Planning for vacations, brunch is always the meal that we look forward to most. As a result, brunch requires additional legwork to locate a restaurant that offers a variation of the type of brunch we enjoy. I was lucky in my DC reading, as one of our short listed accommodations also hosted a reputable restaurant within.
Hotel Tabard Inn
Tabard Inn is nested inside the Hotel Tabard Inn, a historic building in the Dupont Circle neighbourhood. Their accommodations were cheaper than George Washington University Inn, but by the time we had called to book, they were full. When we reached the hotel, we were glad with our ultimate choice because the walk to the Metro was at least double the distance.
The building was quaint – situated on a fairly quiet residential street, with flower pots and other greenery making it the most attractive residence on the block. We wandered inside, through a too-dim sitting room with creaky wooden floors and portraits of revolutionaries gone-by and into the restaurant. I had made a reservation several weeks before, and thank goodness we did – the room was packed.
To be honest, I picked Tabard Inn solely on the website photo, which showed a sunny room lined with a friendly checkered floor. In reality, the room was not as bright, likely because of the potted plants that lined the windows outside. Tabard also has an enclosed patio outside, but with the humidity out in full force that day, I was glad our hostess directed us to a table housed in the air-conditioned dining room, just below a window. Mack did notice that for whatever reason, Tabard doesn’t use cloth napkins – the paper napkins didn’t quite mesh with the décor in our opinion.
In Tabard Inn
I had given the menu a quick scan online, but unlike most times, hadn’t already picked out what I wanted. I decided upon the blueberry pancakes, while Mack stayed true to his usual egg-and-potato dish. Also being a sucker to try the resident special, we also ordered two doughnuts, which we were told were usually served before our meal. Who were we to thwart tradition?
When our bread basket was delivered prior to the doughnuts, we wondered who had come up with a tradition that stacked carb upon carb to start a meal. At any rate, the freshly-baked basket filled with a variety of savoury goodies soothed any questions we had, with our favourite being the corn bread.
We hadn’t quite finished with our basket when a doily-lined plate with two petite doughnuts were delivered. They were as advertised – freshly fried, warm and with the taste of grease still lingering. They reminded Mack of mini doughnuts, and he said they were good, but nothing special.
The main event was the highlight – the pancakes were just perfect – slightly crisp on the outside, but still soft and airy in the middle. I could have done with a few more blueberries (a la Clinton Street), but it was a pretty good dish the way it was.
Mack’s eggs and homefries were tasty, but the standout for him was the flaky biscuit – Tabard Inn certainly knew how to do pastries right.
Scrambled Eggs, House-made Toulouse Sausage and Homefries
If you’re not in the neighbourhood already, I’m not sure Tabard Inn is worth an exclusive trip. That said, I was happy for the opportunity to explore a neighbourhood we wouldn’t otherwise have seen.