Take Two Advil and Eat Here in the Morning
Restaurants across the city will be offering inventive and elaborate prix-fixe menus to ring in the new year (often with a glass of champagne included). Just scrolling through the menus that have come into my inbox (and the extensive list on OpenTable.com) gets my mouth watering.
But then I think about the way I usually celebrate New Year's Eve. It starts with a carb-loaded dinner . . . and finishes with lots of champagne.
So, in the spirit of speedy recoveries, I called around to find area restaurants that'll be serving brunch on New Year's Day (a Thursday this year). Many of the places listed below won't mind if you roll in all disheveled and unshowered, but I also threw a few nicer spots into the mix. You know, for those of you who are gonna start 2009 on a classy note. Let us know how you're beating the hangover blues in the comments below.
"It's one of our biggest brunch days," says Timothy Ryan, special events manager at the Front Page in Arlington. The Ballston restaurant embraces the hungover crowd by serving its usual brunch menu from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. and dishing out prizes for those decked in the best "Walk of Shame" clothes. The restaurant will also host a re-gifting raffle. Patrons pony up unwanted gifts and enter a free raffle to score someone else's. Bring in three canned goods for the Arlington Food Assistance Center and the restaurant will reward your generosity with 10 percent off your bill. (The restaurant's cousin in the District will also be open from 10 to 3:30 that day, serving its usual brunch buffet for $20.95. Unlimited champagne $3; unlimited mimosas $4.50.)
At nearby Whitlow's on Wilson, expect the typical weekend brunch, complete with a full buffet and the make-your-own-bloody-mary bar. Just across the street, Galaxy Hut opens at 11 a.m. for its lunch shift. (Okay, you won't find breakfast-y items on this menu, but I couldn't resist including it because I'm a sucker for the grilled cheese.)
Alexandria's Buzz Bakery offers Belgian waffles (with toppings), cinnamon rolls, breakfast quiches and paninis. Quench those parched thirsts with bloody marys, mimosas and fresh OJ.
From 10:30 until 2 p.m. in Shirlington, the Carlyle serves the same brunch menu that is so popular on weekends. Try the blue crab fritters for a slice of deliciousness. In Reston, Mon Ami Gabi opens at 10 a.m.
The drag queens make a rare mid-week appearance at Perrys in Adams Morgan on New Year's Day. From 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., enjoy a buffet-style brunch and colorful entertainment. New Years' Day brunchers get a free cocktail.
The brunch at Grand Central, also in Adams Morgan, intimidated me for a while. The restaurant is such an early-20s bar scene at night, so I was reluctant to try the food. But when the line at the Diner was ridiculous one day, I popped in. Glad I did. The brunch here is tasty and dependable -- favorites include a chicken and feta cheese omelet -- and the bloody marys are pretty good. Give it a shot on New Year's Day from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. I can assure you that no one will mind if you rock your sweatpants here and sit at the bar to enjoy all of the college football bowl games. Screwdrivers are $3; bloodys and belinis are $5.
With a motto like "Cures What Ails You," Tonic seems like a natural choice for the holiday. Both locations will open for brunch on New Year's Day. In Mount Pleasant, the restaurant will offer a $20 brunch buffet with eggs, hash browns, fruit and pasta salads, braised pork belly, sliders and some of the best French toast in the city. Bottomless mimosas are an additional $10. In Foggy Bottom, expect the usual brunch menu.
Popovers, egg in a hole and Scottish smoked salmon are on the menu at the Brit-inspired CommonWealth in Columbia Heights. The restaurant opens at 1 p.m. Brightwood Bistro also opens at 1 p.m., serving its usual menu, plus champagne specials and $6 martinis.
Chicken and waffles or poached eggs on crab meat strike your fancy? Opt for U Street's Creme Cafe, where bottomless mimosas and spicy bloody marys go for $16 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Nearby St. Ex will offer its usual brunch fare from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Want a classier brunch date? Try Nage. The restaurant's take on recovery is the Sunday Morning Kill-It Skillet (a pan-full of pomme frites, truffled mac and cheese, chorizo, parmesan cream and a fried egg) in addition to other breakfast goodies. Bottomless mimosas or bloody marys are $15.
Blue Duck Tavern offers an a la carte menu, featuring lump-crab omelets, roast chicken and bloody marys and mimosas from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. From 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Old Ebbitt Grill, take the edge off with a Bloody Maryland, a bloody mary seasoned with Old Bay and garnished with a jumbo shrimp. Ici Urban Bistro, in the Sofitel hotel, will serve its usual French breakfast of Nutella crepes, brioche French toast and other goodies until 2 p.m.
In Bethesda, popular weekend brunch spots like Cafe Deluxe, Austin Grill and Mon Ami Gabi will open at midday with brunch and lunch options, but after a heated office debate, some of us think that your best bet for beating hangovers is at the scruffy Tastee Diner, which serves up diner-style breakfast 24-hours a day, year-round.
In Gaithersburg, Dogfish Head Alehouse opens at 1 p.m. to serve its typical lunch menu of pizzas and sandwiches.
12/23 Update: Both Matchbox locations will open for brunch at 11 a.m. on New Year's Day. As I mentioned in our live discussion a few weeks ago, the goat cheese and chorizo roll is amazing. The bloody beer? Not so much my thing . . . unless you're, you know, allergic to vodka.
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