Instead of a traditional review this week, Tom Sietsema takes a look at three DC establishments serving brunches that go beyond your typical omelets. The critic starts off at The Source, where he has a few quibbles but mostly comes away wanting more: "Scott Drewno’s soft bao buns cradling crackling duck slices, cool cucumber and intense hoisin sauce deserve a wider audience. The chef’s crisp chive dumplings excited by Chinese mustard ought to be served beyond the glass walls of Wolfgang Puck’s sleek gift to Penn Quarter."
Sietsema is then charmed by the broad menu at Kellari Taverna, with its French toast, omelets, lamb chops and a seafood sampler featuring shrimp and squid: "If there’s a more civilized but unstuffy place to ease into or out of the weekend, I have yet to discover it."
Finally, Sietsema stops at The Passenger for its industry-friendly Hangover Brunch that starts at 2 p.m. and goes on until 11 p.m. Thanks to mixologist Derek Brown, the critic says the brunchy drinks here are "every bit as interesting as the cooking" — such as the Red-Eye with its tomato juice and beer combo. As for the food, "Duran’s most original dish is one his mother fed him back home in California: fried tortilla strips tossed with a tomato salsa that’s fueled with two kinds of chilies. The zippy heap (go, Mom!) is topped with queso fresco and a fried egg and finished with a fan of avocado." [WaPo]
Todd Kliman checks out the Cajun fare at Bayou and determines that the po'boys are not fit for the po' and one of the best dishes on the menu is the veggie meatloaf. But the critic says he prefers to spend his calories early in the meal on a savory crawfish cheesecake: "It's so insanely rich that it's hard to eat more than a few bites, but it's among the most interesting, and satisfying, beginnings to a meal you're going to find anywhere in the city at the moment." [Washingtonian]
The City Paper says it's a shame that Sorriso doesn't generate more buzz for its Italian fare: "Like the comfort food that pervades so many restaurant menus these days, the fare at Sorriso is simple home cooking from what's home to the Polles. It's why my own parents request we eat there every time they visit. And it's why it resonates with neighborhood folks, who keep it in their dining loop."
Photo courtesy The Source