagel, I was still looking forward to devouring the Bullfrog Bagels sandwich. It consisted of fried egg and gruyere on an everything bagel. I was disappointed to see my bagel sandwich sans baby arugula and caramelized onion as the menu promised. The egg and cheese bagel was fairly standard but would have been more flavorful if the ingredients were not missing.
Lastly, I was curious to try the popular Republic Kolache, especially since I had just gotten back from Prague. We were disappointed even further that the Texas-style Czech pastry we ordered during the beginning of our meal didn’t come out at all but were still charged for it. Prices are reasonable but the menu offerings and service need to be tweaked further.
The Bitches say: B- The radler did not disappoint, however brunch isn’t a total knock out. We still enjoy the lively ambiance that Dacha provides. Dacha is solid choice for large groups and we appreciate how family and dog-friendly it is.
Dacha Beer Garden serves weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (202) 350-9888