Sunday, April 4, 2010

Round Food for Every Mood

"The doughnuts. You have to go for the doughnuts!" For years, whenever the topic of discussion would turn to brunch at the Tabard Inn, I would hear the same enthusiasm refrain. Finally, I was able to heed the collective advice of the city and head to this hidden gem in Dupont on a recent weekend.

First of all, you need to know that I consider donuts to be a bit of a self-loathing indulgence. I love them, but I tend to hate myself for loving them. The donuts at the Tabard Inn, however break from that mold. They're an indulgence, to be sure. But their decadence is only surpassed by their perfection. They are fresh from the fryer and absolutely decedent, especially when dipped in the fresh whipped cream served alongside the pastries. Be prepared to swoon when you bite into your first one.
And I have now learned that it is unnecessary to actually eat a full meal at the Tabard Inn, because you can go and order doughnuts to go! The next time I am craving these hot and delicious circles of fried dough, I might just sit outside and enjoy them in the sunshine.

The rest of our meal was fantastic. I had an amazing version of the traditional eggs benedict. The hollandaise was somewhat tart and tangy, bringing out the flavors of the house-cured tasso ham. I don't claim to be a ham expert, but this was pretty flavorful ham. The one disappointment was that my eggs were slightly overdone. [I like my yolks to be runny so I can mop it up with a piece of toast. Note to self: make sure to ask for runny yolks.]

My boyfriend, who was along for the ride opted for his first ever Po' Boy. He said he enjoyed it, but he wished the breading on the oysters had been more prominent in the overall bite of the sandwich. In his mind, if something is advertised as breaded, the chef should embrace that label and go all out.

This is a true DC institution, and you can tell from the moment that you walk in the door that the hotel and restaurant fully embrace this label. To get to the restaurant you have to pass through an old fashioned parlor that has a gigantic wooden mantle and is filled with mismatched chairs and love-seats. The staff was also well versed in dealing with hungry patrons as our service was swift without feeling rushed.

I left feeling that this is a DC staple that has earned its reputation. Washingtonians will continue to speak highly of this place for many reasons. But as long as they keep making doughnuts as well as they do, this old fashioned hotel and restaurant will never go out of style.

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