East meets West at Georgetown's Mie N Yu, which debuted its new brunch menu this weekend.
Chef R.L. Boyd's revamped menu includes classic brunch dishes like Eggs Benedict and shrimp and grits, while showing the restaurant's distinctly Asian flair with its bibimbap omelette and miso breakfast burger.
Walking into Mie N Yu immediately transports you from bustling M Street into a tranquil Asian space. A Buddha statue and gentle waterfall adorn the entrance, while each dining room has a unique theme: a Moroccan bazaar and Turkish tent downstairs, the regal, red Baroque Room and a wrought iron birdcage on the second floor.
Unfortunately, stunning decor (Mie N Yu may be Georgetown's most beautiful restaurant, and I'm not just talking about its top-ranked bathrooms) can't make up for lackluster service and mediocre food.
Brunch started off on a promising note with refreshing pomegranate lemonade. Perfectly sweet, it should be sold by the jug on steamy summer afternoons when Georgetown tourists and locals alike are clamoring for an icy beverage.
The lemonade proved to be the meal's high point.
Upon being seated in the birdcage dining room, a waiter quickly appeared to take our orders and fill water glasses. After that, we rarely saw him except when he dropped off food and, much later, brought the check. No "how's your food?" or "do you want anything else?" Because we were the only party seated on the second floor, it was impossible to get a server's attention and we were largely ignored during the entire meal.
Brunch diners can choose between à la carte selections or the $25 prix fixe menu, which includes three courses and a drink. Considering the size of the portions, à la carte is the way to go for even big eaters.
The beautifully presented Mie N Yu Benedict (two soft poached eggs, grilled brioche, rapini, crispy breakfast fingerlings, wasabi hollandaise, crispy garlic) was one ingredient away from being perfect Eggs Benedict, with wasabi hollandaise adding an Asian twist. Unfortunately, the entire dish was overwhelmed by rapini, broccoli's slightly bitter cousin. "It was harsh," one companion said. "I couldn't get the taste out of my mouth."
The lamb sausage hash (berbere spiced lamb sausage, crispy fingerlings, spinach, cherry tomato confit, shallots, soft poached eggs, black pepper-mint hollandaise) got the best review of the table, although its peppery taste prevented the vegetable flavors from getting a chance to shine.
Bibimbap is a Korean staple of rice, kimchi, beef and assorted vegetables, traditionally topped with a raw or fried egg. Take all of those ingredients but add four eggs and you have the bibimbap omelette (four eggs, Korean barbecue beef, crunchy aromatic rice, house-made kimchi, scallions, jack cheese, crispy breakfast fingerlings, spicy mayo).
The discus-like omelette had the dense consistency of a frittata. While the kimchi-and-beef-concentrated center was deliciously spicy, the bulk of the omelette was bland bites of egg and rice smothered with mayonnaise.
Crispy potatoes accompanied several of the dishes and arrived room temperature and unseasoned; some of the spices that dominated the Lamb Sausage Hash would have come in handy here.
Mie N Yu's atmosphere alone is a reason to return, perhaps for post-work drinks in the stunning Venetian Bar, but its brunch shouldn't top your 'must eat' list. Washington -- and, indeed, Georgetown -- has enough wonderful brunch spots that there's no need to spend time or money at one that's less than so.