Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kramerbooks & Afterwords – DC landmark perfect for browsers and brunches

Eric likes to read a lot so I wasn't surprised to hear that they visited a bookstore when they were in DC.  I have my own form of reading...watching the birds and squirrels outside the window.

Kramerbooks & Afterwords on Dupont Circle
The Afterwords Café
      Kramerbooks & Afterwords seems part of what may soon be a bygone era:  the independent bookseller with a café.  It’s adjacent to the Dupont Circle metro station (a long escalator ride) and very convenient to the fun of that area.  The bookstore is a vibrant place, well stocked, with a strong focus on both travel and politically themed non-fiction.  The Café & Grill opened in 1976 as the country's first bookstore and café.  Neil started visiting in the 80's when his friend, Tom, moved to DC and has made it a must stop with every return trip.  On this night, we were meeting our friend, Jessi, who moved to the area to attend Georgetown University.  She was very familiar with our choice and actually uses it
as a date spot.  Her feeling is that if they're not into books and eating, then there's no reason to move on with the relationship.  

Maine Lobster, Asparagus, and Mascarpone Ravioli
Roasted Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Ravioli
Crab Cake Sandwich— A Café Specialty
Smothered Bayou Catfish
      The menu is wide-ranging and reflects a variety of American and world food that is in keeping with the global concerns of the store (we ordered lobster ravioli, squash ravioli, crab cake sandwich, and smothered bayou catfish).  Steak, lamb, fish tacos, etc., are also available.  The food is always good and it’s served in a relaxed bi-level space – sort of the brass, potted fern look of the late 70s and early 80s when eating out was fun, rather than a habit or a religion.  Prices for entrées are reasonable ($16 – 23), but they’re known for their desserts (pies, cakes, and tarts served å la mode as well as sundaes), which was generous and delicious and in the $7 - $9 range.  We usually don’t list prices on here, but this is just to let readers know that the surroundings and choices might seem surprising.

Mango Tart
Peach Cobbler
Italian Lemon Cake with Fresh Berries
Service was slipshod, frankly.  For the menu choices, I’d expect service at least on the line of a moderate chain where generally the service keeps customers returning over the level of the food.  This was a drawback the night we went, but maybe the server was tired, overworked, whatever.  The food and the bookstore are both worth a look, especially to see the 20 and 30-something staffers and grad students chatting over policy and realizing they could be our next generation of national leaders.

Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

meowmeowmans said...

Sounds like a pretty neat place. We'll have to check it out the next time we are in DC. :)