Busboys does a lot of things right and only a few things wrong. The best asset, however, is how comfortable it is. Busboys is a great spot to post up and relax. It consists of huge windows that let in lots of sunlight (unlike the other dungeon-type coffee shops spread around DC), and over the summer the doors to the patio are left open, which brings in a breeze and makes working on the weekends all the more bearable. There are outlets all over the place and a few communal tables that make for more than enough room to post up with a laptop and grab a cup of coffee and something to eat. I’ve never had a problem posting up regardless of the time of day or day of the week. This is in contrast to Tryst or Starbucks, where you have to show up before the place opens to grab a seat somewhere and plug in.
The food is what they don’t always get right, but it’s getting better. At least it’s not overpriced. The sandwiches and burgers are the safest bet. The nachos are decent. I went for dinner and got the pan-fried chicken, which was surprisingly good, too. I’m a huge advocate of brunch, and I get a little miffed when these places can’t make a decent plate of eggs and toast. That said, I just tried a new dish this morning called Mekhleme (Iraqi Hash), which is really just two poached eggs on top of chili. I ate it in a little under 4.5 minutes, so it obviously couldn’t have been that bad. It was pretty D*MNGOOD®, actually. The one thing that did freak me out, though, is that it literally came out of the kitchen less than 5 minutes from when I ordered it. There’s no way that dish wasn’t just sitting there already. In general, Busboys and Poets use great ingredients. They taste fresh and the combinations are fantastic. It’s the execution and consistency they need to work on. It has been getting better though.
Let’s talk about drinks.
The other thing they do well is entertainment. Now I say this without actually ever going to any of the open mic nights or shows that are put on at Busboys. But I can respect it. Whenever there is an open mic (usually spoken-word), it’s always packed. And it’s always diverse, which is great. Spending too much time on 14th Street or the Penn Quarter neighborhood can make you forget that Washington, DC, is actually a pretty diverse town. But over at 5th and K, Busboys is definitely a melting pot.
|Neighborhood:||Mt. Vernon Triangle|
|Address:||1025 5th St., NW (K St.) Washington, DC 20001|
|Metro:||Gallery Place/Chinatown and Mt. Vernon Square/Convention Center|
|Serves:||Breakfast (Daily); Lunch (Daily); Dinner (Daily)|
|Specials:||Monday-Friday (4-7 PM): $4 draft beers; $5 featured wine by the glass|
|Go for:||Bloody marys; burgers; nachos; pan-fried chicken; blackened-fish sandwich|