Sunday, August 26, 2012

Boundary Road

414 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002
202.450.3265
www.boundaryrd.com
Boundary Road Restaurant on Urbanspoon

This week, work's been a bit of a bear so I haven't gotten to eat anything that was a) good for more and b) just good.  I have managed to funnel some good money into delivery pizza and fast food so I'm glad I'm doing my part in keeping the economy going.  The weekend, though, allowed me a few windows of time where I could venture out and get a few quality bites.  I was feeling a bit brunchy hence I went to brunch (yes I just wrote that sweet piece of logical deduction).  On Saturday, I decided to head out to Bar Pilar for a quick bite (a more detailed post will happen when I go back for dinner) and then Boundary Road on Sunday for a more involved brunch.


Bar Pilar on Urbanspoon

I decided on Bar Pilar more because of this great low-key, neighborhood bar atmosphere than the food that they serve.  I thought the dinner menu looked great but I was out for brunch and it wasn't posted on their website so I was flying blind.  The bar is on the north-ish side of all the 14th street hubbub and is sandwiched between a contemporary theater and I think a modern furniture store.  The vibe in the bar is definitely laid back and gives off that dive bar atmosphere that I love.  I could see planting myself at bar all day like I would at Spring Lounge.  Unfortunately, I was just in for a quick bite then had to head out.

The brunch menu isn't as extensive as the dinner menu and most of the items seemed aimed at greasy spoon cravings after a hard night out.  I ordered this thing (best description I could think of) called a Pancake Sandwich which was Two large pancakes with on top of each other with a healthy serving of scrambled eggs stuffed in between them.  And by healthy, I mean about 3 eggs worth of scrambled eggs.  Oh, it also came with a side of bacon.  Yes, of course it did and I probably don't need to mention the sides of maple syrup and butter.  I ordered an Abita Light Lager with my meal since the place was giving off that Sunday Funday vibe on a Saturday.  

Here's a few things I learned from my experience at Bar Pilar.  One, that you should never order beer with what I consider breakfast foods.  I've always enjoyed Abita products when I ordered them and this one was quite good by itself.  But when you eat some bacon, some bits of the pancake sandwich then it becomes a bit unappetizing.  My head was screaming coffee but my heart was all about the beer.  Sometimes the heart isn't always right.  The pancake sandwich was as decadent and heart-stopping as you would think.  I'm told that this is what a McGriddle is from McDonald's but I can't imagine that being this good.  After you put butter on the pancakes and some maple syrup, the combination was surprisingly coherent.  The fluffy eggs and the slightly fluffy pancakes all worked together.  Sweet and savory with the salty coming from the bacon.  I just wish the bacon was a bit more crispy but it was bacon so it can be forgiven.  

On Sunday, I headed back over to my H Street exploration to try out Boundary Road.  Like Bar Pilar, the dinner menu looks great so I'll have to go back to try both of them.  Rubber arm.  Twist it.  Boundary road is located on the near end of H Street to Washington DC proper.  I hope that last sentence translates to that Boundary Road is on the western part of H street closer to downtown DC.  I could have just written the second sentence but why not at least pretend to be somewhat literate?  Regardless, Boundary Road is part of the new wave of restaurants popping up along H Street that seems to be part of the what-seems-like-a food renaissance currently going on in DC.

After the Pancake Sandwich incident, I came to Boundary Road really looking for a nice clean brunch with minimal stress to my heart and cholesterol levels.  I also stuck to ordering a coffee first and since it was brunch, I ordered a Bloody Mary which were both appropriate with the meal.  The Bloody Mary seemed to lack it's customary kick both with spice or alcohol but it was tasty nonetheless just not that special.  I stuck to the breakfast side of brunch again and ordered something called Gentlemen Will Take A Chance.  I mean, how could you not order that?  Seriously, how does anything else even stand a chance on the rest of the menu with a name like that?

The best way for me to describe the Gentlemen Will Take a Chance is that it's a deconstructed omelet except you make the egg sunny side up instead of beating them.  So, it's a sunny side up egg over a sauteed mix of pork confit, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, parsley, and okra.  For some reason, I've eaten tons of southern/soul food lately that includes okra.   Growing up, I remember my mom using it in some dishes and I was never a big fan.  Now, though, I've really grown attached to its flavor, crunch and texture.  More okra please.  The mixture, while it looks rich, was surprisingly clean with sharp, simple flavors.  The egg and confit provided ample richness but didn't overpower the vegetables which I found that I gravitated more towards than the proteins.  I did have to add some salt and hot sauce for my own preference but overall the dish was pretty balanced without more seasoning.

I craved a bit of sweetness after that so I asked about the desserts.  They had a tempting zeppole option (I mean, freshly fried doughnuts, always tempting!) but the waitress convinced me to go with the peach and raspberry pie a la mode since it was a dish with seasonal products.   I really wasn't expecting much from the pie but I was pleasantly surprised.  It came out slightly warm with just a dollop of vanilla ice cream which ensured that the pie would be the focal point.  The crust was on the denser side but still flaky crispy enough.  The contrast of the bitterness of the raspberries and the sweetness of the peaches really worked well together.  The ice cream provided a coolness if you wanted it but really wasn't necessary.  I really expected a dessert that would make me too full and too fat.  This was surprisingly light and blended well with the lightness of the meal.  I know.  I can't explain it either but the fresh, clean ingredients really made for, or at least what felt like, a nice, healthy, light meal.

I decided to do brunch in DC in two pretty hip neighborhoods this weekend.  Bar Pilar and Boundary Road are both located in two hot spot areas where really good eating places are popping up.  Yes, the technical term for quality restaurants is "really good eating places".  Also, no one mention that since I wanted brunch, I went to places who's names started with B.  I don't want to think of the psychological deficiencies related to that kind of thinking.  Bar Pilar gave me a great atmosphere and a heavy albeit great tasting meal.  More importantly, if there was ever any place screaming Sunday Funday, it's this place.  Boundary Road was a place that I found to be a bit more refined but not douche-y.  This was reflected in the nice, simple, clean qualities of the food.  Overall, if these two places are an indication of how the food scene is moving in DC, then I, for one, am glad I'm living in the DMV these days.

5 comments:

  1. Wow! I love the wooden high chair in this bar, and the unique chandelier they've got! I should start picking out some unique pieces for my house in furniture stores in los angeles. I wonder where they've got the lights they have here, it looks vintage, I like it too much!

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  2. It was my long term goal to start a bar. Right now I have the finances to start one. My first priority is to buy reception desk in long island. My motif would be an office environment because I want to cater to professionals that want to unwind after a day's work so I think an office setting is logical for my target customers.

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  3. A friend of mine suggested that having a wine once in a while before going to bed, could actually help improve one’s sleep cycle. And I think this resto can give me a good wine!

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  4. The place absolutely looks good; this gave me some creative ideas on how to improve my kitchen area. I agree with what Grace said, the high chairs gave the resto an appealing impact to customers; I may have to prepare my tools for some remodeling!

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  5. Thanks for capturing that chandelier of bulbs, my best example of a very "selfie" ornament. The place is pretty, thanks for recommending. The bar is a beautiful Renaissance-inspired work of art, good job.

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