For some of us, Easter is just about chocolate bunnies and champagne brunches and there are plenty of restaurants that are only too happy to oblige. While there are many places across the D.C. area that offer exceptional Belgian waffles, made-to-order omelettes and bottomless mimosas, sometimes we yearn for something a little different from the ordinary. Strap on your cottontail.
Bourbon Steak (2800 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.) hops to the top of the list with just two words: whiskey hunt. As if it’s not enough to ply us with chef Joe Palma’s Maryland Blue Crab Eggs Benedict topped with Old Bay hollandaise and a Lemon Marcona Almond Streusel, some clever soul also decided to hide diminutive bottles of WhistlePig Whiskey sporting pastel ribbons for an adult Easter-Bottle Hunt following brunch. If you do happen to have some kiddies with you, they’ll get a chance to hunt for candy-filled eggs with the Easter Bunny while you sip on a Breakfast Old Fashioned made with rye whiskey, maple nutmeg syrup and orange and walnut bitters. Don’t forget to ask for the eggshell filled with a savory infused custard, an item that’s not featured on the menu and available by request only to those in the know. Three-course prix-fixe brunch menu, $95 per person.
Muze at the Mandarin Oriental (1330 Maryland Ave., S.W.) gives an East-West twist to the traditional Easter brunch by infusing the meal with Asian flair. A large sushi station will feature D.C. crab rolls; tuna, salmon and yellowtail sashimi; and a chirashi rice bowl with uni espuma — not to mention PB&J rolls and Rice Crispy sushi for the uninitiated. Mix your own wasabi Caesar salad at a station outfitted with a wheel of Parmesan cheese and bacon lardons or stop by the carving station, outfitted with a harissa-spiced leg of lamb, dried cherry barbecue sauce, and a cous cous salad. The centerpiece of the brunch will likely be the six-foot banh mi sandwich, stuffed with slow-cooked pork belly, pork paté, Vietnamese-style sausage and pickled vegetables, topped with a chili and hoisin sauce. The Easter Bunny will stop by, of course, taking the kids away for an egg hunt in the hotel’s garden overlooking the Tidal Basin, so adults can sit back and sip on the beverages of their choice, including Veuve Clicquot and Dom Perignon. Standard brunch, $78 per person, $35 per child; with Veuve Clicquot, $178 per person; with Dom Perignon, $378 per person.
SER Restaruant (1110 North Glebe Road, Arlington) knows exactly how to bring some of us in the door for Easter, simply by not requiring real clothes. Not only can you wear your pajamas — and slippers — to Sunday brunch, it’s both encouraged and rewarded, because when you wear your PJs, you’ll get a a complimentary mimosa or bellini upon arrival. It hardly seems possible that it could get better than that, but the Spanish-inspired Pajama Menu includes three tempting courses, including pisto manchego, a vegetable stew with pine nuts and raisins topped with a poached egg, and crispy sweet churros served with hot cocoa. In addition to the Pajama menu, there’s an array of cocktails on offer, like Javier’s Hangover Helper, made with sherry, tomato, juice and spices, and an a la carte menu that touts such specialties as croquetas and paella. Three-course prix-fixe menu, $32 per person; additional menu items available a la carte.
Kristen Hartke is a D.C.-based food writer and editor. Follow her kitchen adventures on Instagram at @kristenhartke.