Sunday, December 7, 2008

Where to brunch: Vinoteca

This afternoon, the 14thandYous faced a quandary: where to go for brunch? Mr. 14thandYou's brother had just wrapped up his fall internship here in DC and would soon be headed back to The Heart of It All, Ohio to finish his undergrad work. (For more on unpaid internships, we recommend this.) We wanted to take him out somewhere to celebrate, and determined that Sunday brunch would be the most opportune time.

So we set out into the chilly December air to scope out the usual suspects. Unfortunately, it seemed that we were not the only ones who had the brunch idea today. Every place we walked into was packed to the gills, with wait times ranging from 1/2 - 1 hour for a table. We visited Commissary, Logan Tavern, Bar Pilar, Saint Ex and Ulah Bistro, all without success. (Success being defined as "able to get a table".)

Running out of ideas, we wandered into Vinoteca on 11th Street, not knowing if they even had a brunch menu and, if they did, whether it was worth the cost of admission. We came away with highly positive answers to both questions.

First, the service: pleasant, attentive and thoughtful. We were seated immediately (the place was not full, and presented the relaxing, casual atmosphere we were looking for). Unlike other neighborhood establishments who shall remain nameless, the service was quick and attentive. For anyone who spends a fair amount of time dining out in DC, you no doubt understand how significant that is.

It was the food however that won us over. I ordered prosciutto eggs benedict with a side of home fries, which came with perfectly poached eggs and a lovely hollandaise sauce. Mr. 14thandYou's brother got an omelette which he deemed to be "awesome", and Mrs. 14thand You ordered duck confit crepes which were described as "eyes-roll-back-in-your-head good". Now that's high praise. Couple the wonderful food with good service and a relaxed atmosphere, and you have yourself a winner of a brunch. Which made the dearth of patrons somewhat surprising.

So the Vinoteca brunch gets a hearty recommendation from the 14thandYous. Has anyone else had a surprisingly good brunch/meal in the neighborhood? Any brunch recommendations in the neighborhood that you'd like to share? Please do so in the comments.


Bridget said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

perhaps you visited on a different day. during my delightful visit,

* coffee was served cold
* food orders were confused
* food orders were somehow combined and served on a single plate
* a waitress dismissed our request for help by explaining that the "cook only has two hands."
* when we finally ate, the food was didn't make us sick, but wasn't exactly good, either.

i've been to vinoteca before for drinks, and had a grand time. but i'd never go there again, and i'd warn my friends off, as well.

for the record, we were polite, and aren't picky. this was just a cluster*%&# of a brunch.

d said...

I was just there for brunch and I loved it. The lack of crowds and waiting helped. The champagne cocktails were on special at 1 dollar a piece (ends on the 31st). The food was tasty and they have bison steak as an option. Watch it get crowded and annoying to get a table like every brunch place in this city.

paradigmshifted said...

I've been multiple times, both busy and empty, and have always been bowled over by how delicious the food is. And it's inexpensive, which is quite the score. Service can vary, but the one time it wasn't so great, there was only one English-speaking waitress and all the tables were full.

culinspiration said...

Hey neighbor, enjoyed the blog! I'm also covering some of the D.C. restaurant scene (whatever I deem tasty) over at

Tips: Mussels at Bistrot du Coin, and a new Pho place on 14th and Park!