By Claire Deal
Georgetown is a densely populated part of Washington D.C, filled with an assortment of restaurants and stores. Located on Wisconsin Avenue in the heart of the neighborhood, Pinstripes is a bistro with a modern, yet rustic aesthetic in a relaxed and lively setting. Pinstripes sits to the left of the old Chesapeake and Ohio canal that runs through lower Georgetown, and that adds to the outdoorsy feeling. As my mother Tracey Deal, my grandmother Ellie Carle, and I walked through Georgetown recently, we were having trouble figuring out where to each lunch; we stumbled across Pinstripes on our to way to the Patagonia store.
I made arrangements for us to eat outside because the sun was shining, and there was a gentle breeze. The waiter informed us that on Sundays, there was a brunch buffet until three o’clock. My grandmother and I eagerly got up to see all of the different options.
I stopped at the omelet station first, which had a variety of ingredients. My omelet included green peppers, onion, ham, and American cheese and was put on a white plate. I proceeded to the bagel station and grabbed a plain bagel topped with onion, cucumber, tomato, and a dollop of cream cheese. I also tried a spoonful of fruit and a yogurt parfait.
The omelet was perfectly cooked, and the ingredients were fresh. It was savory with the onion and peppers, but the ham had a hint of sweetness. I appreciate omelet stations at buffets because omelets are hardy and filling. I enjoyed the bagel; however, it was nothing special. I noticed the container that had the cream cheese was rather small—I had to get three containers. The fruit didn’t appear fresh. It looked like it had been taken out of can. On the other hand, the fruit in the yogurt parfait was sweet and delicious. The parfait was beautifully presented and the Greek vanilla yogurt gave it a satisfying flavor.
In my quest to sample the variety of choices at Pinstripes’ brunch, I sampled the waffle station, the mac and cheese, the homemade pastries, and some other desserts. At the waffle station, there were mini-Belgian waffles with a variety of toppings. I topped my mini-waffles with whipped cream, Nutella, syrup, bananas, and strawberries. The Nutella was superb, however; it was much thinner than Nutella you buy from a store. The mac and cheese was satisfactory. The pasta was a little undercooked, but the cheese was perfectly melted and gooey. The homemade almond pastry was quite dry. I took one bite and didn’t take another. The croissant, however, was soft and fluffy. I also picked up a chocolate chip cookie and chocolate brownie. The cookie was soft and tasted like it had just come straight out of the oven. The brownie was pleasant; however, it was cakey, and I prefer fudgy brownies.
In order to experience the full range of Pinstripes’ menu, I tried my mother’s potatoes, pepperoni flatbread, French fries, and chicken. The potatoes were a little dry, but the pepperoni flatbread was excellent. I did appreciate that they incorporated a few lunch items into their brunch menu. The French fries were crispy and a nice addition to the pizza. The chicken, however, was extremely dry and looked like it had been sitting for a few hours.
Pinstripes includes a bowling alley and bocce ball. Although I did not bowl, it makes the restaurant more versatile and kid-friendly. On the other hand, brunch costs $30 per person, ($36 per person with alcohol). My mom said “this was expensive for what we got. I wouldn’t come back here for brunch.” My grandmother, on the other hand, said “$30 was a good price. That seems to be the general asking price for brunch in most restaurants.” I agree that the price was a little steep. I also would have preferred sit-down brunch with a menu, not a buffet. Although it is hard to tell how efficient the service is and how personable the servers are with a buffet, my mom had to go ask a waiter to get our check twice before we payed.
Overall, I had a pleasant experience. The scenery around Pinstripes was beautiful and calming. The omelet station and the waffles were my favorites. The chicken tenders and the homemade almond flour biscuit were my least favorites. The location is convenient to the parking garage and there are a multitude of stores, including Lily Pulitzer and Patagonia, surrounding the restaurant, so one could go on a shopping venture while waiting for the food to arrive. The restaurant and wait staff are relatively large, so we were able to sit pretty fast even though we didn’t make a reservation. I would recommend this place to anyone looking for a family-friendly brunch place in Washington, DC.