Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Roof Terrace Restaurant Brunch Review

Step One... the Basics

Does anything rival a night out at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts? How about some time earlier... say brunch? After experiencing the latter at the Roof Terrace Restaurant, I'm here to tell you yes... Yes, yes, yes! The Kitchen Buffet Brunch (open most Sundays, 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM) is yet another reason to visit DC's crowning jewel... only this time, your most rewarded senses will be your tastebuds.

Located on the top floor, the Roof Terrace Restaurant is an oasis of sorts... a posh, yet inviting break from its musical and theatrical surroundings. Enter through a dark, intimate bar area; and you're immediately greeted by two hosts (both impeccably polite, and eager to please) one of whom escorts you into a stately dining room. The main dining area is both spacious and proudly old-school... with a tip of the hat to a time of elegant meals and even more elegant people.

Sweeping views are available from almost every seat, with live music and an air of deliciousness throughout. Towards the front, a decadent dessert bar and an omelette station... to the back, entrance into RTR's kitchen, where the magic happens. In an interesting twist, this is where the buffet is served... allowing for lots of room to move about (and tons of choices.)

Prime Rib to die for

Speaking of choices, allow me to apologize for the sheer volume of food I consumed in one sitting. I could tell you it was due to my diligent desire to inform; but who's kidding who? I dare you not to match me, bite for bite and plate for plate.

To be honest, I left some food on said plates. Not for lack of tastiness mind you (although not everything is perfect) but in the hopes that I could trick my body into finding more room for the next round.

Plain Omelette, Crispy Bacon & more Sausage

On to the food, which roundly impressed. My first plate uncovered an assortment of fresh fruit, warm, flavorful potatoes and A+ pork sausage. My first batch of bacon was a bit on the cold side, and fattier than hoped for; but the next batch was downright spectacular. Choose carefully, and you won't be disappointed. Upon closer inspection, I discovered different levels of doneness (this is a buffet after all.)

My second plate centered around two choice slices of Prime Rib. Sliced to order by one of several attending chefs, you'd be hard pressed to find anything more gorgeous or sinful to eat. If you're thinking about going vegan... this brunch will change your mind. I like mine MEDIUM RARE to MEDIUM, but chef offers it to your desired temperature.

Seafood Spectacular

Plate #3 consisted of a trip to the omelette station, near the front of house. I went simple (plain with diced tomatoes) but there are lots of choices including cheese, mushrooms, onions and peppers. Don't expect much in terms of conversation, but that allows for an early peak at the dessert station instead: Hmm, I'll take cheesecake and donut bites over idle chit chat any day of the week... especially Sunday. My omelette was ready in about two minutes, and was cooked perfectly. I added a few more breakfast meats to my plate, and went back to "work."

My aforementioned second order of bacon bordered on AMAZING. Properly crisp and salty, these strips were well worth the extra second or two to dig around for. Two more pork sausage links completed the trifecta of goodness; although I'd be remiss, if I didn't point out a link of overly sweet chicken sausage... my worst bite of the day.

Fresh-Squeezed Orange Juice

Each Buffet comes with your choice of a glass of sparkling wine or Mimosa, and additional beverages are available as well... including some of the freshest orange juice, I've ever tasted. This seems as good a time as ever to talk about Mr. Gerald Pratt, my waiter extraordinaire. You have to love a waiter who carries a personalized business card; and trust me, you'll want to remember him. He was absolutely wonderful... Friendly, professional, and almost ninja-like in removing plates (perhaps one of the most important parts of a successful buffet.) He checked in on me at least half-a-dozen times; yet never once, at an inopportune moment.

Service overall? "A" for astounding. My table was directly in front of a mirrored wall, allowing me the opportunity to "watch the room." Everywhere, diners with happy faces... and always close-by, a staff member to keep it that way. Also noticeable, the General Manager working the room... stopping by tables to say hello and making rounds to ensure everything was tip-top. Impressive.

Custom Bread Basket

Speaking of impressive, take a peak above and below... at a custom bread basket plate that barely shows half the offerings (great mini biscuits, cinnamon wheels and fruit danishes) and a small plate of desserts, strategically assembled and packed by yours truly: I only wish the plates were bigger. I managed to "pile on" one each - macaron (light crunch, sweet filling) carrot cake, red velvet cake with luscious cream cheese frosting, chocolate mouse and crème brûlée. The mouse disappointed... neither silky or sweet; but the brûlée was perfect, and worth having seconds of (or even thirds.)

Brunch by definition is a combination of breakfast and lunch; and RTR doesn't disappoint in satisfying fans of the latter (especially if you like seafood.) I didn't have room for much more; but couldn't pass up an opportunity for crab legs, two types of shelled shrimp and fresh oysters. Italian meats and still more seafood are also available.

Dessert anyone?

Believe it or not, I left lots off my plates - Gorgeous assorted salads, numerous cheeses, two types of eggs Benedict, salmon, pancakes, waffles... Enough to fill a second brunch. Hmm, sounds like a great idea to me. Brunch for adults costs $39.95 ($20 for kids 12 and under.) Final seatings are at 1:45. Special events (Easter, Mother's Day) have different prices and times. Reservations are strongly recommended: Call (202) 416-8555 or visit opentable.com.