Brunch doesn't have to be all grits and eggs or bottomless mimosas. Bar Pilar has a menu that caters all types of hangover, but as swimsuit season approaches it's their healthier options that will have you veering away from the usual options. Pork belly hash soaked butter biscuits topped with a fried egg, not this time. Fried chicken and biscuits with gravy (the bar's fried chicken is the best you'll find on 14th), move over. For it's the toasted faro salad with butternut squash, pecorino and roasted tomatoes with vibrant crisp watermelon radish in a green goddess dressing that will have you feeling like spring arrived weeks ago. It's a salad that's packed full of flavor, crisp and nutty with enough cheese to not make you not be too good. I've had this on a few occasions, a rare feat as I'm usually loyal to the hangover cure. Another healthy option that will catch your eye is the goi ga salad, Vietnamese style poached chicken with cabbage and fried shallots in a spicy fish sauce. If you've ever had the banh mi with pho dip for dinner at Bar Pilar, I assure you this is just as good.
Thankfully the cocktail offerings for brunch buck the trend, no bottomless mimosas or bloody's can be found here, instead there is a selection of baller drinks to choose from, $12 for your first then $1 each thereafter. The Ruffled Shirt, a blend of Saint Germain and bitters over sparkling wine and ice is a popular choice. Not limited to your first selection so mixing it up with the other drinks is a fun way to get to know your server and tipsy by mid-afternoon.
Bar Pilar celebrates its 10 year anniversary this March, so it makes me wonder why so many of my friends have only ever had drinks here. Don't get me wrong, the drinks program is excellent and deserves a post to itself, the crowded bar on any given night can attest to that. But the food, for a veteran of 14th Street remains to be innovative and fresh beyond much of what its younger neighbors have to offer.
Bar Pilar, 1833 14th Street, NW Washington, DC (closest metro: U Street/Cardozo)