When I lived in New York, whenever I was in the mood for something delicious, I would make the trek from Queens to Manhattan so that I could have the chance to sample the cuisines of a myriad number of distinct countries. However, some of my favorite restaurants were actually the ones in my local neighborhood. Since I’ve started to call Georgetown home, I decided to take a stroll in my new backyard to look for a place that not only had delicious food but also wasn’t too far removed from the front gates. Luckily for me, I stumbled upon an old favorite at a particularly auspicious time.
Located on M Street, J. Paul’s is a Georgetown tradition. Primarily known for its dinner and happy hour due to its numerous oyster and seafood selection, it has an established clientele. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that J. Paul’s renowned menu extended to brunch as well.
My friends and I planned to have a nice Sunday brunch, but our plans were almost ruined when the first restaurant reservation elsewhere fell through. Fortunately, J. Paul’s was very accommodating and able to find a place for our thirteen-person party.
J. Paul’s brands itself as a dining saloon, which is a fitting description as evident in the dark-finished wood and soft yellow lights. The seating area consists of a traditional bar with its bar-stool seating as well as many high tables and chairs. There are also dark leather booths with granite tabletops. One of the most striking features of this restaurant is its beautiful skylight; the natural light filtering in provides a stark contrast to the rest of the restaurant’s dim interior.
To start, we were served a complementary basket of mini corn muffins made with actual bits of corn tossed into the batter. The slight saltiness of the butter provided a good contrast to the slight kick of the muffin’s spice. I had to get the basket moved to the other side of the table for fear of finishing it as my entire meal.
Although J. Paul’s offers its regular menu during brunch hours, it also has a special brunch menu full of sweet and savory delights. I pondered over ordering their eggs benedict, smoked salmon omelet or their Belgian waffle before settling on a brunch classic: scrambled eggs. The J.P. Scramble consists of four eggs scrambled with hickory-smoked bacon, generous cuts of roasted red-skin potatoes and cheddar cheese served with a side of fruit and a buttermilk biscuit. If this sounds like too heavy of a combination, the dishes can be modified. In fact, I took my J.P Scramble with egg whites and no cheddar cheese. I rounded off the meal by ordering some of their strong aromatic coffee, which I could not stop asking for refills of.
The presentation of the meal was elegantly simple, with the scrambled eggs on top of a royal blue napkin that rested on a large white plate. The ratio of bacon and potatoes to eggs was a little bit on the uneven side, and my one criticism was that there could have been more of the former to balance out the blandness of the eggs. Instead of an English muffin accompanying my scrambled eggs, I was disappointed to only receive two pieces of white toast. Nevertheless, the fresh tartness of the pineapple and melon provided some comfort. I also had a bite of my friend’s Belgian waffle; the sumptuous uniqueness of the bourbon caramel and maple syrup won me over despite the somewhat starchiness of the waffle itself.
The prices are a bit on the higher scale for breakfast — the J.P Scramble was $10.95 and was one of the cheaper options on the menu. At the same time, though, the portions were more than enough to fill me and my friends up. J. Paul’s has long been considered a staple of the Georgetown area, and now their brunch menu provides an extra incentive to visit their establishment.