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AT HOME WITH TOP CHEF MIKE ISABELLA BRUNCH BREAKDOWN: A MINI GUIDE TO SUNDAY FEASTING FASHION: LOOKING POSH IN OLD TOWN ALEXANDRIA ON THE RED CARPET: CHANNING TATUM, JAMIE FOXX AND MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL


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A BRUNCH OF NEWBIES Seven newly debuted brunches east of Dupont to explore this summer B Y L A U R A WA I N M A N

ThisSpringsaw the opening of more than 50 area restaurants from del campo to b. too, azur and the red hen. That can only mean one thing: it’s time to get our brunch on. From Southern classics like chicken and wafes to outthere chicken livers and beef tongue, here are seven new brunches that Washington Life personally tested for you. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it. Daikaya (Photo by Daniel Swartz)

AMBAR ďš™thStďš’SEďš”!-"#-#!#%ďšš Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $35 “bottomless brunchâ€?

ORDER: Brioche French toast, oxtail gravy and biscuits, bacon. DRINK: Skip the bloody mary and opt for the prosecco-based mimosa. WE LOVED: The twist that the lemon biscuits added to the oxtail dish. The citrus cut the creaminess of the gravy and fat from the oxtail and the peppery radish sprouts gave the dish a nice kick. The bacon, ordered on the side, is a thing of beauty. The pork comes from a farm in Tennessee, but Beuchert’s cures and smokes it in-house for five to seven days before slicing it paper thin in an old-fashioned manual slicer. WANT TO TRY: Lamb prosciutto on potato latkes, beignets, breakfast sammie (roasted pork, cheddar, fried egg and latkes).

CAUSE ďš™"%*%thStďš’NWďš”!--!ďšš Sunday, noon-4 p.m. Entrees $9 to $16, “adult cerealsâ€? $10, bottomless bloody marys or mimosas $15 Cheese pie at Ambar (Photo by GORANFOTO)

Brunch is one of our favorite weekend pastimes, but a Balkan brunch was new to us. When Ambar announced it would be revamping its menu to include unlimited small plates and freeflowing cocktails, we simply had to try it. The aesthetically pleasing, adventurous small plates are a tasty introduction to Balkan cuisine. ORDER: Bread basket (particularly the sourdough), Balkan salad, mezze platter, fried chicken sandwich, cheese pie, roasted mushroom crepe, fried apple rings. DRINK: The bloody marys were disappointingly generic for a supposedly cutting-edge restaurant. We recommend the Ambar mimosa made with Champagne, peach purĂŠe and blood orange. WE LOVED: The rustic, chic and somehow feminine decor. And did we mention the sourdough cinnamon roll?

When we heard that U Street’s “philanthropub� was serving up cereal soaked in alcohol-laden milk mixtures, we were intrigued, but not convinced that the concept would translate well from paper to bowl. Though we arrived as skeptics, we left as converts vowing to return for more traditional brunch dishes such as the Tuaca French toast or huevos rancheros. ORDER: Hangover hash, Campfire Crispies, Cinnamon Girl, omelet au poivre WE LOVED: That 100 percent of the profits from our boozy brunch would be donated to charity and that one dish on the menu combines everything we love about brunch: sausage, potatoes, fried eggs, cheese and really great grilled bread. WANT TO TRY: The rest of the adult cereals, paricularly Cuckoo for Cause. Hangover hash at Cause (Photo by Nick Vilelle)

WANT TO TRY: Strawberry waffle with Nutella, pear waffle with caramel sauce. The desserts are calling our names.

BEUCHERTâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;SSALOON ďš&#x2122;*#PennsylvaniaAveďš&#x2019;SEďš&#x201D;!-:##-"#<ďš&#x161; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Entrees $7 to $19; bottomless mimosas $9

Farm-to-table dining may be enveloping the Washington food scene, but Beuchertâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Saloon is taking the concept to a whole new level: they own the whole farm. This is reflected in a carefully curated brunch menu that offers up brunch classics with casual farm-fresh twists.

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GOLDENBROWNDELICIOUSGBD ďš&#x2122;"##ConnecticutAveďš&#x2019;NWďš&#x201D;!-<-"!ďš&#x161; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. All entrees $10; pair any entree with a doughnut and coffee/tea for $12; $15 bottomless mimosas or Brunch Punch

The name of this Neighborhood Restaurant Group spot applies to both its sweet and savory offerings, as the restaurant dishes up tender, crispy chicken and delicately fluffy doughnuts. So it comes as no surprise that everyoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s favorite dish, by far, on the brunch menu is that Southern staple: chicken and waffles. The mix-and-match vintage mugs, brown paper boats in place of plates and cartoons playing on TV give you the feeling of a good-old-fashioned breakfast at grandmaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s house.

Chicken and waffles at GBD (Photo courtesy Neighborhood Restaurant Group)

ORDER: Chicken and waffles, biscuits and gravy (when offered anything with a biscuit at GBD nod vigorously and accept), Gala apple fritter with cinnamon glaze.

push your boundaries just a bit. Think poached egg and Chesapeake korokke with warm mayo and tonkatsu sauce on an English muffin or a â&#x20AC;&#x153;hapa loco mocoâ&#x20AC;? that comes with a â&#x20AC;&#x153;hambaguâ&#x20AC;? patty, fried egg and rice with gravy. The guy in your party who wants something â&#x20AC;&#x153;normalâ&#x20AC;? can stick to this dish. ORDER: Chicken and waffles, lox and â&#x20AC;&#x153;bagelâ&#x20AC;? and a few of the regular menu items including chicken livers just for fun. DRINK: Calpi-motxo (Daikayaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s take on Sangria with red wine, Mexican coke, Calpico with a splash of absinthe) and Suika Solstice, which is surprisingly unsweet for a watermelon-mint-based cocktail. WE LOVED: The eclectic menu and Chef Katsuya Fukushimaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s adventurous spirit, despite a few kinks on the brunch menu that weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re certain will be worked out this summer. WANT TO TRY: Bloody Mari, sisig (weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve yet to see this on anyoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s menu, brunch or otherwise) and the intriguing croissant with uni butter and shoyu eggs 63 scramble.

TABLE ďš&#x2122;%!#NStďš&#x2019;NWďš&#x201D;!--!!ďš&#x161; Sunday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. $34 three-course prix fixe, including pastries, starter and entree, mimosas $10 per glass or $14 for bottomless

DRINK: The seasonal Brunch Punch. When we went it was gin, grapefruit and other fruit juices. WE LOVED: That the chicken and waffles werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t drenched in syrup, so the dish struck a balanced note between sweet and savory. The chicken was flavorful without being too greasy. Plus, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll take an apple fritter doughnut any day. WANT TO TRY: Potato and leek quiche, ranchero wrap and the next Brunch Punch.

LEDIPLOMATE ďš&#x2122;"*!""<thStďš&#x2019;NWďš&#x201D;!-##-####ďš&#x161; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Starters $9 to $18.50, entrees $11 to $28, cocktails $9 to $12

We, along with the rest of Washington, have become fans of Stephen Starrâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first D.C. outpost. No matter what time of day you frequent this French brasserie, a meal there never fails to please. From the madedaily bread selections, to the light, yet rich, foĂŻe gras parfait, classically prepared egg dishes and surprisingly satisfying house coffee, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll feel like you just stepped into a Parisian cafe. Even the notoriously hardto-please Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema said he was more impressed with the food here than many of his meals in Paris. ORDER: Croissant, foĂŻe gras parfait, mushroom tart, poached eggs Basquaise, eggs Norwegian, quiche Lorraine, breakfast pastries and/or the house bread basket. DRINK: Josephine, Pamplemousse Presse, coffee. WE LOVED: The buzzing, but not ear-splittingly loud, atmosphere, attentive service and refreshing flavors of our dishes.

DAIKAYA ďš&#x2122;:!*thStďš&#x2019;NWďš&#x201D;!-%-"*!!ďš&#x161;

Stuffed French toast at Table (Photo by Jennifer Cubas)

From the handwritten menus in composition notebooks to the changing hue of the door leading to the rooftop, the devil is in the details at this Shaw eatery. The same can be said of food that arrives with elaborate presentation. Think stuffed French toast dusted with a light layer of powdered sugar, finished with slivers of banana and filled with gooey peanut butter; a simple, yellow omelet not cluttered on the outside, but oozing sharp cheddar, bechamel, thick cuts of ham and hearts of palm once it is cut. Table is an upscale dining destination, where the social set is sure to gather. ORDER:Smoked salmon, stuffed French toast, croque monsieur omelet. WE LOVED: The kitchen being in the center of the restaurant, creating a sortof chefâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s-table-for-all vibe, the Nutella-filled brioche pastry and Chef de Pueâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s seasonal menu, meaning each visit will feel brand new.

Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Brunch dishes $8-11, cocktails $8 to $12

The name alone should alert diners that this ramen/izakaya joint is not going to be dishing up comfort food, but rather asking you to

WANT TO TRY: Warm duck salad, poached Laughing Bird shrimp, baked egg en cocotte.

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; With additional reporting by Anne Kim-Dannibale, Alexandra Bryant, Aysia Woods and Kelsey Edelmann. WA S H I N G T O N L I F E

| S U M M E R      | washingtonlife.com

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