A Darling Brunch
Published: Friday, March 1, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2013 00:02
When the sun comes out on a Saturday morning, most of us groggily turn over, shut the blinds and barely make it to Wisey’s for a breakfast sandwich at 2 p.m. Needless to say, it’s definitely difficult to get off campus on the weekends, especially after a typical Friday night spent celebrating the end of the week. But how could you turn down bellinis and warm donut holes with caramel and chocolate dipping sauces at Dupont Circle’s Darlington House?
Darlington House, a restaurant featuring American and Italian cuisine located off of Connecticut Avenue, offers a contemporary spin on the classic diner brunch. Although the service could be more attentive, once the food comes, you’re glad no one is rushing you to finish. With a brunch menu full of cleverly named favorites, such as the Liquid Gold — eggs benedict — and the Hangover Helper — a rib-eye steak with two eggs over easy — the restaurant serves a wide variety of brunch classics while entertaining its hungry visitors. My heart dropped when I saw they had my favorite brunch staple: steel cut oats which were delicious and fresh. When I Was Your Age is made fresh and comes with berries, bananas and brown sugar on the side so you can sweeten it to your preference. The most unique and veggie-centric item on the menu is their Veggie Delight, poached eggs served with lentils, tomatoes and shallots.
For those with a sweet tooth, classics like pancakes, French toast and waffles with whipped cream are all served with a side of fresh berries. And, of course, the warm donut holes come with a variety of dipping sauces to celebrate or mourn the night before. If healthier brunch options are more your style, Darlington House offers multiple types of omelets — which include additions like asparagus tips, mixed mushrooms and Virginia baked ham — and various egg dishes that range from your typical hash to boasting smoked salmon. If these options are too "breakfast-y" for you, don’t fret. The Darlington Sliders are mini beef burgers and mini grilled chicken breast paninis with pepper aioli. The Classico Panino gives diners a glimpse of Darlington House’s Italian roots. The panini with prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil is so good that you can almost imagine you are having a late morning meal in Italy itself.
The restaurant is divided into multiple sections: The Cantina pub serves typical pub fare with its own unique menu, while the Dining Room is home to the brunch, lunch and dinner menus.
The establishment is in a historic three-story brownstone. The main dining room, with clues such as classic molding and a fireplace to indicate that it was the house’s original sitting area, is adorned with funky local wall decor. As you walk through the dining room toward the back of the brownstone, the iconic feel conjures up an image of the Fitzgeralds casually sipping a Bloody Mary at the picture-perfect, old-school bar.
Although the decor exudes a comfy feeling during the day, the classic accents allow for a transition to a more sophisticated vibe at nighttime. I didn’t have the opportunity to sample their dinner choices, but one glimpse at their menu, filled with Italian homemade pasta and fresh fish, reconfirmed that I will be back here soon. Darlington House also holds private events in their library, whose decor is quintessential contemporary mixed with early 20th-century flair.
Darlington House’s delectable brunch menu offers the perfect excuse to drag yourself off campus on a weekend morning to satisfy any salty or sweet craving you might be having the morning after.