Shaw has surely stepped up its restaurant game lately with the opening of many new hot spots in the past two years. Convivial is one such restaurant, which brought fancy French-American fare to the neighborhood. The restaurant opened in 2015 and has already made its mark in the District, earning the #4 spot in Washingtonian’s “100 Very Best Restaurants.” The fried chicken and waffle, Convivial’s most popular brunch dish, has taken Instagram by storm. It was teasing my taste buds for way too long, and on Sunday I decided to finally check it off my foodie bucket-list and relieve myself of the unnecessary torture of drooling over IG pictures.
I called up a friend to join me and we got to Convivial around 1:00p.m. At that time the restaurant was still quite busy and buzzing. We wanted so badly to brunch al fresco on their cute curb-front patio, but the scorching 100+ degree weather refused to let us be great! Luckily, our hostess sat us next to the beautiful ceiling-to-floor glass windows which delivered the outside vibe that we were going for.
Despite the hot temperature I had a craving for something warm and comforting to start, so I ordered their Irish coffee. Let’s just say that there was a generous serving of whiskey in my coffee. I’m not sure which one had a greater effect on me… the coffee or the whiskey!
Convivial offers a great selection of brunch cocktails, beer, and wine. They also offer an assortment of fruit and vegetable juices, which is not typical of brunch menus in DC. My cocktail of choice was their Pamplemousse Rosé: a combination of rosé, grapefruit and simple syrup. I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious this drink was. I’ve been in a grapefruit-obsessed phase for the past couple months, snacking on grapefruits at least three times a week, so the Pamplemousse Rosé served as my grapefruit fix for the day.
Although I was lured to Convivial by the fried chicken and waffle, there were a number of dishes on their brunch menu that captured my attention. We ultimately settled on sharing the shrimp and grits and Maryland soft shell crab sandwich along with the chicken and waffle. The pickled rockfish with green papaya, avocado, passion fruit and watermelon radish, and the quinoa porridge with vegetable succotash, goat cheese, egg whites and pistachio sounded so scrumptious, and were close contenders. I think a second visit to Convivial is in order.
The fried chicken and waffle did not disappoint; it surely lived up to my foodie dreams. The dish consisted of a fluffy golden waffle, tender fried chicken (boneless thigh portion) coated in sausage gravy, an egg sunny side up, and extra sausage gravy on the side. Think smothered chicken on top of a waffle.
Convivial’s chicken and waffle isn’t served with syrup so I requested a side of syrup to satisfy my sweet tooth. The dish was quite flavorful on its own, however the combination of the syrup worked perfectly to add a hint of sweetness to the otherwise savory meal.
The shrimp and grits was equally delightful. Creamy grits sat in a miniature cast iron pot covered in a flavorful sauce with chunks of tasso ham, smoked cheddar, green onions and of course shrimp. The shrimp was succulent, enormous, and abundant. The dish was topped with a poached egg and came with a biscuit on the side. It was a very hearty and wholesome dish; I enjoyed every spoon full! I am known as the “sauce queen” among my friends, and I especially loved how “saucy” the dish was. What can I say… I like my sauce with sauce on the side.
The soft shell crab was fried to perfection in flour and Old Bay. It was served with lettuce, tomato and tartar sauce in a slightly toasted bun, and was rather tasty. The sandwich comes with the option of fries or fruit as a side. We opted for the fries because… well, potatoes are LIFE!
After eating the more filling meals on the menu, there was no room for dessert. As a bread pudding lover (bread pudding is my absolute favorite dessert), it was extremely difficult to say no to the blueberry bread pudding. I’ve never had blueberries in my bread pudding before so the concept was extremely enticing. I’ll have to try this dessert the next time I brunch at Convivial as I definitely will be returning for round two.
Convivial’s brunch gets an A. Convivial certainly lives up to its name: it was indeed a fond feast of amazing food and delicious drinks with great company. I went for the fried chicken and waffle, but their brunch menu has so much more to offer. Everything we ate was super delicious. It is definitely not your basic brunch, and certainly makes the list of Brunch Belle Approved DC brunches.
You can find their brunch menu here. Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays between 10:30a.m. – 2:30p.m. I should also mention that Convivial validates parking for up to two hours in the adjacent parking lot.
801 O Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20001
Until next time,
Love, Peace, and Mimosas