We’re going to start with a dare. We TRIPLE DOG dare you to find a better brunch deal than Medium Rare in DC. We’re betting you can’t, and if you can then perhaps brunch is on us (maybe).
Medium Rare, owned by Mark Bucher and Tom Gregg, is known for their set dinner menu of house made bread, mixed green salad, culotte steak with special sauce and double-fried, hand-cut frites for a whole whopping $19.75. These are also the guys that offered free Thanksgiving turkey frying. Being the tightwads we are, sometimes we fall in love with the price before the food.
Tucked away on Barracks Row (there’s also a location in Cleveland Park) in a wonderfully quaint and comfortable brick building, Medium Rare is more of a diner experience than fine dining – at least at brunch time (we haven’t gone to dinner yet). Packed to the gills, this place knows how to get diners in and out quickly while doting on their boozing customers. By that we mean, this brunch is $23 for UNLIMITED (yup – you read that correctly) brunch drinks: Bloody Marys, Mimosas, and Screw Drivers. If you’re an abstainer, coffee and orange juice are also unlimited. Did we mention this also includes two courses of food plus bread service?
Food and drink orders are written down on the white branded paper tablecloths and waiters zip to and from the kitchen in record time. Done with the first mimosa? They’ll probably notice before you finish that last sip and ask if you’re ready for another.
Although the house salad came highly recommended, we already knew we were heading in the parfait direction. We like to pretend we’re healthy, but not THAT healthy. Out came a goblet loaded with vanilla yogurt, dried fruit and granola. Devoured in record time.
Finally it was time to choose which entree we wanted. Thankfully there aren’t an overabundance of options. We had already decided one of us had to get a steak dish, and one of us needed to order their French Toast and Logan’s Sausage - made with the house bread and soaked overnight. Since we were both eyeing the Medium Rare’s Famous Benedict (sliced Steak, portobello mushroom, “the perfect poached egg”, secret sauce hollandaise, it was a no brainer.
We kind of have a thing about poached eggs. More often than not we’ve found that people struggle to cook one just right – leaving the yolk over cooked, or the whites still snotty. Medium Rare’s poached eggs were one hundred percent spot on perfect. The steak seemed well done (we were hoping for true medium rare fashion), but that didn’t deter us from consuming the entire plate of food while coming to the conclusion that any errands we needed to get done that day were to be postponed until after a necessary post-brunch nap. We were suffering from the “itis”.
We also have a thing about french toast. Because it’s one of those easy make-at-home dishes it’s rarely something we care to order. We even know how to spiff it up by stuffing it or using different breads. There has only been one french toast that we’ve formed an attachment to in DC. Medium Rare’s french toast now makes number two. In all fairness we never said we were french toast monogamous. Served piping hot with powdered sugar, fresh berries and a mild flavored sausage (just the way we like it), the exterior of the toast had a wonderful crisp to it, with a soft center. Maple syrup is hardly necessary and in some ways makes the dish too sweet. Failing miserably at avoiding an overly bloated feeling, we opted to take the majority of it home.
By the end of our meal, we were saying, “We’re definitely coming back with friends.” It’s just too good of a deal to pass up, and a great way to save those greens for more special occasions while getting away from the bustle of the mundane work week. Everyone needs a mimosa (or three) on the weekend afterall.
515 8th Street SE
Washington, DC 20003
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