all photos: Stephanie Breijo
As you probably know by now (God knows it has been documented well enough) over here at BYT – WE LOVE OUR BRUNCH. We also LOVE when we discover that somewhere out there, in the wilderness of the DC food universe, a different brunch happens. And it seems like Asian small plates early in the day are the way of the future, with Asia Nine launching their Pan Asian Tapas brunch this past week.
As always, we sacrificed our bodies and our waistlines to science and went to taste test it.
First things first: the deal is pretty solid gold. For $25, Saturdays and Sundays you get 5 small plates (some of which, frankly, were not really all that small -but more on that later) + a dessert plate and you can wash it all down with $1 Asian Triple Spice Bloody Marys and Mimosas. The food is not brunchy per se (not an egg in sight, so if you’re looking for an omelet, turn around now) but still offers that perfect balance of comfort, freshness and much needed grease (the good kind) we all crave in the morning.
We tried, quite literally, every single item on the menu which range from traditional Thai Style Rice Wraps (think of a cross between a summer roll and steamed dumpling, filled with everything from chopped shrimp to taro roots to radish caramelized with palm sugar)
to popular dim sum items like Shumai or Port Pot Stickers to smaller versions of traditional lunch entrees (the Pad Thai was perfect and the Green Curry with Coconut milk over rice a creamy treat for those looking to soothe an achy morning belly/head).
If you’re with a group (and who isn’t with a group for brunch these days?), items like the sesame tempura (the first tempura we’ve tried without any sauce to accompany it) or Crispy Rice Crackers are a great dish to share and/or start the meal with.
Probably the closest to a breakfast dish on the menu is the Chive Pan Cake, crispy fried, which is golden and just the right amount of oily to make any hangover go away (a sunny side up egg on top would be a nice addition to this).
And while the savory portion is amazing, try and save some room for dessert. There’s three on the menu, with our favorite choices being split between the golden Chinese Donut with condensed milk (think of it as an Asian version of funnel cake, crispy and dangerous)
and the Jackfruit Bread Pudding which is served with almonds and creme anglaise (no light creams in sight on this menu) and is so moist (even if you hate the word, there’s no escaping it when discussing this dish) and refreshingly tropical, you may forget about the good old-fashioned dense bread puddings you’re used to.
PRO TIP: Add a deal to your deal, since some asking around led to our discovery that if you ask, with a purchase of a meal at Asia Nine, you get a 40% discount ticket at E Street, which is conveniently right next door. So-I think we have your (any) Saturday afternoon plans all sorted out here, right? You’re welcome.