The Source by Wolfgang Puck
The Source’s Saturday "dim sum brunch," served from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., isn't an everyday bacon-and-eggs experience. Take a friend or two so you can order everything on the menu. Standouts include the American Kobe sliders with homemade pickles (they serve a regular-sized Kobe burger at lunch too), any of the dumplings, Szechuan “dan dan” noodles, the pork meatball banh mi with country pâté and pickled jalapeno, and the lobster and shrimp spring roll with honey ten-spice dipping sauce. The Source is one of the most impressive brunches in D.C. if you're looking for something different.
Cashion's Eat Place
Cashion’s can feel a bit out of place in the $1 Jumbo Slice neighborhood of Adams Morgan, and while the dinner entrees here start at $24, the brunch menu is more budget-friendly. You can order eggs, bacon, and potatoes if you’re feeling traditional, but we recommend the pork hash with onion, scallion, cilantro, green chilies, breakfast potatoes, and a poached egg ($15). Salty, tender shreds of pork and still-crisp potatoes are all mixed into a pico de gallo-like salad on a bed of pureed avocado and topped off with a delicate and oozy egg. Reservations recommended; Cashion’s is quite popular.
Hank's Oyster Bar
Hank’s is our happy hour go-to for barbecued oysters and a glass of wine, and we're fans of brunch here too. You can’t go wrong with anything containing seafood, like the crispy shrimp po’ boy with cole slaw and cayenne and the enormous Hangtown Fry, a pan-sized egg cake, much like a Spanish tortilla, filled with oysters, bacon, and capers and topped with a tangy dill-mustard tartar sauce. The shrimp was light, crisp, tender, and piled inside a soft yet toasty roll with a red wine vinegar-dressed slaw on the side. Bonuses include the $5 (and great) mimosas and Bloody Marys, Goldfish crackers before the meal, and complimentary chunks of chocolate after. They have two locations: Alexandria and Dupont Circle, which has prime sidewalk seating.
Locolat is where you go when you want a great brunch without making a big fuss over it. They offer paninis, salads, and omelets, but the thing to get here is the waffle. This restaurant is actually owned and operated by Belgians, and the quality of their waffles reflects that—crisp and light savory waffles or soft and chewy sweet Belgian waffles. Choose a flavor and a topping. We ordered ours with grilled asparagus and Parmesan, but you could also get prosciutto and Parmesan or Flemish beer beef stew. The savory waffles come with a side salad, and the whole plate is dressed with a light, lemony hollandaise. Don’t skip the European hot chocolate if you’ve got room.
While generally known for their incredible cocktails, The Passenger offers quality snacks to go alongside. It’s a toss-up what’s better, the booze or the brunch. One of the best (or worst?) parts about brunch is that it doesn’t start until 2 p.m. on Sunday and lasts until 11 p.m. This ensures a noticeable absence of baby strollers and young families, which, if you're in hangover mode, might be very welcome. Try the chilaquiles, which are made up of pan-fried tortilla strips topped with a smoky, spicy salsa, a runny fried egg, scallions, and crumbly Mexican cheese. The biscuits and gravy come with biscuits that are more like cakey corn muffins than biscuits, and sausage gravy that's creamy, porky, and rich, and the perfect way to prepare your stomach for another drink.
Rustik was one of the first new restaurants in the blossoming Bloomingdale neighborhood, where they’re most known for pizzas from their rotating, wood-fired oven. Weekend brunch, served Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., offers creative cocktails, frittatas, daily specials like lemon-blueberry ricotta pancakes, and "other stuff." Skip the frittata section and head for the “stuff,” especially the cheddar grit cakes topped with marinara and mozzarella and served alongside two fried eggs and a salad. I can’t stop thinking about the two cheesy, salty, crispy grit cakes, and would have happily replaced the salad with two more. Also worth ordering: the cornmeal pancakes with pears, mascarpone, and maple syrup; the chorizo hash; and the biscuits and gravy.
You can't really do the Tabard Inn brunch without ordering their legendary cinnamon sugar donuts. It's a quaint, homey brunch that always charms out-of-town guests. The beginning bread basket may be the best part of the meal, and every table gets a different one (ours had mini lemon-blueberry and banana-nut muffins). While most of the mains aren't out of the ordinary, they’re made with care and quality ingredients. The scrambled eggs with cream cheese and chives are the textbook definition of perfect eggs—creamy, light, and soft—and come with roasted potatoes and incredibly porky housemade Toulouse sausage that transports you to a French country farm. The waffles, served on Sundays only, come with a warm apple and walnut topping that is so far from a syrupy IHOP topping. Reservations strongly recommended, and make them at least two weeks in advance.