Monday, January 24, 2011

You say "I ordered you a pancake"

Perusing our recent entries, you'd think that we only go out for brunch. While we need to play catch up (Bibiana and Blue Duck for Restaurant Week, an early January culinary scavenger hunt through the city, an an organic delivery service in Bethesda, to name a few) brunch will always have a special place in my heart - the one meal where food and relaxation can trump any other consideration.

Contributor extraordinaire Maria got married over the weekend and, with the help of a very understanding catering manager, we managed to throw an after-nuptials family brunch during Restaurant Week. The private dining room at Urbana fits 12, and during the peak of the brunch service we were grateful for the sliding doors that separate it from the main dining room (extra tables for Restaurant Week, ceramic tiles and Bottomless Bellinis generate an atmosphere that, while usually appreciated, were grating my sleep-deprived, slightly hungover self on this particular outing).

Our reservation was for 1 PM, so our group fell on both sides of the brunch divide - hamburgers and Chicken Caesar Salad for some, breakfast items for the rest of us, and coffee all around. The Bottomless Bellini (with refills all through Brunch until 3 PM) is still a steal at $16: a selection of fresh juices (favorites include passion fruit and strawberry, while the Pear is not for the faint of palate) topped with sparkling wine (an Italian Prosecco, Montelliana, with a mineral content that makes it ideal for mixing). Through years of practice (our extended neighborhood and all) Maria is particularly adept at creating creative concoctions. Tables of 4 or more get to keep the bottle table-side.

For their first brunch as a married couple, the newlyweds had classic menu items - a three egg omelette with everything minus the chorizo for the groom, and the Challah French Toast with a side of bacon for the bride who, despite her best efforts, always orders the same thing. The stomach, like the heart, wants what it wants, and Sunday was no exception. There's something about the crunch from the griddle and the acidity of the strawberry compote paired with the maple syrup that conspires to make this a great dish. As for me - I skipped the Bellinis (Botomless Cup of Coffee did the trick for me that day) and had the blueberry pancakes with bananas and a side of eggs. The eggs can come in any style but I chose scrambled, slightly runny, and doused with the hot sauce I requested. The pancakes are fantastic - fluffy, and with just a touch of blueberry. The banana slices are placed on top, and the dish could easily do without them. But at least you can use them to tell yourself you re having two servings of fruit, and conveniently forget to account for the warm maple syrup. Our server, Dana, heroically handled the sliding door and our floating head count to make this a very happy close to the festivities.

Urbana on Urbanspoon
Urbana Restaurant and Wine Bar at Hotel Palomar Dupont Circle
2121 P St NW
Washington, DC 20037
(202) 956-6650

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