Doughnuts with wild boar. "Chinese breakfast." Corned beef with sweet potato hash and salsa verde.
Situated on Quincy Street in Arlington's bustling Shirlington Village, The Curious Grape opened its doors in 2001 as a wine shop before expanding into a full service restaurant last year. Under Executive Chef Eric McKamey, the menu has a distinctly wine-flavored theme, with pairings provided for each entree option, plus a lengthy list of sparkling wines, Bloody Marys and non-alcoholic libations.
For $12, diners can start with a flight of three Bloody Mary mixes: Ciao Bella Maria, Bloody Maria and, most intriguingly, the paprika- and piquillo-peppers-laced Beijing Mary. If spicy tomato juice isn't your thing, the ruby mimosa (Ruby Red grapefruit juice and sparkling rosé) is a tasty twist on a traditional brunch beverage.
The most intriguing starter selection by far is doughnuts with wild boar; served like sliders, the Asian-spiced boar meat sits on a brioche bun, covered with a dusting of powdered sugar. For something more elegant, try the Yukon Gold potato croquettes topped with a smear of black truffle crème fraiche, or be decadent and try ricotta blintzes with cranberry compote. (Menu items can be made vegetarian or gluten-free on request.)
Choosing among entrees takes diners on a trip around the world, from Asia (the Chinese Breakfast: Calasparra rice with roasted pork, marinated anchovy and fried egg) to Europe (the Spanish Breakfast includes a potato and leek frittata served alongside Serrano ham). A mouthful of the Austrian pancake souffle smothered in apple compote and hickory syrup is a sweet treat, while flat iron corned beef wouldn't be out of place on a Saint Patrick's Day table.
Walking in to The Curious Grape, diners are greeted by a dessert case filled with tempting cakes and pastries. The wine theme carries over into dessert with "deep dark chocolate secret" accompanied by port-infused cherry ice cream, or try the blood orange custard tart paired with ice wine.
Charming Shirlington Village boasts more than two dozen places to eat and has seen an explosion in great dining options over the past few years. The Curious Grape is a welcome addition to the neighborhood for Arlington locals and D.C. day-trippers alike.
Check out a few selections from The Curious Grape's new Sparkling Sunday Brunch menu:
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated that The Curious Grape opened last year. It opened in 2001 and expanded to its current location last year.