A note from the Bitches: this restaurant is now closed. It’s been rebranded to Pinea.
I’m quite fond of the W Hotel; we’ve had a great few years together, as the hotel opened right around the time I arrived in Washington. I have attended many amazing parties at the W, from book signings to Apres Ski parties and more. We loved brunch at the POV rooftop, though we heard later that the quality had declined.
I decided to ask my friend Will, with whom I bonded over our shared love of travel, tennis, and a propensity for cheeky T-shirts. But, most importantly, as Will likes to say, we have the two best website names around, as Will is the founder of Fuzzy Yellow Balls, an online tennis instruction website that’s wildly successful. So much so that he was even featured in Forbes.
Will took me to the U.S. Open (his expertise), so I returned the favor by asking him to brunch (my expertise). I think I got the better deal.
Will’s response to my invitation was nearly immediate—entrepreneurs tend to be super responsive to email. “When an expert invites you to see them in action, how can you say no?” he replied.
The best thing about brunch at J&G Steakhouse is the start: A rolling champagne cart arrives alongside your table, complete with oodles of champagne and fresh juices allowing you to order and curate the mimosa, bellini, or champagne cocktail of your choosing. I opted for a raspberry champagne cocktail, which was sweet, fresh, and frothy.
A man’s man, Will chose a Bloody Mary. The Bloody was served with a lime and an olive, and packed a lot of spice and flavor without being overly thick.
As I have always been fond of the bread basket and fruit plate in past brunches at J&G, I instantly ordered both to see how they would fare up against brunches past. The fruit plate was still impressive: an enormous plate of fresh slices of pineapple, cantaloupe, and honeydew as well as raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries.
However, the pastries were kind of dry and lackluster. As the bread basket tops $15, you’re likely to expect perfection. The basket included mini versions of a chocolate croissant, a cream cheese croissant, a regular croissant, a cranberry muffin, and a blueberry muffin.
The crab cake appetizer was by far and away the most spectacular part of the meal, but alas there was only one cake, a fact I find rather chintzy. It was a rich, fresh, jumbo lump crab cake seated on a bed of apple jicama coleslaw. I eat a lot of crab cakes, and this one was memorable and delicious.
Per the Bitch rules, the guests select first and no bruncher can order the same entree. Unfortunately, Will selected the dish I wanted—the salmon Eggs Benedict. The Hollandaise was really lovely, the salmon fresh, and the eggs perfectly poached.
The Benny was sitting atop a rather thick style of bread, however, and it just seems that J&G’s kitchen needs to work on the pastries. The Benny was served with sides of enormous thick, crispy side potatoes and a cherry tomato salad.
As for my entree, I selected the wild forest mushroom quiche, which I was very excited about. However, the dish was overdone and very dry. Similarly, the side salad was lackluster and nothing memorable.
As for the service, it was just odd, with lots of ebbs and flows of attentiveness. The restaurant didn’t have our reservation, and it was difficult to locate a hostess to check in. Our server was over-attentive at many instances, but then missing in action when we required something like ketchup or the bill.
As he’s a tennis pro and clever commentator, Will’s response to my requested feedback on his brunch cuisine centered more on the style, behavior, and etiquette of brunching with a Bitch.
“A few times I had to catch myself, with fork and knife hovering over my food, from digging in before Cori Sue was able to snap some pics,” he wrote. “Apparently, that can land you on the brunch invite blacklist.”
So true, ladies and gents; keep your paws off your forks and knives until the photography has been completed and the Bitching has come to a halt.
“A discovery I made when Cori Sue was showing me pictures on her iPhone: 95 percent of them are pictures of food, the other 5 percent are selfies.”
Will has sold me out, I’m afraid.
The Bitch & Bro Who Brunch say: B-. This is a classy, fancy pants establishment that’s great for out of town guests and entertaining clients. However, some of the menu items need finessing and the service could be more coordinated.
515 15th St. N.W.