Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe

I’ll begin my thoughts about Kramerbooks & Afterwords with a positive note, which is the bookstore component. I actually really love the bookstore, and have spent many an afternoon nosing my way through the different sections of the store, stealing samples of different books. I happened to buy one of my favorite books, Neither Here Nor There, from Kramerbooks. After having been to the bookstore so many times, I naturally noticed the Afterwords Cafe that is settled in the back of the store. It seemed to always be crowded and buzzy, so my friend and I thought to go there for brunch. It was a poor choice. My friend and I stumbled into the cafe at around 2:30pm on Sunday for a late brunch. While we were skimming over the menu, we both happened to notice that the mimosas on the brunch menu were a cool $3 a pop, and each mimosa after that was only $1.50. Therefore, in the name of our deprecated bank accounts, we ordered a round. I opted for the traditional mimosa, while my friend ordered the strawberry mimosa.

kramers1Regular Mimosa

kramers2
Strawberry Mimosa

Ok, I’ll put it this way, I really have nobody to blame but myself. It is probably unreasonable to have any sort of optimistic expectation for a mimosa that costs less than a bar of soap. After a single sip of my mimosa I quickly came to the conclusion that I was drinking a glass of orange juice, with what was likely accompanied with a thimbles-worth of cheap prosecco.

My friend agreed when it came to her strawberry mimosa. It was essentially strawberry juice, a snippet of prosecco, and a lone strawberry that sadly drowned at the bottom of her glass.

kramers3

The positive note of the meal was that the food was actually not too shab. I ordered the Mediterranean Vegetarian Omelette, which came stuffed with kalamata olives, spinach, tomatoes and feta cheese. The flavor profiles all worked well together, and I was actually satisfied with my meal. The kalamata olives added a briny piquancy, the tomatoes were sweet, and the thyme added a fresh, herbaceous note. My only slight gripe was the feta cheese, which was a little overly salty which I would assume was due to the quality.

kramers4

My friend opted for the Chesapeake Bay Crab Omelette, which included jumbo lump crab meat, corn, spinach, jack cheese, and was served with a lemon hollandaise. She was also pretty jazzed up about her omelette.

My biggest gripe about Kramerbooks and Afterwords was the service. The service that we received was, and I use this word quite seriously, blasphemous. My friend and I had been seated for at least 10 minutes before someone brought us water, and nobody came to take our order. Not a single person. We were being ignored, which made us inevitably look like a pair of confused, sad simpletons.

After about 15 minutes of being snubbed, I finally flagged down a waitress to take our order. During the meal, I thought it a good idea to order a different drink considering my mimosa tasted like a cold glass of the most dreadful excuse for a brunch cocktail that I’ve ever suffered through  subpar, and I thought to ask our waitress for the menu again. She brought it over, begrudgingly, as though I had asked her to go down the block to buy me a sack of diapers.

When our meal finally came, my friend asked our waitress if she could bring our table a bottle of Sriracha, which was just in eyeshot. She said she would, but proceeded to instead bop around, talking to her friends, yet again ignoring us. Eventually, a different waiter happened to stumble by to ask how we were doing, and my friend had to yet again ask for a bottle of Sriracha.

Good food can be ruined by poor service, which is precisely what happened today. After we finished eating, my friend and I opted to look around in the bookstore before we went our separate ways. We were looking at the cookbook section when we noticed that it was organized in a strange way, as the authors were not organized together. My friend joked that un-organization seemed to be a running theme here.

I took half of my omelette home, because it was pretty sizable. When I got back to my apartment, which is probably about a 15 minute walk, I noticed that my omelette had fallen apart. It looked like an olive/tomato explosion had detonated in my to-go carton.

In closing, the food at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe isn’t actually so terrible. Just make sure to do the following:

  1. Avoid the mimosas. Like the Black Plague.
  2. Expect service that is equivalent in quality to a b-list airline attendant.

Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe
1517 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20036

Grade: D

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