Saturday, May 25, 2013

Harriet's Family Restaurant Food Review

Bargain Buffet

It's not easy to find a buffet anything in the nation's capital. The idea of unlimited food for a set price is fast becoming a culinary rarity (not counting CiCi's Pizza of course.) Lucky for us (breakfast lovers) Harriet's Family Restaurant at 436 11th Street still offers a whopper of a deal... an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet from 6:30 to 11:30 AM, 7 days a week for just $10.95. Time to loosen my belt.

Open until 11:30, Harriet's offers one of the latest breakfasts in DC. I walked in around 10:30, and took a seat directly across from the buffet area (I like to be close to the action.) The selection is impressive: Scrambled eggs, bacon, french toast, chipped beef & biscuits, potatoes, two dry cereals, fresh fruit, three different kinds of bread and your choice of apple or orange juice. A for choice. C- for quality.

Harriet's is smack in the middle of downtown, but I've yet to visit when the dining area is full. I was joined by about a dozen other customers; so I had no trouble perusing the buffet choices unencumbered (nobody likes having someone looking over their shoulder.) I stayed clear of the french toast (50-60 slices, stacked on top of each other hardly looks appetizing) and focused in on the basics... bacon, eggs & potatoes. The bacon required some careful picking (half of it was way undercooked and loaded with fat.) The eggs looked nice, but sat atop a liquid base that curbed my enthusiasm. I like my eggs runny, not soaked. The potatoes were way overcooked and hard. I wouldn't try chipped beef, if you put a gun to my head: The biscuits looked like hockey pucks. One notable omission... sausage links (which oddly enough, are advertised on their website as part of the buffet.)

That takes care of the hot items; but that's only half the buffet. You can also have hard boiled eggs, danishes, fruit (apples & bananas) or saran-wrapped english muffins. I opted for toast (great bread! and I love toasting it myself.) I also had a 6 oz. cup of apple and orange juice (from concentrate.) I was offered coffee when I sat down, but passed. That offer was the only interaction with an employee, until you walk up to the register and pay your bill (you don't even get a check.)

I was disappointed with the overall quality of my food; but it's hard to argue with Harriet's unparalleled value. 12 bucks (including tax) and a $2 tip for a potential mountain of food. When you consider the bacon alone (I had 8 slices!) it's a great deal. It's a good place for the family, tourists, or hungry others. I've broken the bank in years past, but took it easy today. I still made out like a bandit.