Certain foods are acquired tastes. It takes time to appreciate them, and some people never come around. I’ve always been an adventurous eater, there are only a few foods I won’t eat. Oddly enough, the acquired tastes I developed in my twenties—olives, oysters, and sparkling water—are three of my favorite things.
I spent the summer sipping rosé and slurping oysters on the patios of Le Diplomate and Hank’s. Oyster Riot is my favorite party of the year. So, naturally, I was thrilled when mastermind mixologist Derek Brown opened Eat the Rich in Shaw, my very favorite Washington neighborhood at present.
I fell in love with Eat the Rich as the perfect spot for a light ladies’ night dinner: oysters, prosecco, and salads. When I first dined at Eat the Rich, I had started paleo and both my dining partners were gluten-free. The menu provided plenty of options and didn’t make us feel as if we were going without.
The scene at brunch is similar to dinner—a great, chill vibe and a similar menu. At brunch I was joined by Adrienne, my college sorority sister and sophomore year roommate; Edie, who I played soccer with in high school; and Emil, our Twitterpated Peruvian pal who is a regular at Bitch brunches. Emil brought his lovely new lady, Ashley, who we decided will now replace him at Bitch brunches (Sorry, Emil, she was better dressed.)
Naturally, we began with cocktails, and Eat the Rich offers bottomless mimosas. Adrienne, who was suffering through a hangover that morning, enjoyed the fresh, bubbly mimosa as hair of the dog. As for the food, the brunch menu, like the dinner menu, is sparse but well curated. We actually sampled nearly everything on the menu.
We began, of course, with oysters and clams. Edie ordered a dozen Rappahannocks for herself, making it clear that she wouldn’t be sharing. Adrienne and I ordered a second dozen to split, and Emil opted for clams, of which no one wanted to share. I love oysters, but I struggle to bring myself around to clams.
After oysters, we brunchers all ordered the same salads off the dinner menu, and the dishes were met with similar rave reviews.
The Cauliflower Polonaise recalls a level of excitement that is entirely unbelievable when you realize you’re ever so thrilled about cauliflower. The multicolored cauliflower are dressed in a brown butter and lemon sauce, served with a crumbled boiled egg and topped with toasted bread crumbs. I chose to nix the bread crumbs to make it gluten-free. It was delicious, and everyone at the table shared my excitement.
The second salad we sampled is also on the dinner menu, and also gluten- and dairy-free. The beets and greens salad was an enormous bowl of sliced, roasted beets, winter lettuces and toasted Marcona olives tossed in a Meyer lemon dressing. It was a large, hearty salad that was great for sharing.
Adrienne and I shared the Grand Chesapeake Boil for Two, a delicious stew of clams, scallops, shrimp, smoked pork garlic sausage, new potatoes, cauliflower, and coddled eggs piled to the brim on a long, rectangular serving plate. It was served with a side of hot, crispy white grilled bread and aioli. The bread was delicious—and helped Adrienne’s hangover immensely.
The table ordered two rounds of Fleece & Beans, which was lamb shank, lamb sausage, black-eyed peas, and turnips simmered in a red sauce.
The soft boiled hen egg was the most unique dish at the table. Still inside its shell, the soft-boiled egg was served in a shot glass and topped with a raw oyster, with toast points alongside.
Emil brought Ashley to Eat the Rich, despite the fact that the poor girl doesn’t like seafood. I wasn’t sure what surprised me more: that she didn’t enjoy seafood or that she had decided to attend regardless. She settled on a veggie omelet, which she enjoyed.
I pushed dessert, of which there were two options. We selected the Pear Grunt, small cup of honey and vanilla stewed bosc pears and cranberries, topped with fresh whipped cream and a buckwheat biscuit.
Breaking into the slightly hard buckwheat biscuit was a bit of a challenge, as when you pushed into it with your spoon, the honey vanilla syrup overflowed out of the cup. I brazenly jabbed at the biscuit, eventually breaking it into chunks and leaving us free to grab bites. The dessert was perfect, satisfying, hearty and fresh without being too sweet. It was unique, in keeping with the rest of the culinary offerings at Eat the Rich.
The brunchers were stuffed, buzzed, and happy, basking in the sunshine on a warm winter day. Happy brunchers, we were.
The Bitches say: A. Unique dishes, great wine, cocktails, and mimosas, and delicious, fresh seafood. We wish there were a few more menu options, is all.
Eat The Rich
1839 7th St. N.W.
Eat the Rich serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays.