801 – DC

 

AESTHETIC VIBE (1)

801 is a super cute restaurant in the newly gentrified Shaw neighborhood. They have three floors with a rooftop that is perfect for summer/spring and all the Instagram pictures you could imagine. The decor is very bright and welcoming with splashes of yellow and lots of flowers sprinkled around. In addition to the great choice of R&B and pop music playing, 801 gives you everything you could want when it comes to vibes.

MENU OPTIONS (1)

Most of the options on 801’s brunch menu are very light and remind me of a stereotypical California brunch. It features a salad, avocado toast, crepes, a sandwich, and a few egg dishes. As somewhat of a picky eater, the only things on the menu that were options for me to order was the breakfast burger and breakfast tacos. I think other picky eaters might have trouble finding a dish on this menu that suits them.

FOOD (1)

As a person who enjoys a good brunch quesadilla or burrito I thought the tacos would be the perfect choice. Unfortunately, the tacos were not a hit. Although they sounded very good (with scrambled eggs, chorizo, salsa, onions, and queso fresco, how could they not be?!), they lacked flavor. I thought adding some sour cream would help make them more enjoyable, the restaurant did not have any, so I had to eat them dry. Additionally, I could not even switch it out for the brunch burger because my friends who ordered said it was a dud as well.

o-1

Service (1)

Although our waitress seem to be a bit anxious, the overall service was good. At times she slacked a little in bringing us new champagne bottles, but I don’t fault her because we had a party of five and were downing our mimosas very quickly.

Overall Rating (1) Two Cheers! 801 has done a great job when it comes to music, drinks and decor, but they are heavily lacking in the food department. The best thing about 801 is that they are a pour your own/build your own mimosas restaurant. They offer a variety of juices and purees like orange, grapefruit, strawberry and peach puree. I had been trying to visit 801 for months but my brunch experience was a bit disappointing. Sometimes I can ignore average food for good mimosas and service, but 801 has not done enough to make me want to visit again.

IMG_2923

P.S. I’ve been to 801’s rooftop for happy hour food and drinks and I thoroughly recommend!

Tulips – DC

AESTHETIC VIBE (1)

Tulips is a quaint champagne bar, located in a row house in DuPont Circle. The inside is very floral heavy with fresh tulip arrangements scattered throughout the dining room, hence the name “Tulips”. The decor is a combination of classic and chic with exposed brick and a crystal chandelier to add charming touches.

o (5)

 

MENU OPTIONS (1)

The entree options left a lot to be desired and the choices weren’t too creative and left out some of the necessary brunch staples.  They offered waffles (no chicken), a burger, bagel and lox, and eggs bacon and potatoes. Tulips makes up for their lack of food options by offering bottomless oysters and beignets. The beignets tasted more like cinnamon sugar donut holes. After a donut hole or two, we realized they weren’t worth eating. The bottomless oysters were exactly what we needed while we had our mimosas and ordered our food.

FOOD (1)

The burger was the only option that I was attracted to. It wasn’t a typical brunch burger and was not offered with a fried egg. The burger was very regular; not the best I’ve had but also not the worst.

The bottomless mimosas are served in the best style, pour it yourself. They provide an entire bottle of champagne with a small carafe of your juice of choice. We opted for the bellini, which they made in house, and was a pear puree instead of peach. The puree was very concentrated so you have to be careful when you pour so its not too sweet and syrupy.

img_4354-e1532117526526.jpeg

Service (1)

The dining room is pretty small so the one waiter/bartender was able to be attentive to the two tables and the few of us sitting at the bar. All the staff was very friendly and provided us with refills on the oysters and bottles of champagne very promptly.

Overall Rating (1)

Three Cheers! Although Tulips has limited menu, the overall experience is worthwhile. The bottomless oysters, beignets and bloody mary’s, mimosas, and bellinis make up for their more simplistic brunch options . This place is definitely something to try if you’re into oysters and want to deviate from you normal, go-to brunch spots.

Mission- DC

AESTHETIC VIBE (1)

Mission is a Mexican cantina in the heart of DuPont Circle. Whether you’re there for happy hour, brunch, or dinner, the restaurant is always bustling with 20-something year old young professionals. The decor of the restaurant is very rustic, think wood paneled ceilings, antique futures, and neutral colors. There is a front patio as well as an open upstairs room that can be rented for private brunches.

