So it’s Friday, and everyone in D.C. is looking forward to the weekend (well, except for my friends who work on Capitol Hill–their weekend will be spent trying to help their bosses solve the debt ceiling crisis). I, however, found myself wondering where Leon and I would go for our dinner date tonight. Would we hit a new place in D.C. that we’ve never tried before, or would we go to an old favorite?
Perfect timing–literally, right as I was thinking about dinner, he texted me: “How about the Ebbitt tonight?”
I smiled and immediately texted back: “Yay!!!!”
The Old Ebbitt Grill is a Washington, D.C. staple. I went there often as a young intern in D.C. back in 2005, funnily enough during the time that Leon worked there during law school (we joke that we probably passed each other constantly but were busy doing other things and didn’t notice each other, just like in the movies). The Ebbitt has served as a special place for me in D.C., not only as an intern, but also as a young professional starting a new job in D.C., and now as a woman who has lived in D.C. for two years and is now engaged to a former employee. I’ve hit the Ebbitt for lobster with my mother and grandmother, spent hours chatting with friends over crab cakes, and shared desserts on double date nights with Leon and our friends Chris and Rose.
The Ebbitt is literally down the street from the White House, so it’s located right in the heart of downtown D.C. When you walk in, you are greeted by a marble entrance and antique wood everything. It’s comfortable though–it has the feel of a cozy lodge, but with prices that even interns are okay with, and food that keeps you coming back for more. I’m not the only one who adores the place–since it was established in 1856, the Ebbitt was frequented by Presidents Grant, Cleveland, Harding, and Teddy Roosevelt. It’s known as Washington’s oldest, most historic saloon, where famous political figures from the past met to discuss pressing matters. To this day you might sit next to a political hotshot (or an aspiring political hotshot) enjoying some comfort food.
By comfort food, I mean comfort food from all genres. The Ebbitt is famous for having the best crab cakes in all the land (they use giant chunks of fresh crab meat instead of heavily breading smaller pieces like lots of restaurants), and they have a famous oyster bar as well. During lobster season, you can get a Maine lobster for less than $20. As a Texan used to paying a lot more for a succulent lobster dunked in melted butter, I thought that I was hallucinating when I read the price for the first time.
Besides great seafood, the Ebbitt has everything from juicy burgers to cheesy pasta dishes to flavorful ethnic dishes. My usual order is the crab cake sandwich or the crab cakes, but everything else I’ve tried has been wonderful, from the hummus appetizer to the Portobello mushroom sandwich. They do a great brunch too, with fantastic offerings like country brunch plate, ham and bacon stuffed French toast sandwiches, and fresh strudel. I also had a wonderful brunch of Eggs Chesapeake there (and I don’t even like poached eggs).
And of course you can’t forget my favorite course, dessert. I love ordering a cup of coffee at the Ebbitt to go with a slice of cheesecake, creme brulee, peanut butter pie, strawberry shortcake, key lime pie, and so forth–and then taking a scenic walk around the sights to burn off calories afterwards.
If you’re looking for a really cool, historical place to go in D.C., with great food and located close to that famous white house on Pennsylvania Avenue, I definitely recommend the Old Ebbitt Grill.
Now my mouth is watering–is it dinner time yet?