There’s just something about the Jefferson. The upscale, one-of-a-kind boutique hotel is a stone’s throw from the White House, regularly catering to celebrity and diplomatic guests.
The hotel is pristine—from the moment the doors open to reveal the golden gateway in the entryway to your arrival in the gorgeous, white marble, flower-laden atrium, The Greenhouse, you feel calm and luxurious. You’re also well taken care of, as a result of the exemplary hotel staff.
Inspired by its namesake, the hotel’s decor is Victorian, filled with Louis XVI style chairs, enormous, classic oil paintings, giant vases filled with French flowers, and old books and vintage chotckes like rotary phones and old lamps.
Next to Bloomingdales, the Jefferson may just be my happy place. I’ve hosted a private, holiday dinner in the wine room at the Jefferson, thrown a goodbye party on the patio, and enjoyed cocktails and a book with a beau in the cozy book room.
I frequently meet friends for cocktails at Quill, as I find the piano man, who plays nightly, entertaining and incredibly charming. I’ve even had a breakfast meeting in the Greenhouse, getting a peek at what brunch might be like. However, despite my proximity to and fondness for the Jefferson, I had never been to brunch.
I had been emailing with Meredith, the PR and marketing gal for the hotel, for something unrelated to brunch. We had been in contact via email for more than a year without meeting in person, so we decided our first face-to-face encounter should be over brunch. Naturally.
After you’ve received your beverages, the waiter immediately sets a lovely basket of fresh rolls of bread and warm, creamy butter on the table, taunting those of us trying to cut back on carbs. The mouth-watering warm rolls were a whole wheat topped with seeds and grains and a white, French bread roll.
Like most hotels, the Jefferson’s brunch menu provides a vast selection of staples: continental breakfasts, omelettes, egg dishes, cereal, oatmeal, Belgian waffles, and so on. There’s a general lack of creativity, with an emphasis on predicable, high-quality breakfast options that keep everybody happy. Such is the nature of a hotel brunch.
The menu did feature some of my favorite brunch options: Eggs Benedict, steak and eggs, and a classic French toast with fresh berries.
The entrees we selected were simple, healthy breakfasts dishes so the presentation was rather simple. I ordered the Greenhouse breakfast, two eggs any style, breakfast potatoes, roasted tomatoes, and bacon, country sausage, or turkey sausage, with your choice of toast.
I requested scrambled eggs, country sausage, and a side or fruit rather than toast. The eggs were good, and the roasted tomatoes a welcome touch. The sausage was absolutely delicious. Truly, it was ridiculously good, and sourced from a happy little pig out in Virginia, I’m told.
Meredith opted for the omelet, which was also served with potatoes, roasted tomatoes, your choice of fruit, and your choice of toast, and she selected a side of fruit as a substitute as well and opted to forgo the potatoes. The omelet was filled with spinach, mushrooms, onions, and cheese—again, a classic take on brunch.
The bowl of fruit was incredibly fresh and filled with a diverse assortment of blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, kiwi, oranges, honeydew (ack!) and pineapple. My only gripe is that I wish there had been a bit more fruit. Then again, it was the side of fruit rather than the plate of fruit—and I can never get enough fresh fruit in the morning.
While we behaved ourselves by forgoing the bread and ordering (and devouring) healthy entrees, Meredith and I could not resist the lemon ricotta pancakes. Because, who can resist gourmet pancakes? In a show of attentive service, the waiter split the order on to two plates, and the portions were perfect after a solid, healthy main course.
The thick pancakes were layered with ricotta and a dollop was also placed atop the stack. The saucer of lemon zest maple syrup added more lemon flavor without making the dish over zealous on the lemon zest.
The Bitches say: A-. The Jefferson is perfect for a traveler or local looking for a simple, classic breakfast in a stunning, calm environment with exemplary service.
1200 16th St. N.W.
The Greenhouse at the Jefferson serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays and breakfast all week long.