You can find the Tabard Inn on a secluded side street near Dupont Circle which is surprisingly hard to find by car (one way streets and me do not get along). The street is typically scenic and tree-lined with brownstones all along it. As I got closer, I started to get a little worried as the front of the Tabard Inn looked pretty run down and there was a really tacky sign for valet parking on the sidewalk. When you walk inside, the check-in area and the waiting area for the restaurant are musty and the furniture was run down. However, walking into the restaurant, you're transformed into a whole new world. The front dining room is lined with windows and full of sunshine. The outside patio looked like a wonderful garden setting but unfortunately there were intermittent showers on the day I ate brunch there.
The food can be best described as classic brunch fare but with a couple of tweaks and twists. We started with (AND IF YOU TRY NOTHING ELSE HERE, YOU MUST TRY THESE) the homemade doughnuts with freshly whipped cream. They serve them warm and they come out surprisingly light for what they are. The fresh oysters are really fresh and good down pretty smoothly. While I prefer a sharper and spicier bloody mary than the one I had on this day, there was nothing wrong with a milder version on this day. The poached eggs with fried oysters and pork belly confit on a bed of cheese grits had a ton of flavor and very rich but not as heavy as you would expect. I have to admit that you probably can't go wrong with those ingredients together but they worked together in harmony rather than any one flavor drowning the others out. The grits were seasoned and flavorful, the pork belly did not overwhelm with saltiness, the fried oysters were light enough & not overwrought with batter and the poached eggs oozed just the right amount.
When I lived in NYC, Brunch was a competitive sport, especially on Sundays. Finding a good place and finding a table (not necessarily in that order) was extremely difficult to do. If the Tabard Inn were in the City, it would definitely be a place with people lining up the block.