50 Cities 50 Hashes: Amanda Makulec at District Commons in Washington DC! There’s nothing better than brunch the morning after Valentine’s Day, especially when brunch means getting together and catching up with two friends from your childhood and our three significant others. On a cold and grey Saturday morning in DC, six of us got together for brunch at District Commons, a massive restaurant anchored by a spacious bar and open kitchen. Having had wonderful experiences at other joints run by the same restaurant group, we were stoked to try this spot for brunch and check out their take on breakfast hash.
We kicked off brunch with warm pretzel bread that delighted with wisps of steam escaping as we tore it apart, and the Pig Board, aptly named both for its swine-shaped wooden serving board and the hearty pile of prosciutto accompanied by pickled cherries and fresh biscuits. Sips around the table were a mix of iced tea, coffee, and a few folks imbibing in the bottomless blood orange mimosas and Bloody Marys. A hashcapade brunch isn’t about the mimosas though: it’s about whatever creative combination of meat, starch, and other delights that a restaurant whips together, and often about how perfectly cooked a runny egg yolk flows over the whole mess of deliciousness.
The J&B Breakfast Hash, anchored by Yukon gold potatoes and braised beef shortribs, didn’t disappoint, but left a few of us wanting. The beef shortribs were tender, shredded through the mess of diced potatoes that had a delightful crispiness while being soft and tender inside. The two sunny-side up eggs served on top, while perfectly cooked, didn’t make up for what was, overall, a somewhat dry dish. Bits of bell pepper and onion added some nice flavor, but we agreed the dish would have benefited from more veggies.
Unpacking what we liked and what could be improved on the breakfast hash at District Commons, it was clear there were a few things that could make for a universal slam dunk: meat + cheese or sauce or something else creamy + vegetables of some sort (on the last note: maybe I just have exceptionally healthy friends to brunch with…). Clark got it right with his Sous Vide Beef Rib Hash, which doesn’t neglect the importance of a sauce or other creamy addition to a breakfast hash, topping a short rib and potato hash (not unlike the J&G hash at District Commons) with a flavorful homemade Chipotle Sauce.
With a menu as wide and varied as the one at District Commons, we made sure to try a few of the other dishes as well, including a huevos rancheros skillet with spicy black beans, a chewy tortilla, perfectly fried eggs and a few delightful accoutrements like homemade guacamole and hot sauce.
The crab cake was packed with lump crabmeat and served with a generous pile of sweet potato fries, and the breakfast quesadilla mashed together a Mexican appetizer staple with breakfast delights in a perfect way,with chorizo, pepperjack cheese, and some XXX sauce, which also made an appearance on the huevos.
More than two hours after settling into our table, we left with everyone happy and satiated, and headed off to the delayed airing of the USA v. Russia Olympic Hockey game later that afternoon. Would District Commons be my first spot to head back to for breakfast hash? No, Founding Farmers’ Red Flannel Hash, with roasted beets, goat cheese, and poached eggs perched on a bed of shredded leeks and potatoes still wins there. District Commons was a great brunch experience though, and absolutely worth a visit on a chilly morning.
|Bio Amanda Makulec is a food-loving, globetrotting, monitoring and evaluation advisor based in Washington DC working on maternal and child health projects across sub-Saharan Africa. Known for carting two-tiered domes of homemade cupcakes into the office on the metro, Amanda also founded the DC chapter for Many Hopes and has volunteered around DC with Microgreens and Culinaerie. She loves to travel, SCUBA dive, and cook, and finds particular delight in whipping up anything that can be improved with a runny fried egg on the top – like hash! Find Amanda at her blog, Communicating Data and on twitter, @abmakulec..|