Sunday, November 10, 2013

Cedar Restaurant Food Review

Eggs-Any Style

You have to question the sanity of someone who orders breakfast and lunch at the same meal. Then again, is it all that crazy to order two dishes at a great spot such as Cedar Restaurant in Penn Quarter? Some folks order appetizers... I order two entrees. Besides, how does anyone manage to choose between eggs and burgers anyhow?

Thank Heaven for brunch. I love to see talented chefs (a la Aaron McCloud) work magic with something simple (eggs, bacon & toast.) I started off with Eggs Any-Style (garlic roasted potatoes, grilled country bread and applewood smoked bacon) for just $10. Next (I wasn't kidding about ordering two dishes) I ordered a Burger (Roseda Farms dry-aged beef) with parmesan frites (you can ask for regular fries too) for $12. Toss in a Red Burro mocktail ($3.50) and I was ready to eat!

Beef Burger with Parmesan Frites

Breakfast didn't disappoint. Eggs were fluffy and perfectly cooked. Potatoes, wonderful & crispy. The bacon? Literally sublime. I'd pay anything to sit there all day and chow down on the best bacon in town (yes, it was that good.) Even better, Cedar's butter... Butter? Yes, I comment on all parts of the meal, and this butter was just as good as the kind back home (Ireland.) Sneak in two more slices of bacon, and this could be the best breakfast in DC.

Service was impeccable: Water refills, frequent check-ins, plates taken away promptly... They don't miss a beat here. Actually, they did miss something: My red burro took more than 10 minutes to arrive (after my breakfast was served.) Even worse, it didn't taste at all of blackberry puree, lime and ginger beer (I'd sampled it at last week's Metro Cooking DC, and fell in love) but rather tomato juice and something else. Luckily, my burger arrived and I was once again transfixed (and distracted.) More on the drink later.

You won't find many burgers that look as nice (grill marks, visible juiciness) as Cedar's, and the parmesan frites were sensational. Good looks aside, my burger needed more some seasoning and the bun was cold (despite grill marks.) Still solid, but a bit of a downer after such a great breakfast. P.S. Nice pickles, beautifully cut and crunchy.

I like the atmosphere at Cedar. It begins with a trip downstairs, where the space opens up to a simple, yet elegant dining area. No pretense here; and even half-full, there's hardly any background noise... save the occasional rattling of the barkeep's shaker tin. Speaking of, when I received my bill, I noticed a charge of $10 for a Bloody Mary. I let my server Carlos (nice guy, very professional) know, and he immediately took care of it. The bartender also came over, apologized and offered to make me a Red Burro. Sadly, I was pressed for time and couldn't accept; but I look forward to trying it upon my next visit. Did I mention they serve "Chicken and Waffles?" Brunch rules!

Atmosphere: B (Soothing space.)
Burger: B- (Good quality meat; but lack of seasoning, and a cold bun are hard to overlook.)
Fries: B+ (Yum. Parmesan = smart add.)
Breakfast: A (Bacon, bacon, bacon!)
Service: B+ (Top notch. Drink mishaps happen... Didn't take away from my meal.)
Value: B
Overall: B (Great breakfast, and more affordable than you might think.)