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  • Writer's pictureNina Dudko

Restaurant Round-Up: The Tabard Inn

You know what I find odd? When I chat with people at work, someone (including myself) remarks that we are “one day closer to the weekend.” And it dawned on me—have our work lives become so unfulfilling that we just can’t wait to get out of the office even if for just two days? A bit sad, to be honest, but understandable. Everybody really is just working for the weekend.

That aside, we finally made it to the next weekend and I have a tasty brunch review for you all. Today I’m sharing my lovely experience at the Tabard Inn in Dupont Circle.

The occasion for this brunch outing was bittersweet. It was a farewell brunch for my friend Chris, who is now living it up in the Rocky Colorado Mountains. Can only imagine how beautiful the views are over.

We drove to the restaurant and found some pretty nice parking spots despite being metered. The Tabard Inn is a walkable distance from either the Farragut North or Dupont Circle metro—both on the red line.

The Tabard Inn is actually a hotel. A really tiny cute one to boot. You walk into their reception area, with its quirky antique furniture and décor, and you feel warmly welcomed. The restaurant is behind the reception desk, which is just a quick walk around.

The hostess guided us through the restaurant to a patio. The patio is something else, though. It looks something out of The Secret Garden. The redbrick walls and garden trellis fences brimming with flowers are colorful and cheery. We sat down and I couldn’t stop looking around at everything. The roof is open so on a beautiful day with blue sky and clouds above you, this place is perfect to spend time with good friends and yummy food! The quaint patio garden made me forget that I lived in a big city.

Brunch isn’t complete without a boozy element to it so I ordered a peach Bellini and Chris ordered a mimosa. These are some hefty boozy drinks and they don’t skimp on the champagne. One will leave you with a pleasant buzz.

Before diving into the entrees we tried the house doughnuts and that was the best decision. These doughnuts are fantastic and perfect for any season, really, but especially fall. They were warm and fluffy and crisp all in one bite. The cinnamon sugar added a homey flavor without being overbearingly sweet as some doughnuts can be. The perfect bite, however, was with a shmear of their homemade butter, which added a layer of smoothness to the crispy, crunchy treat.

Main course time. Chris ordered the chicken and waffles and I nabbed a bite because he is wonderful and lets me try his food. This fluffy waffle blended sweet and savory with a maple brown sugar glaze drizzled onto the waffle and surprise bacon bits in the waffle itself. The waffle wasn’t obviously bacon flavored but you could still detect the bacon’s smokiness. The chicken was crispy skinned and moist. Perfection!

I ordered the grits accompanied with fried oysters, poached egg, and pork belly. The grits were chunkier than most grits I have previously enjoyed, but nothing I really minded. I noticed a welcoming heat from a mysterious spicy element, and then I remembered, “Duh, the menu said spicy beurre blanc.” Side note: beurre blanc is a white wine butter sauce and is one of the best sauces ever to exist and I can’t wait to share my recipe with you. The poached egg was something out of a dream—perfectly runny yolks that ooze out when you break the casing. The fried oysters were extra salty, which made them a bit difficult to eat, but the grits toned down the salt. And the final part (the best part) of the dish was the pork belly. For those of you who don’t know what pork belly is, it’s bacon’s hot cousin. It is much fattier and meatier than bacon and when crisped to splendor like at the Tabard Inn, the flavors are just melodic.

Safe to say our brunch was delicious. We both looked down at our unfinished plates and realized that our eyes were bigger than our stomachs, which is odd considering how hungry we both were. Luckily we asked the restaurant for take-home boxes and they gladly obliged.

As for pricing, the Tabard Inn is a little spendier than your average DC brunch standard, with entrees priced from $15 to $20, but the portion size is well worth the price. And trust me, you absolutely have to try the doughnuts.

The setting was a dream, the food was remarkable, and the company was spectacular. Win!

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