Sunday, October 26, 2014

Café Dupont Brunch Review

Two Country Farm Eggs Any Style

Brunch and the DMV seem to go hand-in-hand; and despite my reluctance to hop aboard the bandwagon (I prefer breakfast) it's high time to "get with the program." Thank goodness for establishments like Café Dupont at The Dupont Circle Hotel: If I have to dine inside a full house, at least give me good food. Café Dupont? Mission accomplished.

I arrived for a 10:00 AM reservation, and the dining room was already at capacity. I was given a normally ideal table with a window view; but unfortunately, it was wedged in between three tables with children (since when do kids like brunch?) Thankfully, the staff at Café Dupont believes in fast and friendly service, with an emphasis on fast. My server Kristina introduced herself, and got me going with a glass of orange juice ($4) which took less than two minutes to get to me (via Kristina, not a runner... I appreciate that.) Better still, the friendly Kristina appeared to sense my eagerness to order/eat quickly, and took my order then & there (I love observant people, don't you?)

Great toast. Even better presentation.

Without skipping a beat, I placed an order for Two Country Farm Eggs Any Style (scrambled) with applewood smoked bacon and pork sausage ($11 + $4 for the extra meat.) It comes with toast (white) an herb tomato and some breakfast potatoes. I'd read all sorts of positive feedback regarding Café Dupont's Cinnamon Bun ($7) so I decided to try one for myself. Clever Kristina continued to impress, asking me if I wanted both dishes at the same time. Usually, the server assumes (often incorrectly) to send everything at the same time. Since Cinnamon Buns aren't in danger of getting cold, I asked for all at once.

Café Dupont's dining room is quite attractive; although I couldn't help but wish for warmer weather, so I could eat outdoors (they have ample outdoor seating.) Popular restaurants usually have two main things in common... good food and loud surroundings. The noise level here was very high (almost unbearable, when one of the aforementioned kids started crying.) By the way, why are these kids crying anyhow? Free food, and odds are... a free ride to and from their rent-free digs. Can you tell I don't have kids? Eventually, some of the tables cleared out, and I was able to concentrate on good food.

Cinnamon Bun

Speaking of, said food arrived in about five minutes, which is quite impressive for a crowded Sunday brunch (executive chef David Fritsche runs a tight ship.) Sensational toast (nice & thick) arrived in a smart looking stand, along with a generous knob of creamy butter on a separate plate. I realize toast isn't first & foremost on most foodies' minds; but this is some really fine toast. OJ was fresh squeezed and yummy; and my Country Farm Eggs plate looked and tasted very good. Kudos for delivering moist eggs, which stayed perfectly in tact. Someone in the kitchen makes 'em just like Gordon Ramsay, and I heartily approve.

Orange Juice

As for the meat, color me super-impressed with two juicy, succulent pork sausage links; but relatively unimpressed at four fatty, thin slices of bacon. Applewood smoked bacon is this close to replacing "organic" as the most overused term on a menu; and I'd gladly skip it altogether in favor of a nice thick slice of Sizzlean. The bacon was still sufficiently salty and tasty for most, I suppose; but nobody (not even a nice place like Café Dupont) is allowed to mess with my breakfast meats. Next time, I'll opt for Canadian Bacon (or stick to just one meat, shudder.) Potatoes were exquisite, but small in number (sue me, I'm Irish) and size (tiny dices.) Sadly, the Cinnamon Bun turned out to be a bit of a downer. It looked great, beautifully tucked inside its cast iron pan; but the icing wasn't sweet, and I found it very doughy. Perhaps a good substitute for bread, but hardly a sinful dessert.

Overall, Café Dupont impressed on a number of fronts. Service was top-notch (manager Martin popped up at just the right moment, to present me with new flatware and a napkin; and Kristina was nothing short of amazing throughout.) The food came out nice & hot (plus really fast) and I felt appreciated and valued as a customer. Yes, it's noisy; but that's difficult for management to control. I arrived too early to delight in Chef David's Pig Roast; but I'll catch up soon enough. In case you want to take part in this Sunday-only event, it starts at 12:30, and it goes fast. Don't be shy. As for my shyness to brunch in general? Café Dupont gives me reason to reevaluate.