This is a Public Service Announcement: the Gryphon has brunch.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with Dupont, the Gryphon is located just south of Dupont Circle on a bustling stretch of Connecticut Avenue. Unlike the college-y vibes of Mad Hatter and Lucky Bar, the atmosphere of the Gryphon is more like that of a high-end cigar club. The lights are dimmed, the chandeliers extravagant, and everything is made of rich leather.
I’ve spent many boozy happy hours at the Gryphon (they have killer deals), but I’d never stopped in for a meal. When they invited Hungry Lobbyist to try the brunch menu, I eagerly accepted.
I asked my friend Kristen to be my brunch date. She recently made the switch from being an Arlington resident to a DC resident (yes!!) and she never turns down bottomless mimosas. A good quality in a brunch companion.
I wasn’t quite sure what kind of brunch atmosphere to expect. The restaurant was relatively empty when we sat down at 1:00 PM, but I noticed a few ladies dressed in plunging bandage dresses and suede pumps (i.e. full club attire). Our server estimated that by 3:00 PM people would be dancing to the DJ with champagne in hand. Aha – this was a party brunch.
Brunch started the way every meal should start – with a bowl of truffle potato chips. These chips are a Gryphon staple and they truly melt in your mouth. Be careful not to fill up on them before your actual food comes out.
Kristen and I both ordered bottomless mimosas without hesitation. The server brought over a large carafe for us to split.
Foodie’s Note: maybe I’m getting cranky in my old age (of 26), but I am of the opinion that if you order bottomless, you should be allowed to mix the champagne and OJ at your own discretion. I’m losing patience with restaurants that charge a steep premium for bottomless and then serve tall glasses of OJ with a thimble of champagne. That is just bad business. The Gryphon does pre-mix the mimosas, but at least they are properly proportioned (by which I mean more bubbly than juice). Nonetheless, for $18.50 (or $25 if you don’t order a main course), I’d prefer to mix at my leisure.
The Gryphon brunch menu has a specific format. For $30 per person, you can have a two-course meal. Bottomless is an extra $18.50. We decided to focus on the second courses ($20 à la carte), which were an even assortment of lunch and brunch options. I had saved room for this meal, so I went for the strip steak and scrambled eggs. Kristen opted for the cheeseburger sliders.
My steak was juicy and cooked exactly medium rare, as I requested. This was refreshing because you’d be surprised at how often I order something medium rare only to be served a piece of meat that is completely overcooked. The scrambled eggs were fluffy and plentiful and the potatoes were crisp. Kristen munched away happily on her sliders, noting that the brioche buns were exceptional. I kept stealing her razor thin shoe-string fries.
About an hour into the meal we noticed the vibe had definitely amped up. The music was louder and huge groups had piled into the restaurant, both at the tables and onto the lavish leather sofas in the lounge. Kristen and I had come to brunch blissfully unaware that the Gryphon was part of the party brunch circuit, so we weren’t exactly in the frame of mind to bump and grind in our casual Sunday’s best. We threw back the last of our mimosas and dipped out to find some iced coffees. However, I have been wanting to try the party brunch thang for a while now, so I will definitely be back to give it a go in proper glam attire.
The $48 price tag ($30 for two courses + $18.50 bottomless) is definitely on the high end, so be prepared to drop a little more cash than you would at other bottomless deals in the neighborhood. If you’re looking for brunch with a little music, a lot of glam, and unlimited truffle chips, the Gryphon just may be what you’re looking for.