#107 - Twist Restaurant, Dupont Circle, Washington DC

A few months ago my mom bought a coupon for Twist Restaurant on livingsocial.com. Neither of us had ever heard of it, but it got great reviews for its Sunday brunch. There are 2 locations, one in Dupont Circle and one on Wisconsin Avenue.  Either way, you're fighting traffic and horrible parking.  So we flipped a coin and went with Dupont Circle. It's located in the Carlyle Suites Hotel.  They said that reservations were strongly recommended.  When my mom called the guy said that they seat 400 at peak.  I don't think my mom believed that by her reaction when she hung up the phone.  But I really didn't want to take chances. Besides, I swear everyone in Dupont Circle eats out.  

Dupont Circle is in Washington DC, near to Embassy Row and home to lots of restaurants, bars, and shops.  It's also a very gay-friendly neighborhood, and has been for as long as I can remember.  There's tons of row houses that I would assume are crazy expensive, seeing how close it is to downtown and that it's right near all the Embassies and many private associations.  We drove around for quite a while, and finally found parking about 5 blocks away.  Of course as we walked to the restaurant we saw lots more spaces.  Oh well.

When we arrived it was already full.  There were only 2 tables available in the room. And they certainly pack the room with tables. I eventually realized there are 2 additional eating areas that were separated from the main room by an open doorway, and those rooms were closed in.  And by the time we were finishing our meal both of those rooms were pretty full as well.  The good thing with it being a buffet is that there's a lot of turnover.  It seemed like people stayed about an hour.  But then again, there a few tables that were there when we got there, and were still going strong when we left.  Brunch runs from 11-3, and because  there's such a large crowd the food doesn't last long.  So it gets replenished fast and often. So it's fresh and delicious no matter when you go up.  We saw a lot of people who were using the coupon, and from sites other than livingsocial.com.  Word had obviously gotten out.  But what a great way to boost your business.

A young woman got into a huge argument with the manager because she was seated in one of the side rooms, and wanted to be in the main room. He was pointing out that the main room was full when she arrived, but she didn't want to hear it. I saw her when she walked in, and there were no empty tables in the main room.  Here's my thing.  If you only want to sit in the main room, then you wait until a table is available there. Don't sit somewhere else, and then cause a scene afterwards.  She eventually stomped out in a huff.  I'm sure she bashed the whole situation on social media, but she was in the wrong on this one.

The main room was done like an Italian street cafe, and the glass ceiling made it feel like you were outside.

Brunch included unlimited mimosas and bloody marys.  I don't do the bloody's, so mimosas it was.  I loved that once there was a wait, they offered guests in line mimosas. Definitely makes the wait seem shorter.  About halfway through our meal a guy showed up and started playing the piano.  It was very close to our table so a little loud.  But he was very good and it was jazz, so we enjoyed it.

There were tons of things to choose from.  Made-to-order omelettes, waffles, breads & pastries, hot food, salads, and desserts.  I was disappointed they didn't have description menu cards at the stations, and I had to guess at what some stuff was.  To me, every buffet should have at least a minimal description of what's in each dish.  

I started with the cold stuff

I wasn't a fan of the grape leaf thing.   It was filled with rice and some other spices.  My dad liked it though.  The tabloui and couscous both had tons of flavor.  I like that the tomato/cucumber/onion salad also had pineapple.  Had never had that combination before, but the pineapple added a very nice, subtle sweetness. 

Next came the hot food

The hummus was delicious.  Yes, I realize that's cold, but I had missed it the first go round so I couldn't pass it up again. The bacon was just okay.  The lasagna was delicious.  It had great seasoning and lots of gooey cheese. The chicken was fantastic.  I love the sauce it was served in.  The fish was pretty good.  It was a very mild white fish, and the sauce had a lot of flavor. The meatloaf was outstanding.  I didn't even know what it was when I took it (see, why they need the menu cards).  Even after a bite I wasn't sure.  When I went back for more they had replenished the tray and I could then see the meatloaf shape.  I had never seen meatloaf on a buffet before, and couldn't tell you the last time I ate it. But I could have eaten a whole tray of it. It was so moist and flavorful.   That and the chicken.  When I went back for more meatloaf, I got more chicken too.  Couldn't help myself.

Of course we had to take breaks between plates.  And during those breaks, I drank mimosas. I really wonder how much champagne they go through every Sunday.  Brunch runs 11-3, and the mimosas are unlimited.  And the place holds 400.  And it's packed. We had gotten there at 11:30, and by noon there was one lady at the bar, constantly making pitchers of mimosas.  For efficiency's sake, they came around with the pitchers and refilled the mimosas.

My last plate was dessert

The mini cannolis were awesome.  I liked that they were small, so not overwhelming.  I was good and only had the 2.  The fudge brownie was extremely rich but very good. The tiramisu...let's just say after one bite I sent my mom back to the table to get another piece. I think they soak the lady fingers all week because they packed a serious punch. There was a little too much cream, but I just ate around that.  And I ate the other piece my mom brought me.

I was very surprised that the buffet is only $34.95 per person.  For Washington DC that's a great deal, especially with the unlimited drinks.  Last year when Emily and I went to Black's in Bethesda it was $58pp.

Will I go back?  No question.  I may try the Wisconsin Avenue location, just to see if it's any different.  As long as they have the tiramisu, meatloaf, and chicken, I'll be happy. Oh, and of course the mimosas.