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Words By Logan Hollers, Photos By Clarissa Villondo

Brabo surprised me. I didn’t expect it to be so bright and airy. I didn’t expect it to be so nice, almost fine dining-esque. And I definitely didn’t expect it to be so delicious. I mean, brunch is brunch, right? Even in brunch-mad D.C., there’re only so many plates of toast, some eggs, and bacon.

Not at Brabo. (Don’t get me wrong – Brabo has a great American Breakfast plate with two eggs, bacon, and a potato cake…but there’s better on the menu.) Brabo is my kind of brunch: boozy, pancake-free, and filled with dishes that wouldn’t be out of place on the regular menu.

Perusing brunch menus is easier with a cocktail (obvs). But shitty mimosas are shitty (not to mention ubiquitous in D.C.). Move instead toward Lead Bartender Phil Clark’s list of Brunch-tails filled with classics done right, and a few wildcards. From a spot-on Pimm’s Cup to a Ramos Gin Fizz, you’re guaranteed to find something that’ll dull that morning headache.

Pimm's Cup at BraboRamos Gin Fizz at Brabo

Looking for something more interesting? Try the Good Morning, Starshine, a beer cocktail that combines orange-infused vodka with orange juice and a healthy pour of Port City Optimal Wit. (This may or may not have been my photographer’s favorite part of the meal. Ok, it definitely was.)

Good Morning, Sunshie at Brabo

A basket of fresh-made breads also helps the decision process move along. The blueberry muffin and chocolate scone are solid, but the flaky country biscuit stole the show. ROOM TEMPERATURE butter (finally!) and a sweet strawberry puree prove a great combo with the buttery richness of the roll.

Pastry Basket at Brabo

Once you’re properly buzzed and the hunger pangs are sated a bit, get down to the good stuff. Great sharable options include the Rise & Shiner, a crispy flatbread topped with provolone, seasonal greens, a ridiculously delicious (and spicy) chorizo-tomato puree, and over easy eggs. A sprinkling of green onion, and you’ve got the perfect dish to share amongst the table.

at Brabo

Even better are the brunch menu’s Mussels; fat and sweet, the bivalves are bathed in a chermoula broth with tomatoes, jalapeno, and champagne. Sounds weird, tastes awesome; sweet and spicy in all the best ways.

Brunch Mussels at Brabo

Something more substantial needed to soak up last night’s booze? Turn to Brabo’s Steak & Eggs, with thinly sliced skirt steak, grilled to a rosy rare; grilled onions; and sunny side up eggs. Served atop a spicy harissa paste that matched perfectly with the minerally beef, the plate includes a pile of crispy, salty fries, the ideal accompaniment to…well, anything, really.

Steak & Eggs at Brabo

Brabo also offers a selection of mini waffle trios. Stay sweet (weirdo) with the Elvis, a combination of peanut butter, banana, and bacon; or go savory (now we’re talking) with the K-Town, topped with fried chicken, house-made kimchi, and sweet chili sauce.

The Elvis Waffle at BraboK-Town Waffle at Brabo

Sometimes you just want a plate of bacon and eggs. Diners offer that. Sometimes you want an adult brunch with killer cocktails, unique brunch food, and fine dining service. Brabo offers the latter.