Thursday, March 5, 2009

Brunch & Macarons

I am a big fan of brunch, but I am weary of Sunday buffets; the large spreads beg to justify the hefty price tags. I am not in the habit of fasting on Saturday nights, and I like to fight hangovers with preemptive after-midnight snacks. Unless I have out of town visitors who want to do the Gospel Brunch or the Kennedy Center rooftop, I prefer brunching a la carte.

An invitation to Sunday brunch at Meritage, located in the North Bethesda Marriott (directly across from the White Flint Metro stop) has me rethinking my anti-buffet stance. The dinning room is spacious and airy, the noise level lets you talk with your table companions comfortably, and the staff is quick to clear plates and refresh drinks. Located by the Montgomery County Bethesda North conference center, it is ideally suited to accommodate large groups.

Aside from standards (an omelet station, a carving station and a waffle station), the buffet items show a pride in local and fresh ingredients, including a raw bar. The chef also has a penchant for Eastern European influences: creamy and tart cheese blintzes, latkes with a hint of chives, pastries and savory breads. The hot food display included fish and chicken options, and, a rarity for brunch, soup. The kitchen (you can see some of the cooks behind the main thoroughfare) puts great care into the presentation and replenishment of the stations - there were no neglected chafing dishes or dried-out food.

With so many brunch options available in DC-proper, what makes the sojourn into Maryland worth considering? The brunch is an exceptional value: $24.95 including a glass of champagne, mimosa or bloody Mary (plus tax and tip). The Meritage is also ahead of the curb in dessert trend. If you look past the chocolate fountain you will find, in unassuming glass bowls, pastel-hued Macarons, directly imported from Paris. The merengue-like confections are currently all the rage in New York (cupcakes have had their day). The little domes, decked out in the colors of Spring, are well worth the trip.

Meritage at the North Bethesda Marriott
5701 Marinelli Road
Bethesda, MD 20852

Meritage on Urbanspoon


Danielle said...

"All the brunch options in DC"?? Please share! I have always felt DC lacks good brunch options excepting Bombay Club.

Lorena said...

Tabbard Inn in Dupont Circle is one of my all-time favorites. Rosemary's Thyme at 18th and S is a great neighborhood place, Polly's Cafe in U street has very creative takes on Eggs Benedict, and the Latino Dim Sum Brunch at Cafe Atlantico in Penn Quarter is a lot of fun.

iEatDC said...

You are reading my mind. I need (seriously, NEED) to find some macarons in DC that are worth eating. I wish I didn't have to schlep to Bethesda to get them, but I can't say that will stop me. Thanks!

Lorena said...

I've heard, but have yet to confirm, that ACKC on 14th and Q just started importing them from the same whole-seller.

For other options (that are good, but not as great) Patisserie Poupon in Wisconsin Avenue between Q and Reservoir Road in Georgetown makes some varieties, and also sells them to Dean and Deluca.