I know the norm is to ooh and ahh whenever you see a photo of a “freakshake” or pizza loaded with macaroni and cheese on Instagram. But I must admit, trendy foods do nothing for me except trigger fears of cavities and heartburn until the end of time. That all changed when I first locked eyes with the “schnapsicle.”
An ice cold schnapps-flavored popsicle swimming inside a pool of champagne made me long for summer days spent poolside drinking endless glasses of the millennial-inspired cocktail. Stable on H. Street NE didn’t have a pool for me to cool off in, but from now until the end of summer, they have schnapsicles for you to drink to your heart’s content.
Self-proclaimed as D.C.’s only Swiss-American restaurant, Stable prides itself on bringing that recognizable European taste stateside. When they invited the Bitches to return for a schnapsicles tasting and an updated brunch experience, we gladly accepted the offer.
Beaming with natural light and smelling of fresh baked goods, you can’t help but smile when you walk into Stable. The staff is friendly, the ambiance is charming and their open kitchen concept is delightful. Upon our arrival, Adam and I were greeted by Silvan, the general manager. After exchanging pleasantries with executive chef David, we wasted zero time on our quest for schnapsicle paradise.
Accepting the recommendation from our server, I started with the raspberry schnapsicle, which sits in a glass of sparkling rosé. It was everything I expected and more. Sweet, but not off-putting and a healthy mix of both the treat and the rosé with each sip. It melts quickly and when it does, results in a tart, slush-like consistency.
Silvan brought out their signature bread basket with homemade butter and strawberry jam for us to snack on while our main courses were being prepared. Keeping with their promise to deliver on traditional Swiss fare, Silvan insisted we try cheese that was flown all the way from where David was raised in central Switzerland. As if that wasn’t decadent enough, we also tried Berliner, which are homemade Swiss doughnuts filled with strawberry jam.
In short, we loved everything. Bread baskets, which I try to avoid during brunch, were too good to pass up here. You can tell David and his team have carefully arranged a spread that doesn’t overpower your taste buds so early into your meal. The Berliner dough was not too sweet, which allowed the filling’s natural sweetness to shine. The cheese was legendary. The flavor is mild, nut-like and resistant to the teeth, with a smooth/slick grain. Depending on how your buds react, your aftertaste could either be sweet or savory.
Adam didn’t follow my lead with the schnapsicle (yet), and started his afternoon off with the “immune booster” comprised of bourbon, rose hip, lemon juice, and Trimbach raspberry, which is a liqueur. You’ll enjoy this drink even if you’re not a fan of bourbon. The rose hip and lemon juice exude floral notes, making the cocktail appropriate for brunch.
Up next came our trio of entrées: first up were fondue grilled cheeses! Stable’s fondue blend was sandwiched between two thick pieces of homemade bread and was the comfort food my body was craving. The cheese was smooth, perfectly melted and this time mildly tasted of fresh pepper. The bread was buttery, toasty, and – unlike my attempt at making grilled cheese at home – didn’t become rock hard moments after being served.
I wasn’t familiar with “Berner Rösti” before dining at Stable, and now I can’t believe I’ve gone nearly three decades without ever trying it. Potatoes, onion, bacon, and Gruyère cheese are all baked together and topped with a fried egg. Our potatoes were especially crispy, but I didn’t have any complaints. Chef David layered everything with care and despite a myriad of ingredients, the slight caramelization of the onion and the saltiness of the cheese was apparent. When you broke into the egg’s yolk, you could improvise a sauce with the Gruyère, which is exactly what I feel the dish needed.
Our final course was the Zopf French toast. Remember the challah that came in our bread basket? Chef David uses the exact same bread to make this dish. The slices are tossed in a generous coating of cinnamon sugar and served alongside a homemade apple compote. I’m a not a fan of maple syrup, so I’m glad chef included the compote. I imagine they went light on the actual batter, because the cinnamon sugar blend was especially crispy. Another impressive feature was how chef manipulated the texture of the toast. While our earlier challah was dense, this was especially most when you cut into the bread but still maintained their overall shape.
Halfway through our main course, Silvan brought out another round of drinks: Hugo and Strandband. The former combines elderflower liquor, mint and Simonet Blanc de Blanc wine. The latter is made up of homemade watermelon vodka, Lillet rosé, lemon verbena, and watermelon juice. If this is how drinks are made in Switzerland, it might be time for me to book a flight overseas. The proportions were impeccable and the presentation even better. Even though the schnapsicle will be making its exit at the end of the summer, we can take solace in knowing that on future visits, we can rely on these two to quench our thirst.
The Bitches say: five Champagne flutes
Our second visit was just as incredible as our first. Even in the midst of their success, it’s refreshing to know Stable hasn’t lost the appeal that led to its well-deserved fame.
Stable serves brunch Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.