My friends and I always celebrate birthdays with a classic bottomless brunch. For my birthday recently, we headed to District Winery, located in Navy Yard. When I booked a table, I discovered that not only does District Winery offer waterfront, outdoor and indoor dining, they also have reservable private cabanas for up to six guests.
Situated in the Yards Park overlooking the Anacostia River, District Winery identifies as a “boutique urban winery” in one of Washington, D.C.’s trendiest areas. Brian Leventhal and John Stires founded the venue following their successful opening of Brooklyn Winery in New York City. In my opinion, the D.C. location offers some of the most high-quality, innovative and exquisite wine in the area while providing a complementary and equally delectable tasting menu.
Upon confirming my reservation, the winery offered a special menu selection of limited food and beverage packages. These included a juice kit and bottle of Cava for $39, a cookie and snack platter with a bottle of their house wine for $79 and a pricier sandwich and wine platter for over a hundred dollars, all of which applied to the final bill minimum. Sticking with the bottomless brunch theme, I preordered the Cava package.
Upon arriving at the restaurant, I was immediately impressed by the decor. The restaurant’s frame is modern and sleek, composed of rectangular black building panels and wide-open windows. The winery possesses a homier, cabin-esque feel with its cedar wood paneling and warm glow. White umbrellas and patio tables dot the outside perimeter, and a row of tan and brown cabanas line the front of the premises.
After checking in, the host led us to our cabana, which was decked out in a boho flower theme with a mock hedge and rose backdrop on one side, comfy neutral-toned sofa chairs, a scattering of palm-frond decor and an iconic pink flamingo statuette. In the center of it all was a large, circular, walnut-hued coffee table. The polished and upscale design added to the trendy and modern ambience.
But the food and drink selection managed to overshadow this impressive ambiance. For the table, we ordered a cheese trio with grapes and fruit preserves for $19 and a charcuterie plate featuring the chef’s selection of three artisan cured meats, fennel apricot chutney, dijon mustard, cornichon and toasted bread for $19. The pairing of the cheese trio with the charcuterie made for a flavorful combination — the sweetness of the fruits, saltiness of the meats and sharpness of the cheese danced together perfectly.
My grilled cheese order with three cheeses and tomato jam for $13 was an exquisite elevated take on a comfort food classic, and I also ordered a market vegetable frittata with grilled spring onion, zucchini, lemon zest, smoked paprika and pecorino for $15 from the weekend brunch menu, which added a lighter contrast to the richness of the grilled cheese. We shared dishes among ourselves to collectively pick a favorite, including the syrupy, dessert-like challah French toast for $17, black pepper and rosemary biscuits whose savoriness was coupled with a lightly whipped honey butter for $6, and for some heavier meats, juicy and tender house-made pork sausage sliders for $15. The grilled cheese was ultimately crowned the best dish for its creamy, savory cheese and sweeter tomato jam. The pork sliders also deserve an honorable mention for their rich, zesty flavor and juiciness.
Drinks-wise, the Cava and the bottle of house sparkling wine we requested were smooth, soft and rich in flavor. We also ordered the Spring Wine Flight, which included 2 oz. pours of unoaked chardonnay, riesling and barbera for $17 from the wine list. I didn’t enjoy the chardonnay due to its drier, unfruity taste, but I loved the richer and fruitier Barbera. The riesling was sweeter than the other two wines, proving to be my favorite of the three.
Overall, my experience at District Winery could not have been better. The atmosphere was lively and the staff was extremely COVID-19-cautious, with socially distanced seating from other parties and a virtual menu. My friends and I were able to venture out of the “Georgetown bubble” to enjoy some splendid wine and scrumptious food. For a nice weekend meal or special event, this is a memorable experience that is definitely worth the time and expense.