The Coffee: La Colombe, roasted in Philadelphia
The Mood: Boisterous and all-inclusive, with a mix of neighborhood families, groups, and solo diners sipping coffee and catching a game at the bar.
A wine bar with a top-notch small-plates menu—Ardeo + Bardeo, for example—isn’t what leaps to mind at brunch time. But restaurateur Ashok Bajaj’s sleek Cleveland Park dining rooms were packed on a recent Sunday afternoon with boisterous diners who know the secret: There’s nothing small about the daytime offerings.
Oh, you can still nibble on charcuterie if you want, but better to go with the crowd and pick two courses from the set menu, offered alongside unlimited J. Roget champagne or mimosas ($25 per person). Crispy, lightly charred Brussels sprouts, dressed up for breakfast with tangy yogurt and chopped pistachios, are a surprisingly addictive starter, while creamy salmon rillettes with everything bagels make for a tasty riff on bagels and lox. Rock shrimp and grits, dressed with arugula and a lobster emulsion, are surprisingly light. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s a smoky burger topped with cheddar, house-made bacon, and a fried egg. When combined with frequent top-offs from servers bearing jugs of mimosas, it may just inspire an afternoon nap.
Brunch at Ardeo + Bardeo is served every Saturday and Sunday from 11 AM to 3 PM.