In a truly shocking turn of events, the weather gods smiled down upon the District for Memorial Day Weekend. I spent a breezy Sunday morning exploring neighborhoods all over DC, stopping only for an iced coffee and a few farmer’s market purchases.
We weren’t about to waste the sunshine sitting in an Uber, so my fiancé and I decided to walk the 25 minutes over to North Shaw. By the time we reached Declaration for our noon reservation, we were both hungry for brunch.
Declaration opened its doors just over six months ago as an after-5:00pm gourmet pizza bistro, but their Sunday brunch menu is brand spankin’ new. The restaurant is an airy and glass-enclosed industrial space just across the street from the 9:30 Club and the Atlantic Plumbing Landmark Theatre, making it well-suited for a pre-concert or post-movie stopover. The hostess ushered us over to a two-top near the corner of the restaurant. After skimming the menu, I was surprised to see that several of what I consider to be traditional brunch dishes (Eggs Benedict, belgian waffles, brunch burger, etc.) were conspicuously absent. However, I was pleased to see they had a refreshing number of other options, like “Griddle Old Fashion Coffee Pancakes,” and lobster frittata with kale and goat cheese.
Our waitress seemed a little busy when we first sat down, but eventually came over to get our drink order (black coffee for James, mimosa for me). We asked to start with the Roasted Beet Salad and the “Green Eggs & Ham” deviled eggs. For our entrées, I ordered the baked eggs with sausage braised pork, and James landed on the “Bagel & Egg in a Hole,” which comes with smoked salmon, an everything bagel, arugula, and lemon caper hollandaise. While we waited for our food, a very kind member of the staff kept an eye on my mimosa and attentively refilled it when it dropped below 1/3 of a glass.
Our food came out quickly, but in a strange order. One of our appetizers, the beet salad, came out simultaneously with my baked eggs entrée. After about five minutes, James’ bagel & lox entrée came out. Unfortunately, our deviled eggs never made it, but we were pleasantly stuffed by the end of our meal nonetheless.
The salad was excellent. Plump yellow beets, smears of goat cheese burrata and crispy, crunchy greens tossed with honey cinnamon vinaigrette. I would definitely get it again.
My baked eggs hit the spot. The two eggs were cooked exactly to my liking – warm, creamy yolks, crispy edges on the egg whites. Underneath the eggs was a bed of braised pork and decadent BBQ mornay sauce, which is similar to Béchamel sauce, but typically made with Gruyère or white cheddar. YUMMM!
James’ “Bagel & Egg in a Hole” was a play on the familiar lox platter, though it had some room for improvement. The egg was baked into the center of the bagel, but it was only 1/2 a bagel, and it was apparently plain, not an everything bagel, as the menu suggested. It was surrounded by dollops of the hollandaise and twists of smoked salmon. I didn’t sample the bagel, but the hollandaise was tangy and smooth, and the lox was high quality – not overly salty, like some inexpensive varieties.
At the end of the meal, James and I both agreed that we were happily stuffed, but not lethargic, which is exactly how you want to feel on such a hot day. Both the portion sizes and the prices at Declaration are entirely reasonable, and if you want to sample a little of everything, their “$40 All You Care To Eat and Drink” deal is more than worth it. The $40 covers unlimited brunch items and unlimited mimosas and bloody marys; the only items that cost extra are their fresh-squeezed juices (like heirloom carrot) and hand-crafted sodas (like hibiscus and vanilla cream).
If you are looking for fresh and light brunch eats in a vibrant atmosphere, Declaration is a great option. I probably would choose something else if I was in the mood for heavy diner-style food, or a long, lazy brunch. Declaration caps sitting time at 90 minutes. This sounds fairly short, but the staff make up for it with speedy service. We sat down at 12:00 and had nearly finished all of our dishes by 12:45. We left happy and satisfied, with just enough room in our stomachs for post-brunch drinks at Dacha Beer Garden. Declaration serves brunch every Sunday, 11:00a-3:00p.
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