35/52 – Lyon Hall

8/28/16—Almost any Arlingtonian, and most DC residents, will know exactly what you are talking about if you bring up Northside Social or The Liberty Tavern, both of which have become institutions in the Clarendon dining scene. The executive chef of both these locations, Matt Hill, has a third Clarendon restaurant that is slightly lesser known, but of no less quality. Lyon Hall is known for its classic French brasserie cuisine and solid beer list, but I was most excited about trying the brunch. I had recently read a solid review of their brunch, so I decided to give it a try for myself. I invited my friends Vanessa, Lawrence, and Yoriko to join me.

As usual, we started out the meal with cocktails. I ordered a bloody mary—it came with pickled vegetables and a beer chaser. I appreciated that the beer chaser offered something a little different to an otherwise standard bloody mary. Lawrence ordered the orange crush, which was made with Smirnoff orange, St. Germain, lemon, and soda. Vanessa got the Northside Sling—Tito’s vodka, Benedictine, Cointreau, Luxardo, pineapple, lime, and bitters. The sling was my favorite of the cocktails. Lawrence also got a cappuccino, which was presented beautifully.

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For the appetizer, we ordered the steak tartare. The hand cut flat iron steak came shaped into a little patty topped with a quail egg. The plate was dotted with a Dijon aioli and came with mixed greens on the side. All of the flavors and textures worked together beautifully; this dish was spot on.

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For the entrees, all four of us ordered the same thing…and it was totally worth not trying any of the other entrees, because none of us could get enough of the salmon benedict. The base of the benedict was a massive, buttery croissant. The first layer was sautéed spinach, followed by smoked salmon, a poached egg, dill hollandaise, avocado, and fried capers. A sprig of fresh dill was used as a garnish atop the dish.

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For dessert, we ordered the fresh donut assortment, which apparently is an item the restaurant is well known for. That day’s selection consisted of a standard cinnamon sugar donut, a strawberry iced donut, a peanut butter iced donut, and a donut with a sweet, caramel-esque icing that was topped with rice crispies. All of them were amazing, but my favorite was the strawberry.

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The overall assessment—the food here is really fantastic. The brunch drink prices were a bit steep, but aside from that it was a pretty bangin’ brunch.

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