The District may be crazy about brunch, but it’s hard to find a menu with more than the classic “Belgian waffle with strawberries.” And after coming to GW, I was heartbroken to find that D.C. lacked late-night diners to help me relive the midnight IHOP runs I did in my hometown of Richmond, Va.
Since the nearest Waffle House is an hour away in Virginia, I set out out to find the best D.C. joints for extravagant, atypical waffle dishes.
2331 Calvert St. NW
Nearest Stop: Woodley Park-Zoo
Price: $8 to $14
I had high hopes for this edgy cafe, which is just around the corner from the Metro station, when I saw the bartender dressed in full drag.
Open City serves breakfast all day, so I went in the late afternoon and found the Chai Waffle: a Belgian waffle with chai syrup, homemade whipped cream and strawberries. In theory, this waffle is unique and appealing, but I found the combination off-putting and the waffle itself too bland.
However, the cafe’s casual atmosphere, earthy tones and late hours make it a great place to come after leaving a bar in Adams Morgan, and the Beach Drive chicken salad sandwich and lavender hot chocolate are must-haves.
Art and Soul
415 New Jersey Ave. NW
Nearest Stop: Judiciary Square
Price: $9 to $16
If you want to start your day with a bang, Art and Soul starts serving breakfast at 6:30 a.m. and offers a whole-wheat waffle decked out with bananas, brown sugar, whipped cream, caramel and chocolate sauce.
The toppings were piled on high and I felt like I was eating a deconstructed bananas foster on a waffle, an experience that made my 7 a.m. wake-up call totally worthwhile.
But if early birding isn’t your style, Art and Soul offers the same waffle during brunch on weekends, as well as buttermilk lemon pancakes and the Southern classic chicken and waffles.
1324 14th St. NW
Nearest Stop: McPherson Square
Price: $12 to $20
After finishing my meal at B Too, the ultimate waffle champion, I had to take several moments to process what culinary brilliance I had just experienced.
I felt like I was stepping into a little piece of Europe when I walked into the restaurant, which strictly serves Belgian cuisine. It has a unique, trendy atmosphere and is tucked away near Logan Circle as you approach U Street. I felt sophisticated as we sat down on the brown leather chairs next to businessmen grabbing a drink or chowing down on a mussel pot after their long day of work.
B Too offers many waffles as appetizers, including the Wafel Van Kreeft (a Maine lobster waffle) and a wild mushroom waffle, but my friend and I decided to go with the Mini Nordic Salmon waffles, served with wasabi cream and an herb salad. We all but licked the plate clean as the sweet yet stinging wasabi cream complimented the smoky salmon cooked between two Belgian waffles.
For dessert, we ordered the key lime pie waffle, which is as interesting and delicious as it sounds, not to mention it has a beautiful presentation. Lime gelée and whipped cream fill each waffle square and are topped with meringue slivers, chocolate wafers and melon-ball sized pieces of key lime pie.
The only downside were the higher prices compared to the other restaurants I tried. The two dishes combined were $18, but you get what you pay for when it comes to waffles.