MENU OPTIONS (1)

Mission’s cantina feel translates into its menu as well. They incorporate breakfast food into your favorite Mexican dishes like burritos, quesadillas, nachos, and even fajitas. If you’re in the mood for lunch the taco platter is the way to go. Mission not only lets you choose your brunch entree, but your brunch beverage too. The options include mimosas, bloody Mary’s, margaritas, and Tecate (beer); if that isn’t enough to get you through the door, your brunch is topped off with a shot of tequila. All brunch drinks are bottomless, so there truly is an option for everyone. The best thing about all of this is it’s only $36.99.

FOOD (1)

As with any traditional Mexican restaurant, you get chips and salsa upon arrival. As a self proclaimed chips and salsa connoisseur, I’d like to note that Missions chips are delicious. (I obnoxiously kept asking for refills.) The mild guacamole was pretty tasty also. I loved that we could pick the spice level of the guac. For my entree, I ordered the taco platter. The tacos have become my go to because there are endless options to mix and match. The pork belly, chicken, and al pastor are my favorites. I have to admit that the rice that came with the rice and beans was pretty hard and stale. My friend, who ordered the breakfast bowl, which has a rice base, had the same problem. She did, however, say the bowl was otherwise good. The steak and eggs got outstanding reviews as well. The portion was large, and the steak was cooked perfectly.

Service (1)
On my first visit to mission the service was less than desirable, however the manger listened to our complaints and rectified the situation. Because the manager quickly resolved our issue, I decided to give it another try. On my second visit to mission the service was top notch. Our waitress brought us pitchers of both mimosas and margaritas so that we could drink as we please. Why choose when you can have both? I’m happy I didn’t write off the restaurant the first time because of service, because Mission is truly a gem. Everyone is entitled to bad days, but sometimes it’s the little things that can change the view of your experience.

Overall Rating (1)

3 Star Rating

Three Cheers! Mission’s bottomless margaritas take the brunch experience to the next level. The fact that the brunch package, with all of its options, is affordable is a reason to stowaway try it out. The addition of bottomless margaritas take the experience to the next level. Overall Mission has good food, good drinks, and good vibes. It’s the perfect spot to pregame for a day party or celebrate a birthday. Try stopping in for happy hour too, it’s just as great at brunch!

Mission serves brunch every Saturday and Sunday starting at 11 am.

*Mission will have Cinco De Mayo specials from 11 am- 3 am. There is no cover, a DJ and bottomless margaritas all day. 

Shaw’s Tavern – DC

AESTHETIC VIBE (1)

Shaw’s Tavern is a pretty popular brunch place right around Howard University, and has a pretty mixed crowd. It has a very chill vibe, with great music playing in the background that will have you singing along after a few mimosas. They have pretty rustic decor, with indoor and outdoor seating and an upstairs for private dining as well. It is a place that you can take almost anyone.

MENU OPTIONS (1)

Their brunch menu is Southern inspired, with key items like hushpuppies, fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, mac n cheese, and a cornbread chicken and waffle. One great thing about their brunch menu is they have a lot of sandwich options. Most places usually just have one brunch burger, but Shaw’s Tavern also features pulled pork, a breakfast sandwich, a chicken sandwich and another burger. Shaw’s also offers a variety of pizzas, essentially having anything you could possibly want from a brunch menu.

FOOD (1)

I’ve ordered shrimp and grits from Shaw’s Tavern a few times before, and I wasn’t particularly impressed so I decided to venture out this time. I ordered the breakfast pizza, which features tomatoes, bacon, green onions, an egg, and very delicious sauce I can’t name. I replaced the tomatoes with caramelized onions and got my egg over easy. The pizza was not only really good but also very filling. I was very satisfied and even had leftovers.

img_3275.jpeg

Service (1) I am pretty much always pleased with the service at Shaw’s Tavern. I’ve been there for birthdays, farewell brunches,  and random Sundays and they are always accommodating. The mimosas stay replenished, and they are quick to correct any mistakes that may have occurred with your order. Even though we arrived at 1:30pm this time, our waitress ensured we got the most out of our two hours of bottomless and checked on us very often.

Overall Rating (1)

Three Cheers! Shaw’s Tavern is pretty much always hit. The food, service and mimosas rarely ever fail, and it is a staple for any avid brunch goer in D.C. Last minute or plan ahead, Shaw’s Tavern is the place to go (although you may want to plan ahead because they can be crowded).

3 Star Rating

Penn Commons – DC

AESTHETIC VIBE (1)

One of the best things about Penn Commons is how spacious the inside is. I have been to many restaurants where I feel cramped and like I am sitting way too close to the party next to me, but that is not an issue here. They have a variety of seating options such as the bar, high top tables, regular tables and circular booths, which is another plus. Although they play sports games and serve drinks, it does not feel at all like a sports bar. The design is very clean and simple, something which makes it comfortable and cute.

