I was in Washington, DC around St. Patrick’s Day and had the chance to stop by Old Ebbitt Grill for brunch. I spent several years in Washington, but I didn’t spend much time at Old Ebbitt Grill, although it’s considered a DC classic. The brunch menu featured several specials for St. Patrick’s Day, which my friends and I tried out.
We decided to split the grilled pizza to start. If you think spinach, roasted fennel, portabello mushrooms, garlic cheese sauce, and mozzarella cheese can be a bit much… well, you’re right. The garlic sauce was overdone, the mozzarella cheese was just overkill. I will say that the crust was nice and crispy, just the way I like it, but the pizza was so heavy overall that it was really hard to enjoy.
My main course was the Eggs Galway (without the fried oysters, natch). This was creamy too, but the flavors were much more balanced. The eggs and English muffin were a good base, and the “emerald sauce”, which was a sort of creamy pesto, went well with the eggs and spinach, and the cheesy grits were a good complement. The creamy grits were a contrast to the crispy toasted muffin; the pesto and eggs went nicely with the muffin, too. And some spinach made me feel like I was actually eating something healthy!
For dessert, I had the butterscotch blondie sundae. I’m not sure why I chose this; it sounded like it would be dense and heavy, and it didn’t disappoint. The ice cream helped a bit, but only a bit. This was a slice of blondie about the size of a piece of pie, but much denser.
Overall, the Old Ebbitt Grill was a bit of a disappointment at brunch. Every course was heavy, and the starter and dessert were just too much (even too much to share). In fairess, this may have just been a coincidence; the hummus probably would have been a lighter starter, for example, and I didn’t have to get the blondie sundae for dessert. The main course did strike the right balance, though; perhaps it holds some promise. The Old Ebbitt Grill is an institution, all right — but come for the history, location and people-watching, not the food.
The Old Ebbitt Grill’s St. Patrick’s Day brunch menu is below. (Return to the body of the post.)
(Picture at the top of this post from http://entertainingviewsfromcinti.blogspot.in/2011/05/tradition-reigns-next-to-treasury-at.html )