While I love a good Bitches brunch, I also appreciate a ladies lunch, particularly if it’s a power lunch. Downtown Washington has always had an array of upscale steak and seafood joints catering to stuffy old men in suits. However, the District’s dining scene has evolved in that we now have a wider diversity of restaurants, and we also have better, more unique steak houses. Case in point: Pennsylvania Six, a stylish, upscale outpost of a steak and seafood-centric restaurant with locations in Pennsylvania and New York.
I’ve dined at Penn 6 for brunch and dinner, and enjoyed both meals immensely. My first experience, dinner, was a raucous, wine-fueled evening with a large group on a cold winter’s night. We slurped down far too many oysters, ate way too much incredible steak, and threw back several bottles of wine. We ordered every dessert on the menu. Then, we rolled ourselves home after a long evening with fond feelings toward Penn 6.
My brunch experience at Penn 6 was delightful, as I loved the crudos, oysters, pastries, and Dutch Baby Pancake. But, it was the mimosa bar that won my heart—and garnered a nod in our 2016 Best & Worst Brunches.
I wanted to catch up with Morgan, the social butterfly behind As It Happens and DC Funemployment, an event-focused blog here in Washington and social media influencer in her own right. It was Friday, and we’d both had quite the week. So, we turned this ladies lunch right into a power bitch brunch with a few cocktails and some seriously creative, constructive chatter.
The menu at Penn 6 is divided into the raw bar, a few appetizers “for the table,” meats and cheeses, and then sandwiches, steaks, salads, and large plates.
The best option for the table is the lovely, fluffy fresh ricotta, prepared with olive oil, black pepper, and thyme in a mason jar. It’s served with crispy crostini, and orange-fig jam. Simply slather the ricotta and jam onto a crostini and bite, and your mood will improve immediately.
On previous meals at Penn 6, I’d sampled the crudos and the oysters, and I intended to enjoy these raw delights yet again at lunch. We ordered a half-dozen oysters, sampling a selection of East and West Coast. Morgan said she preferred the East Coast, so we ordered another half-dozen.
This was to be a well-deserved lunch of decadence and good conversation.
Now, for the crudos. Penn 6 offers three types of crudos, available separately or as a sampler. We highly recommend trying them all. The tuna crudo is topped with roasted peanuts, spicy watercress, and a Zuzu-Miso drizzle that added another layer of oil atop the already oily, delicious, fresh fish. The most memorable was the Kona Kampachi crudo, topped with a salsa verde, cumin salt, and gooseberries. You can’t go wrong with a perfectly fresh, oily white fish, and this was it.
The third crudo is a king fish, served with avocado, ginger, palm hearts, Serrano pepper, and a citrus ceviche sauce. While this is my least favorite crudo, it is a beautifully presented fresh dish of fish nonetheless. We devoured all three, and I must say they paired beautifully with my glass of Chablis.
We also ordered the yellowfin tuna tartare, which is one of my favorite tuna tartare in all my meals. (And, to be clear, I order tuna tartare any time it’s available.) Served in a tropical style, the tartare is topped with a Habanero aioli and a mango relish. The diced mango adds a delightful sweetness, and it tastes perfect heaped onto the accompanying plantain chips.
After working our way through oysters, crudos, and ricotta, we didn’t really need much else, but opted to order more and share—in the name of research. I simply love seafood, so I selected the new Louie salad, a classic seafood salad, dressed in a mayonnaise dressing and served over Bibb lettuce and crostini. I really appreciate that this salad was perfect for sharing as an appetizer: three individual helpings of salad atop a leaf of lettuce and a crostini. But, I appreciated the enormous chunks of lobster and scallops in the salad even more—along with the hearts of palm and shrimp. This Louie salad, paired with a crisp glass of white, is what lady lunch date dreams are made of.
Lastly, Morgan wanted a sandwich, so she went with the most inventive option on the menu. The Pork Banh Mi is an enormous sandwich on fluffy white bread. There’s pork, as well as quite a lot of pickled vegetables, jalapeño, cilantro, and the bread is slathered with spicy remoulade. It was served with heavenly duck fat fries, of which I stole many. Thanks, Miss Morgan!
We’d highly recommend heading over to Penn 6 for your next “work lunch.” In addition to all these options, the restaurant is now offering a lunch deal.
1350 Eye St. N.W.