Tabard Inn–Washington, DC
I made that call and was rewarded for my efforts with an 11:30 am Sunday reservation (Saturday brunch is also served).
The historic inn in which the restaurant is housed is lovely. We had to meander through the small, quaint rooms to find our way to the back where the restaurant sits.
We announced ourselves to the hostess about 30 minutes early and assumed we’d have to wait for an open table. We heard her tell a person at the other end of the phone that they could come in without a reservation, but that it would probably be 2-3 hours before she could be seated.
Surprisingly, they asked if wanted to sit down, and we walked into a relatively empty dining room. But in the next half hour it filled and stayed that way during our visit.
I had read that the Tabard Inn kitchen makes its own doughnuts and that they could be order singly or by the half-dozen. Since the server had just set down a basket of homemade muffins and breads, we decided to just order one to split.
Smart move. These were full-sized, not little donut holes; rolled in cinnamon sugar and served with vanilla whipped cream. I’m not generally a big doughnut fan, but these were light and served warm, what’s not to like?
My son ordered steak and poached eggs with chimichurri sauce, and while I was tempted by the seafood gumbo, when the server told me its heft might require me to take a nap afterward, I opted for the huevos rancheros. Though the green and red salsas lacked a kick, they nicely complemented the black bean puree, avocado and perfectly cooked fried eggs that smothered the tortillas.
The menu features an large number of both breakfast and lunch items, and I would have been happy with any number of them. And the tavern-like ambiance is just as much of a draw.
As we left, the living rooms were filled with people waiting, some chatting while sipping drinks, and others reading the newspaper to pass the time. I was tempted to assure them that it would be worth their while to stick around.