Today, I’m ashamed to say, I suffered a massive First World problem. A problem so obscene, so soaked in shame, that I am nearly embarrassed to tell you. I sincerely recommend that, if you aren’t already, you take a seat and a deep breath. Perhaps a swig of water, too. Ok, here it goes. My friend and I were having a problem deciding on where to go to brunch. There, I said it. After sitting on the decision for over 12 hours we decided on Kingbird Restaurant in the freshly renovated Watergate Hotel. Yes, THAT Watergate Hotel. The home of shady activities, mischief and abject hooliganism of all varieties. I loved it.
The hotel recently received a $250 million facelift and I’m pretty sure that the theme is “modern, Mad Men chic”. It’s old, but it’s new. It’s retro, but it’s modern. It’s a perfect, bubbling mixture of generational normalities. Being there almost makes you want to commit a crime. Just almost.
Kingbird offers a bottomless bellini/sangria/bloody Marie option for brunch, which I am often very skeptical about. Usually anything involving alcohol that is proceeded with the word “bottomless” is code for “a whole lot of cheap juice with a splash of even cheaper sparkling wine that we bought out of the back of a utility truck when it was on clearance”. But I can admit when I’ve been bamboozled, and I certainly was when I took my first sip of my strawberry bellini.
I was genuinely surprised that I not only didn’t hate this bellini, I really liked it. Seriously, I genuinely enjoyed each and every sip. It was slightly sweet, but still had a little zippy, tartness.
We also ordered the sangria, which had a more notable tangy flavor. It was clean and refreshing, almost the perfect antonym to the sweeter bellini.
I was in between two entrees, which happens to me more often than I would like. I was having a difficult time deciding between the lobster and potato quiche and the omelette with chanterelle mushrooms, fontina cheese and bacon. After a long, internal spat, I ultimately decided on the omelette. It was mostly due to the fact that I had quiche the day before, and was essentially trying to save myself from myself.
Omelettes are very difficult egg dishes to get right, which is why I rarely attempt to make them at home. They have to be perfectly set on the outside, just cooked on the inside, and should not have a single shred of brown on them. To be honest, I truly find brown omelettes just as offensive as finding a vein in my shrimp. It probably means that someone was either careless or uninformed, which are two attributes anyone in the restaurant industry should probably rid themselves of.
This omelette was truly beautiful. A whole new world. A dazzling plate I never knew. It had a few dots of sweet corn, salty bacon, and earthy mushrooms. The mushrooms were chanterelle, which I believe to be the King of the mushroom kingdom (I’ve always thought that morels were the High Priest). It was rolled, which takes quite a bit of technical skill, and perfectly cooked. There was not a single sighting of brown, folks. Our waitress even asked how I would like my omelette cooked, which I was genuinely surprised about. They really care about you at Kingbird. I felt honored and privileged.
My friend ordered the brisket hash, which came recommended by our waitress (along with the burger. Seriously the burger comes with triple-fried french fries, and the last fry is in duck fat. DUCK FAT, DAMMIT). I can only say that it looked like a plate of holiness, topped with two beautifully poached eggs.
In order to justify ordering another cocktail, we opted to split a dessert. It’s only right.
Yes, an adult popsicle. It was mint ice cream and chocolate ice cream, dusted with chocolate and served alongside a crunchy brittle.
Kingbird is the perfect definition of modern, yet timeless grandeur. The food is recognizable, but crafty and unique. Think about it. Omelettes are familiar. Brisket is familiar. Popsicles are familiar. But omelettes, brisket and popsicles at Kingbird are curious. They are quirky, and transformative and just perfectly eccentric. Precisely the reason why they belong in the Watergate Hotel.
2650 Virginia Ave
Washington, DC 20037