 

 

MENU OPTIONS (1)

Penn Common’s menu/brunch options is what sets it above other brunches in my eyes. They offer a two course brunch with bottomless mimosas all for $33. I truly don’t think it gets better than that! You are able to get an appetizer and entree or entree and dessert. They offer BBQ chicken spring rolls, calamari, french toast bites and smoothies as some of the options for your first course.

The entrees include all of your favorite brunch options, with special spin of “chicken & cakes” as opposed to chicken and waffles. Their dessert options include various sundaes, a root beer float and cake. With a two course brunch and all of the menu options you can visit Penn Commons over and over and switch up your brunch order to enjoy a new combination each time.

IMG_3256

FOOD (1)

When it comes to appetizers, the BBQ chicken egg rolls are my favorite. They come with a blue cheese dipping sauce on the side, that it is not quite blue cheese dressing but similar and very tasty. I think I have mentioned before that shrimp and grits is my go-to brunch food, so I’ve tasted them at many places and Penn Commons’ is by far my favorite. The grits are creamy and well cooked, they don’t skimp on the shrimp, it is well seasoned, and the bits of ham add a nice finishing touch. But, if you aren’t a shrimp and grits person, the brunch quesadillas are delicious as well. Overall, not matter what you order not only will you be full (and possibly have leftovers) but satisfied by the quality as well.

 

 

Service (1)

I have been to Penn Commons on many occasions, and I usually receive pretty consistent service. There is one particular waitress that I have encountered a few times who can be somewhat scatterbrained and a little slower on the mimosas, but with a little reminder about fill ups she is fine. Even with the slowest server, I can still make the most of my two hours and leave having downed just enough mimosas.

Overall Rating (1)

3 Star Rating

Three Cheers! I can’t think of anything negative to say about Penn Commons. Even on a bad day I am always satisfied. From last minute brunch decisions or a planned ahead reservation, Penn Commons is the place to go. I never have to wait for a table and I leave satisfied and a little bit saucy!

P.S. They also have a great happy hour, with good food and drinks,  from 4pm-close Monday – Saturday and ALL DAY Sunday.

Penn Commons offers brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 11am – 3pm. 

City Tap House – DC

AESTHETIC VIBE (1)

City Tap House is a gastropub that is in the old STK building. The outside looks like a nice, classic restaurant but the inside gives you regular pub feels. I went on St. Patrick’s day, and the staffed was dressed in green, so the vibe perfectly matched the holiday. Outside of that, the restaurant definitely is on the more casual and chill side of brunch because its basically a bar that also serves brunch.

 

MENU OPTIONS (1)

I had originally chosen another spot for St. Patty’s Day brunch, but someone in my party wanted a place that served shrimp and grits, so last minute we ended up here. They had had a bunch of regular brunch options, salads, and brick oven pizzas. In hindsight I should’ve chosen a pizza because that’s a lot harder to mess up. Although one of my friends ordered the burger and she party hated her food too.

FOOD (1)

Shrimp and grits is my go-to brunch food, so I’ve had them enough to rank them from best to worst, and I’d have to say that is by far the worst I’ve ever had. They served the shrimp and grits with a side of collard greens and eggs, which I thought would help things, but it didn’t. I hate greens so I did not eat those, the half cup grits they gave were unseasoned and the egg just didn’t do anything for me. My plate left me unsatisfied and still hungry.

Additionally, we ordered hush puppies as an appetizer, which I was initially against but let my friend convince me to do it. Hushpuppies are something I only have at my grandma’s house when she fries them up for you, and I think it will stay that way. Our hushpuppies came out extremely burnt, and tasted like they had been cooked in old and overused oil.

 

 

Service (1)

The service left a lot to be desired. We had to remind our waiter twice about the appetizer we ordered, and it still came out almost an hour later with our food. He also fumbled on the most important part: the mimosas. He started off by only filling up our glasses about a fourth of the way full, and even once I convinced him to pour us up more he was extremely slow with the refills.

Overall Rating (1)

1 Star Rating

One Cheer. Other than the fact that City Tap House is located in Dupont, which is close to day parties, there is not much else positive I can say. The food was not good and the service was subpar, so this is not a place I would recommend anyone else try.

HalfSmoke – DC

AESTHETIC VIBE (1)

The decor and set-up of the restaurant reminds you of some the favorite things about your childhood. The restaurant harps on the idea of, “don’t grow up it’s a trap,” and maintaining that fun element of being a kid.They give the menus in Lisa Frank binders, serve some of the meals in vintage lunch boxes, and bring your check in VHS boxes.

