Friday, May 17, 2013

A Quick Restaurant Review - Tabard Inn

The DC stories #4
I went, I ate, I drank, caught some hot jazz and then on Saturday I had brunch! For the new folks, brunch and I have an affair going for ages. I just can't leave it! There is something about a late breakfast on Saturday, maybe on a warm patio, with light conversation. It all seems so movie magical. And damnit, I wanna be in the movies!

Since I was going to be in DC, the idea was to pop in, see a few sights, shake hands with a few folks I hadn't seen in a minute and run through a wedding before jumping back on a flight to the ATL. Yeah, sounds it exciting doesn't it? And since Sporty was out of town, I let Shade know I'd be in the area. Shade just a few weeks before had announced her engagement, so when we talked about brunching on Saturday, I thought I was going to meet the new fiance and get to give him the once over. But Shade picked me up from hotel alone. Which was cool, she has a two-seater and I wasn't going to set on his lap.

The Tabard Inn looks like a converted old row house, which it may very well be, and serves as a boutique hotel on N Street,  just off Dupont Circle. The restaurant, also called the Tabard Inn, is in the back, and it's supposed to be super good. And for the record, we did NOT have reservations, which are highly suggested. Shade figured she could just get us in. I think I know too many VIP divas. 

The waiting area for the restaurant (not hotel check-in) has more of a living room feel than any waiting room I've ever sat in. It's all antique photos and paintings, frumpy but comfortable old couches fronted by coffee tables wrapped around a dormant fireplace. The space's only drawback is that its in the middle of the building so there is no natural light. It was the kinda spot you could get a good book, close the doors and read all day. The restaurant itself, on the back of the building, was the DC standard, cramped and old...the two signature motifs of the city that seem to permeate every establishment. Checkerboard floors, wooden tables, and patio that unfortunately was dominated by shade. Did I mention it was small... no wait, intimate. But they serve brunch. All the rest fades.  

We started with the doughnuts, which have a cinnamon sugar on them. They weren't Krispy Kreme, but they came with a vanilla whipped cream that set them off just right. For the entrees I got the Scrambled eggs with house-made Toulouse sausage and home fries, and she got a Crab cake with fried green tomatoes. For some reason this simple order took a while, and for some other reason the eggs were a little less firm when it did show up. But it was still pretty good. I tasted a bit of her crabcake  For dessert we shared an apple tart with ice cream on the side.  The design was unusually good, with the right mix of creamy, a crunchy toffee covering and the apple's core sweetness.

During our long interlude, she brought me up to speed on the goings on with her, the medical career, her DC house buying adventure, the prospect of an instant family with her fiance's child, the getting of a child friendly car, the impending nuptials and the difference of her longstanding insistence to be married in South Africa for her family's sake versus the now harsh reality of the logistics nightmare of such an undertaking. There was one other big secret, but that's a another story. I'll fill you all in later.

After we ate we went for a quick world wide tour. Just around the corner from the Tabard Inn are a series of embassies, and we walked into what I think was called the "Passport to DC", where the various embassies opened their doors, set our a spread and said come on by. The streets were packed and we listened to the bands from Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and were tempted by the delicious aromas and goodie bags. We'd planned to make a circle and end up in Australia, when just as we got to Chile, whose band was on break, Doctor Shade's on call beeper went off.  And that was that...

So was the Tabard Inn good? Yes, in a word. Would I go back? It's someplace I can take Sporty when I go back and say confidently that I have been there. Now, because everyone isn't me, and I realize that as of late I've been able to get by with them, I'm gonna suggest that you make reservations.

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