A brewpub for brunch? Oh, heck, why not? A Lafayette Square resident, Square One Brewery provides a darkish, quiet bar, perfect for those who’ve had too good a time the previous evening, a sunny dining room and a pleasant brick-walled patio that even has some shade, increasingly necessary at this time of year.
Sunday brunch at Square One means a breakfast menu plus their regular lunch menu, starting at 10 a.m. Brunch goes until 2 p.m., and the regular menu does a segue to more dinner items at 5. The brunch is a sit-down affair, with menus, which pleases us. Joe has had an aversion to carrying his own food since his days in Army chow lines.
A seafood omelet with hollandaise sauce was a hit on all counts. Stuffed with shrimp, bay scallops and what appeared to be real crab meat and not those "krab stix," along with a little cheese, the tender four-egg omelet lay under just enough of a nicely lemony hollandaise. Alongside were the house potatoes, not hash browns, but good old country-style fried potatoes, with—say Hallelujah!—enough onions.
The pancakes are immense, both vertically and horizontally, measuring eight inches across, two of them standing an inch high. They’re available plain, with blueberries or with wheat germ. We tried the blueberry, which is a little like eating a cake hot out of the oven, the batter a little tough because it has to be cooked quickly, the interior cooked through but still almost disconcertingly moist. The server smiled when she delivered them, adding, "I’ve brought you syrup -- but I think they’re sweet enough. I don’t use it on them." Good advice. We used only a wee bit of syrup (and, in a fit of self-control, removed most of the golf-ball sized butterball atop them), which was just enough. The pancake was loaded with berries, and the bacon alongside was thick-sliced, high-quality stuff. Coffee, from Kaldi’s, is outstanding.
The brunch menu includes traditional items like eggs Benedict, lox and bagels and biscuits with gravy, but also includes several other omelets, including a vegetarian offering, plus house-made porridge with pecans and raisins.
There’s a quiet reminder that this comfortable spot, a sister of the Augusta Brewery, remains primarily a brewery, with some tasty brews on tap. "Great beers are still great beers before noon," it points out, and also offers a mimosa, bloody Mary or a red-eye.
The lunch/dinner menu is a bit more complex, with sandwiches, salads, appetizers and such for lunch, large plates added for dinner. The smoked flank steak chili turned out to be exceptionally good, with corn and chunks of tomato added to the mix (probably not a classic chili) along with sufficient spicing and smokey, tasty meat. A layer of crisp fried onions on the top brought a different texture. A spinach salad was fresh and nicely dressed, with tender young leaves, and the hamburger is eminently satisfactory. Pub chips, crisp throughout, are excellent, freshly made and delicious, served with malt vinegar.
Square One once was Ronayne’s, and a number of other places, but this version is the best incarnation in many years. It also offers high-class pub grub or bar food, depending on your definition. Ours is simple food, well-prepared and tasty.
Square One Brewery
1727 Park Ave.
Lunch and Dinner daily, Brunch Sun.
Credit cards: All major
Wheelchair access: Passable
Entree prices: $6-$19