Easter brunch at Georgia Brown’s

April 5, 2010

Happy Easter to all of you out there who celebrate. Hopefully your Sunday experience was more enjoyable than my meal at Georgia Brown’s. I’ve been in D.C. nearly three years and always wanted to try Georgia Brown’s, but when I finally got around to it, I was not impressed. GB’s is pretty famous in the city for classic low country style southern food that boasts boiled shrimp, grits, and buttermilk biscuits that fill your belly and put a spring in your step.

Upon dining there, I have decided that Georgia Brown’s falls squarely in the category of over-hyped, over-priced restaurants in D.C.- which is a city I’ve deemed saturated with venues that are puzzlingly successful yet not all that good. After this particular brunch, I’ve decided that Georgia Brown’s would be more aptly named “Georgia Brown Bag’s” because, as the name suggests, customers are given so much food, they wind up taking most of it home with them in a doggie bag.

Let me start from the beginning to give you the full picture. For starters, GB’s costs a whopping $38 per person for brunch (drinks not included). The meal plays out in three “acts.” (A classic gimmic if I’ve ever seen one.) The first “act” is service off the brunch buffet, as much as you want to eat. I should say here that the buffet is nothing special. There were a few highlights (french toast and grits) but not much was vegetarian friendly and most of the food was tired and overdone (literally and figuratively).

Act 1

Act 1

The second "act" is basically the main entree which is served take-out style. The reason that the second course is served "to go" is because most people have no room left to eat it after stuffing their faces at the mediocre buffet. So the concept of this brunch is to serve you more food than you could possibly eat for a price that is much too high and send you packing with left overs that are possibly the best portion of the meal except for the fact that you have to carry them all the way home and reheat them. I should say now that I'm not a fan of leftovers. It's one thing to take a doggie bag to go when you've eaten half the entree, but it's quite another to send you packing with an entire left over meal that you didn't get a chance to taste fresh. It's just sad. Check out how appetizing this was (not) later. I think I'd prefer my fried catfish crispy right out of the hot skillet rather than soggy out of the fridge, thank you very much.

The third “act” is simply a dessert buffet. So, basically, the meal includes a buffet and a main course (2 “acts”) stretched into 3 “acts” so that the customer feels they are getting more bang for the exorbitant buck. The dessert was sweet…and that’s about it.

Although the food at Georgia Brown’s was decent, it was not worth $38 per person (over $100 for two after tax and tip). I felt as though the restaurant could have offered less, better tasing food and I would have happily paid the menu price. If a restaurant has really good quality food served with love and care, there’s no need to employ doggie bag gimmics.

Like the food at GB’s, the service was nothing more than average. And the buffet was completely dyslexic. It ran backward through the restaurant so that diners were standing in a cumbersome line blocking the server passage to the kitchen, up against the tables of other diners, and the line moved as slow as molasses. Here’s a tip: if you don’t have room to accomodate a buffet, don’t have one!

As a southern girl who knows classic, delicious red state cuisine (especially after four years living in Charleston), I was disappointed in the proclaimed southern go to restaurant in D.C., Georgia Brown’s. In the words of my friend Scott, I tried it once and will not be back.

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Liz April 5, 2010 at 10:29 pm

I lived in Birmingham, Alabama for a year when I was clerking and I was hoping that G. Brown’s would be my Southern fix and was very disappointed. When I need my southern vegetable fix now I hit Soutside 815 in Old Town Alexandia for the fried pickles and vegetable plate. It’s not health food but hits the spot on occasion! B. Smith’s in Union Station is also overpriced but I think it is better than Georgia Brown’s.

Jennifer April 6, 2010 at 9:14 am

Thanks for the tip Liz! I will definitely have to check out those suggestions.

Ashley April 5, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Oh my! I LOL’d at the take home catfish. But for $38 there is seriously nothing funny about that. Perhaps you should start your own southern cuisine restaurant and really show them!

Jennifer April 10, 2010 at 10:16 am

I would LOVE to have my own southern food resto one day. It would be all fried green tomatoes and cornbread and all veggie friendly. YUM!

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