By Zach Gordon
Hoya Staff Writer
Published: Friday, November 8, 2013
Updated: Friday, November 8, 2013 00:11
When heading to brunch before an afternoon at theNewseum, my friend and I ventured out to Penn Quarter to the new American restaurant Cedar. Inspired by rustic farmhouse food, Cedar blends new American style cuisine with traditional game meats and country fixings.
I was surprised continually throughout our meal. Actually, surprise might be the word to describe my entire experience at Cedar. Walking in with no expectations, I certainly was not prepared for what I saw. At first glance, Cedar is a dressy-casual neighborhood restaurant with a modern hardwood aesthetic, but after sitting down and browsing the menu for a second, I looked up and realized that the decor was much different than I first thought. Covering the walls were pictures of cedar trees, and by the reception desk stood an ornate wooden Japanese folding screen. The aim is to give off a woodsy feel to complement the food, and while that may not have been achieved, they’ve definitely created an interesting space.
Although decor is always something I take into heavy consideration when I judge a restaurant, nothing is more important than the food. While the meal left me incredibly satisfied, it was still very surprising. Everything on the menu looked good, and settling on what to order was a tough call. When I’m having a hard time deciding on what to order, my gut reaction is always to order either the strangest or most conservative item that looks good. The main courses weren’t all that interesting as a whole — most were variations of standard breakfast fare — but they all included a country twist. The traditional dishes they offer, like sausage, are made from game meats like venison, providing the rustic farmhouse flair they strive for. They also serve Southern dishes with a modern spin, the standout of which is the chicken and waffles served with a side of maple collard greens. I’ve had many chicken and waffles in my life, so I decided to stick to something that sounded safe and interesting — banana French toast. Little did I know that they use actual banana bread to make this French toast, which results in one of the most decadent breakfast foods I have ever tasted. Although there were only two medium-sized pieces, it was a serious struggle to finish it. Ultimately I failed and had to leave some behind, but I made sure to properly mourn the abandoned food.
I also couldn’t resist getting an order of the game-meat sausages, and they were not at all what I expected. I’m not sure what I anticipated, but the sweet and somehow not too gamey buffalo sausage I had was both delicious and strange to a point of insecurity. I wasn’t actually sure if I enjoyed its taste or was just so confused by the flavors that I had no choice but to like it.
I’m also a huge sucker for coffee, and the moment I laid eyes on the words “French press,” I knew that the meal was bound to be good. Especially at Georgetown, good coffee is impossible to find, so when I have the chance to drink good coffee, I take full advantage of it. Each order of coffee entitles the diner to his or her very own French press, and my friend and I each got one. Needless to say, we were very caffeinated upon our journey to the Newseum.
Although a little far for many Georgetown students, Cedar is easily accessible by taking either the 32 and 36 bus, which run down Wisconsin and Pennsylvania avenues, and is a great easy place to grab a meal when over by the Mall. Fake foliage aside, Cedar provided a delicious and satisfying meal along with a great break from typical Georgetown dining. Don’t be afraid to get out there and explore the city: You never know what fake forest you’ll end up in.