When people ask me for restaurant recommendations in Washington D.C., Busboys and Poets is usually my first suggestion because it has a perfect trifecta of great food, friendly staff, and an great line up of programs that inspire conversation and connection.
Although I have frequented Busboys and Poets several times for lunch and dinner, I have yet to visit for brunch, so I was sure to put it at the top of the list of things to do when my mom came to town to visit over the weekend. From prior visits I have been impressed by Busboys and Poets’ expansive gluten-free options, so I was excited to have a “normal” brunch experience despite my dietary restrictions.
Busboys and Poets’ menu is seasonal- so this review features their summer menu. Gluten-free items are marked, as well as vegan and vegetarian choices. Although items are marked, be sure to let the wait staff know of your sensitivity because they will flag the order as an allergy order to further prevent cross contamination.
Many items are locally sourced on the menu, including the gluten-free bread for the french toast, which comes from Rise Bakery in Adams Morgan.
While musing over the menu, I decided to order the blueberry bliss tea latte as a sweet starter. The latte features a fragrant and flowery blueberry hibiscus tea with a topping of steamed almond milk. The drink is sweeter than I usually take my tea, but it was a nice treat and I was a bit blue when I took my final sip (pun definitely intended).
For my entree, I ordered the sweet potato hash, which features the titular vegetable in a skillet-cooked dish complete with kale, brown rice, onions, all topped with a poached egg. The dish smelled absolutely amazing when it came out, and every bit was absolute perfection. The sweet potato has a lovely roasted flavor and the rice and kale picked up the unmistakable skillet flavor that I completely relished. The egg was perfectly cooked and the whole dish was simply seasoned, letting the fresh ingredients do all the talking. It’s been a long time since I had a breakfast as hearty and satisfying as this.
As an added side, I ordered the harira soup, which is a Moroccan bean soup. The soup is hearty and comforting, chock full of ingredients so every spoonful is flavorful and texturally diverse. While it may seem odd to order soup in the summertime, I definitely am glad I didn’t pass this up. The soup is available on the brunch and lunch/dinner menu.
Although I was too stuffed by this point to even think about ordering more, I did take note that the dessert menu has gluten-free and vegan offerings. Although I didn’t confirm, I suspect the gluten-free offerings also hail from Rise Bakery. I’ve tried their flourless chocolate cake in my review, and it is dairy-free.
Unlike most reviews, I entered the experience already a fan of Busboys and Poets. I wasn’t looking to be won over, but nevertheless my meal far surpassed my sky-high expectations. Everything was great from the food to the service, and I left wondering why I hadn’t been to brunch here before, and was already anticipating my next brunch date. This is one of a few not-to-be-missed food spots in town, and should be the top of everyone’s sightseeing list.