Cusbah (DC)

Cusbah South Asian Spice Bar sits on the same corner, across the street from famed fried fish carryout, Horace and Dickie’s. That is how I originally discovered it. It always looked interesting from the outside, with the name painted on the side of the building, and the giant patio area around it. We were always on our way somewhere else when I remembered it was there- so it was one of those ones that kept falling off my radar until recently. Last weekend, we were looking for a cheap-ish lunch option on H St. that we hadn’t tried, and their brunch buffet fit the bill. We parked just a couple of blocks away and walked into a completely empty restaurant (through the wrong door because I hadn’t had enough sleep). We got there just as the buffet was being set up, so we had to wait a couple of minutes, but at least we knew the food was going to be fresh.

In the meantime, we noticed that mimosas were only $3.50, so we each had one. I realized when we got them, why they were so cheap: the champagne they used was flat. Had it cost more, I may have said something, but I was too tired to bother. I drank it anyway.

The buffet was small, but it had just enough choices for me to stuff myself. There was basmati rice, an appetizer (some sort of fried onions), two curried veggies (potatoes and chickpeas), curried lamb and chicken vindaloo. There was also naan, assorted chutneys, and rice pudding. I got a little of everything on my first run, and the just the best ones: rice, chicken, chickpeas, and naan on my second run.  I finished with the rice pudding. It was a little awkward to eat on the flat rectangular plates with a fork, but the naan helped with that. It was all pretty decent. The flat mimosa and the fact that the bartender was chatting incessantly, very loudly, in the small space with another employee, put a little damper on the experience. She was very nice and helpful and we joked around a bit, but the loudness got a little old in the empty restaurant. Maybe it was just me being cranky. I won’t NOT go back there, but I won’t be in any hurry to do so. There’s great South Indian food closer to home with a weekend buffet, no need to travel.

  • Favorite thing I had: The naan! And the curried chickpeas.
  • Favorite thing she had: The lamb curry
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: I would like to go back for dinner next time. Maybe try the tandoori kebabs.
  • What makes this place stand out: The big patio seating area and the window that opens up to the bar. There was quite a nice breeze flowing through the place. They also have vegan options.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): Maybe we’ll go back after we’ve put a big dent in our list. That patio with access to the bar outside might be worth it on a nice day, though.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): Well, if it’s not noon, there are a plethora of bars nearby. You could hit a show at Rock N Roll Hotel. Or see a play at Atlas Performing Arts Center.

Boundary Road (DC)

We first discovered Boundary Road when the lady was getting a tattoo next door at Cirque Du Rouge. It seemed too expensive a dinner option right after spending a few hundred dollars on a tattoo, so we went elsewhere that night. It got back onto my short list when they had a Green Hat spring release party. I didn’t make it down there that night, but vowed to do so soon. What sealed it for me was when I heard they were doing equal pay specials on Equal Pay Awareness day. I will always support a place that commits to causes like that. Since we had yet another free Sunday, I made a brunch reservation.

We left our place with plenty of time to make sure we didn’t get caught in Cherry Blossom festival traffic like we had the day before. It wasn’t necessary that day and we got to H St. with half an hour to kill. We wandered into Batter Bowl Bakery and down the street where some of our college friends used to live. We marveled at how different everything looked now. It was a totally different neighborhood 5 years ago when we were hanging out there on a regular basis. All that was there on that end of H St. at the time was Citi Pizza, the funeral home, and the liquor store. I mean, pizza and liquor, what more do you need? But it’s nice to have options.

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We decided we were hungry and headed to Boundary Road about 15 minutes before our reservation. They weren’t too crowded, so we were seated immediately. The first thing I noticed was the light fixture. It was a box spring with light bulbs. The space was rustic and cozy. It was a bit dark in the back, which was kind of jarring on this super bright day. The lighting was good for a date. Or a hangover. The lady marveled over how large the bar was in this relatively small row house-sized space. I liked the wood and the bold colors.

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We sat down and decided pretty quickly on the Punch of the day (Gin, cantaloupe, honeydew, mint, orange juice, and cherry) for me and a mimosa for her. The punch was nice and light and fresh. It was a nice fit for the sunny, almost hot day. Her mimosa was in a huge flute and was the perfect champagne to OJ ratio.

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We started the silver dollar biscuits. I hadn’t had anything for breakfast, so I was ready for something to snack on. They came out quickly with butter and raspberry jam. They were still just a touch doughy, which is exactly how I like them. The jam was perfect. I ate mine really slowly because I didn’t want it to be gone. I could eat the jam with a fork straight out of the dish.

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I decided on the Apple Cheese Pancakes as my main course and the lady went with the Reuben Eggs Benedict. The pancakes were nice and thick and also a little doughy, which was perfect. I appreciated that they were rustic-looking. I think I accidentally used too much syrup, because they were a little on the sweet side for me, but a few bites of the lady’s Benedict cut the sweetness quite well.  I just wish I had ordered a side of bacon. Her meal was a perfect balance of flavors. A rye muffin topped with pastrami, sauerkraut, and two perfectly poached eggs. I was actually pretty jealous of hers, but was glad she ordered it so I could have a few bites of it. I’ve only recently learned that I actually like sauerkraut, and hers was perfect.

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After that dense biscuit and two huge pancakes, plus a few bites of the lady’s meal, I was pretty stuffed. But I was pretty pleased with the meal. I was glad that there were some things close by to wander to, because I really needed to walk off some of my fullness. There’s so much more to explore on H St. now. It’s crazy what a difference 5 years makes.

 

  • Favorite thing I had: The pancakes were good, but the biscuits were excellent. The punch I had was really refreshing. I told the lady that I could sit outside and drink it all day.
  • Favorite thing she had: The eggs on the Reuben Eggs Benedict were cooked perfectly, and the jam on the biscuits was really good.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: I want to go back for dinner. That menu looks even better than brunch.
  • What makes this place stand out: The space itself was really cool. Rustic. I want a row house and I want whoever designed the restaurant to help me decorate.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions)Sometime in the next couple of months for dinner.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby)We wandered to Hunted House. Sidamo, the coffee shop, is also right across the street. Soon enough, you’ll be able to hop on the street car and get all the way to the other end of H St. in no time.