A note from the Bitches: this restaurant is now closed. It’s now Via Umbria.
Puro Café, nestled on upper Wisconsin in Georgetown, came across as an undiscovered gem. The Web site is pretty snazzy—the photos of the patio look fabulous and the spot was giving away a European vibe, more like a café you’d find in Miami. In short, I was dying to try it when the weather warmed up. Upon arrival, it was anything but the spectacular location I had envisioned.
When we arrived, it was entirely empty. The inside, which may have a cool European club feel after nightfall, looked cheesy during the day. We were led to the patio through a hallway past brooms and other discarded wares. The patio has canopies, gazebos, and outdoor lounge-style seating in whites and beiges that looked oh-so-chic on the Web site. In reality, everything was stained, dirty, haphazardly disorganized, and poorly taken care of. I was embarrassed and concerned about what our guests would think.
Aaron, one of our three Texan guests brunching that morning, says “The patio had a lot of potential but wasn’t kept up very well. It had almost a resort style feel to it, very relaxed with huge trees towering over the whole patio. I think the patio could be a very nice part of the restaurant if it was kept up a little better.”
Upon perusal of the menu, it seems that Puro offers more coffee options—gourmet espresso concoctions of all sorts—than brunch options. Brittney, who was hoping for pancakes or waffles this morning, but found there were none, says “I chose the nuttelini—a latte with nutela—to compensate as the sweet part of my brunch. And, it was amazing. I was worried that it would be too sweet but it was the perfect creamy balance.”
The rest of the gang also opted for espresso beverages, nutellinis, mocachinos, cappuccinos—and we all agree this is a great place to go for coffee. Likewise, my orange juice was fresh squeezed and delicious. It seems like the one thing Puro gets right is the beverages.
For brunch, the cuisine was, for the most part, good, but the there seemed to be something missing in every dish.
Brittney opted for the ham and cheese omelet, which she described as ordinary and under-seasoned, adding “If there was cheese in it, I certainly couldn’t taste it.”
Two gentlemen at the table each had the salmon and egg flatbread—one with poached eggs and one with scrambled. Trent, who opted for the poached version, says:
“Being that my favorite brunch dish is a bagel and lox, I was really anticipating this one. The dish came out served on a rectangular wood board, which I had to place in my lap because the table was at my ankles (the perils of outdoor dining). I was a huge fan of this dish as it was served on perfectly cooked flatbread with two perfectly cooked poached eggs. The only thing that was missing from it was, well, the salmon. Don’t get me wrong, it was there, just not as much as I wanted. Rather than larger slices of salmon, it was almost diced into quarter sized bits which sometimes made it difficult to taste one on every bite, but when I did, it was outstanding. I don’t know if it is because I’m used to not being able to see the bread at other restaurants due to the salmon’s obvious presence, but I just wanted more of it.”
Similarly, when my asparagus and mushroom quiche, served with a side salad, arrived, beau remarked, “That salad looks yummy, too bad they only gave you two bites.” The quiche was, however, delicious—a fluffy, flakey pastry filled with whole mushrooms, sliced asparagus, hot egg, and a healthy dose of pepper and seasoning.
The service at Puro was good, but it should be, because the restaurant was practically empty. And, clearly, they’re not working too hard on the off-hours, judging by the unkempt and filthy patio.
The Bitches and the Texas Brunch Bunch say: C-. For the love of God, clean the damn patio—it’s ruining your restaurant. (You’re lucky we didn’t fail you). Expand the brunch menu and the portion sizes. But, please, don’t change anything about those delicious espresso drinks.
In sum, says Aaron: If you’re in the mood for some great coffee, then try this spot out. If you’re looking for brunch, this place is worth a shot but don’t expect anything great.”
1529 Wisconsin Ave. N.W.