Monday, June 17, 2013

Eli's Restaurant Food Review

Eli's Breakfast Platter

When Eli's Restaurant first opened back in 2004, I hardly noticed a change from the previous eatery (whose name escapes me at the moment.) After all, a burger and fries is... a burger and fries. Yet, there's a lot more to Eli's than meets the eye. I've been back a few times since, and as in prior visits... it has its pluses and minuses.

First, the positives. Eli's is conveniently located on 20th & N Streets, NW (slightly more than a block away from the Dupont Circle Metro.) It's also casual and inviting (depending on who greets you.) Lucky for me, I latched onto Clerk #4 (I have no idea why I never learned her name... she was a real sweetheart.) She brought me to a table directly in front of one of several portable air conditioners (more on that later.) Unlike some of my fellow diners, I was taken care of quickly and efficiently. My eyes lit up when she confirmed that breakfast was served all day. Score!

I ordered Eli's Breakfast Platter for $9.99 and a Diet "whatever." Based on her enthusiastic recommendation, I opted for a Diet Dr. Brown's Black Cherry soda (in a can) instead: It's a mere $.50 more than a Diet Coke, and added a bit of excitement to the meal. She also dropped off a glass of water to get me started.

Food prep is a bit on the slow side, but the giant portions more than make up for it. You get a mountain of food for 10 bucks (and an extra side of toast on the house... Thank you! Thank you!) My plate was a mixed bag... delicious home fries, the world's largest mini blueberry pancakes (three instead of two) and tasty (though slightly overcooked) scrambled eggs. Unfortunately kosher sausage amounts to the equivalent of a "hot dog" cut up in four pieces (one bite and I gagged.) The toast (rye, I think) was tasteless and Eli's pads of butter oddly enough had very little butter in them. Overall however, a darn good breakfast... especially for dinner (my new thing.)

As good great as my server was, I noticed quite a difference in the rest of the room. The restaurant filled up quickly, but the mood seemed somber to me. For starters, it's dark inside and the heat was a big no-no (thanks again to Clerk #4 for plopping me next to an A/C.) I also had the burden of a young couple with an infant seated directly behind me. To be fair, the baby made much less noise than the disinterested father who talked business on his cell phone, while his wife and kid waited (and waited, and waited.)

Speaking of waiting, a lot of tables had to wait quite a while to get served: (Outside of Clerk #4) the servers I observed, appeared either grumpy or slow. Definitely something to work on. Despite the subpar atmosphere, tables were simple and clean with a glass top over a white tablecloth. Plus, they had a full house with folks waiting at the door just before 8. I hope they got my waitress.