Neighborhood: U Street
Fresh off a house party that rocked maybe just a little too hard, Official Roommates of DCWD Rajistan and Talia and Official Girlfriend of DCWD Texas stumbled along with me down the street (okay, so maybe I did all the stumbling) to grab some brunch at neighborhood spot Creme Cafe.
Creme is a nice low-key restaurant with a post-industrial feel grafted onto a more traditional dining area. On the one hand, there's exposed concrete, exposed floors, and exposed vents along the ceiling. But these characteristics border mustard yellow walls, honey-colored wood dividers and furniture, and large framed mirrors. It's hip but relaxing.
Seating is mostly two-tops in combination, with a row of half-booths to one side and a small bar to the other. In the front of the restaurant is a few circular group tables and high bar seating.
Creme had been recommended to me by Official Friend of DCWD G in large part because of the five different eggs Benedict on the menu. As a noted lover of eggs Benny, I was glad to see the variety, but as a hangover victim at 2pm on a Sunday, it might not have been the best idea. Loathe as I was though to deny myself the pleasure of my favorite breakfast food, I thought to balance it out with some grits. Buttery and white, they were definitely a welcome treat.
Despite my better judgment, I went ahead and pulled my normal stunt of ordering the most complicated (and therefore bad for the stomachache) dish on the menu: The Louisianan - eggs benedict but with the Canadian bacon replaced with a mix of sauteed shrimp, andouille, bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes covered in a tabasco hollandaise. The result was something in the middle; a decent mix of spicy and interesting flavors and some good kick from the hollandaise, but an utterly cooked through egg. In fact, for such a brunch spot, all of our poached eggs came cooked through that day... not a good sign.
Texas had the Chesapeake, a benedict with crab meat hash replacing the ham, topped with an Old Bay hollandaise. Between the two, I preferred mine, but the effect was rather the same: a likable mix of taste (well, as long as you like Old Bay), but with the ignominy of a miscooked egg spoiling the party. Had it been better, the dish would've been mildly reminiscent of a breakfast on the beach.
Between the two of them, Rajistan and Talia split the wild mushroom Benedict, and the buttermilk pancakes topped with bananas foster. As you can probably tell, the Benedict had a trademark suffering, and there's something to be said for the critical role that meat plays in any eggs Benny. That being said, it was an average replacement for the vegetarian.
On the other hand, the pancakes were phenomenal. I've said before that pancakes falls into that category of food labeled "easily-made-myself-but-it-somehow-tastes-better-when-a-restaurant-makes-it."This was one of those opportunities. Rich and buttery without being too heavy, the sweetness and glaze from the bananas foster was more than enough flavor; all of us agreed that syrup was wholly unnecessary.
Classic case of wanting a restaurant to be better than it was. For a brunch spot in my new hood, I can see myself going here all the time. But only if they replace whoever is poaching the eggs.
Food Rating: ** 1/2 (out of 5)
Date Rating: 2.5 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code: Casual
Bar Rating: Quiet Drinks
Vibe: Energetic to Noisy
Cost: $$ (out of 5) ($25-$50 for two)
Pairing: Grab a kickball or a wiffleball bat, and head to Harrison Playground around the way for some elementary school fun.