Also, there is a free photo booth near the bathroom where you can take photos and GIFs of yourself, as well as games scattered all over the restaurant. The place has multiple flat screen televisions playing all the hits from TLC and New Edition to Ja Rule and Ashanti, so by the time your mimosas hit you’re singing along to all the throwback jams.

Half Smoke truly commits to their 90’s aesthetic. Though the decor clearly caters to millenials, it also gives a very family friendly feel. During my Saturday afternoon brunch, I saw ages ranging from 8 years old to 80 years old. So if you’re looking for an adult, grown and sexy vibe, this is not the place.

img_3187.jpg

MENU OPTIONS (1)

Half Smoke’s brunch menu is so attractive due to the fact that it is available ALL DAY, and bottomless mimosas come FREE. The purchase of a brunch entree gets you free bottomless mimosas for an hour. The menu featured some of the brunch standards like a burger, eggs benedict, and french toast. They had put a creative twist on some classics like fried chicken and a red velvet funnel cake, as opposed to chicken and waffles.

IMG_3185

FOOD (1)

As a Black person, one of my cardinal going out to eat rules is, “Never order mac and cheese!” We know that the chefs cannot make macaroni and cheese like our grandmas, moms, and aunts can, so it usually ends up a waste of time. Most of the time, I look at a picture on Yelp,  break my rule and order mac and cheese anyway. This is one of the times I was not disappointed. Obviously they can’t touch my grandma, but it was still good and very filling. It was baked well and topped with (real) bacon bits.

IMG_3123

 

Service (1)

The time constraints on the bottomless mimosas were something new for me, normally two hours is standard, but I was open to it. Get drunk in one hour instead of two? No problem. Unfortunately, our waiter was extremely slow on the refills making this difficult to achieve. He basically left us two pitchers and left us alone. Then proceeded to bring us our check once the hour was over, never inquiring if we wanted more to drink (which we did). I still left brunch a little tipsy, solely based on the fact that my waiter was rarely to be found.

Overall Rating (1)

2 Star Rating

Two Cheers! I was not too pleased with Half Smoke as a brunch place. I enjoyed my food but an hours worth of mimosas that were rarely filled up was a major disappointment. For $18, I cannot complain too much because I guess I got what I paid for.  I have been to Half Smoke for happy hour, had their food and other cocktails, and enjoyed my experience, but I probably will not return again for brunch. I’d rather pay $15-20 and go to a brunch that will not let me see the bottom of my glass.

P.S. Their frose (frozen rose) is a must!

HalfSmoke offers free bottomless mimosas with the purchase of a brunch entree all day, Friday-Sunday. 

Pinstripes – DC

AESTHETIC VIBE (1)

Decor wise, Pinstripes does not have anything too special to offer. They give very traditional restaurant feels, and have the space to accommodate a lot of larger groups. Also, there were lots of families there, probably due to the fact that there is bowling alley.

MENU OPTIONS (1)

For a person who enjoys breakfast food and does not mind buffets, Pinstripes has a lot to offer. The buffet features a waffle and omelette station, fruit and pastries, salads, flatbreads, pasta, a variety of meats and desserts. They have everything necessary to craft a filling and satisfying brunch.

FOOD (1)

I swear every single time I tell someone, “I don’t do buffets,” they respond “No this one is good, I promise.” I am not sure why people keep insisting that their buffet suggestion will be the exception, because it’s not. It was my friend’s birthday, she wanted to do a brunch buffet, so of course I went. Food quality was definitely better than most buffets, but I did not like all the random food I was forced to eat. Granted, I am a picky eater who does not enjoy breakfast food so this is probably a personal thing. My plate was filled with fruit, shrimp cocktail, Tuscan chicken pasta, and chocolate covered strawberries, which is not the best pairing with mimosas.

Service (1)

Because Pinstripes is a buffet, there is little to expect from the wait staff. The only worry our waiter had was to keep our glasses full, which he was perfect at. Sometimes, a party of six (that drinks a lot) can struggle with having a waiter that does not fill up glasses quickly enough, but that was not the case here.

Overall Rating (1)

2 Star Rating

Two cheers! Despite the fact that I did not personally love my brunch plate, I have no complaints about Pinstripes. Will I make the suggestion to go back? Probably not, I still hate buffets. Regardless, they have a variety of food, the service was great, and most importantly I left feeling good! Pinstripes makes sure that you get every penny’s worth of the $36 you pay for bottomless and the brunch buffet. To top things off, they have a bowling alley and bocce ball so you can play a game after you finish your food.

Pinstripes has Sunday buffet brunch from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $36 with bottomless mimosas.