Junction Bakery & Bistro in Del Ray is the neighborhood café every neighborhood wishes it had. The adorable space is multi-functional, offering everything from grab and go breakfasts, tempting pastries, happy hour and a full brunch.
We were invited to stop in for a taste last weekend, on a dreadfully dreary day. Despite the weather, we were instantly cheered by the smell of fresh-baked bread and uplifting decor.
Head chef and baker Nathan Hatfield, previously of Restaurant Eve and Le Diplomate, is taking his wealth of culinary knowledge from fine dining institutions and applying them to a beautiful, approachable bakery and café. Nathan’s creations are based on seasonality, with a focus on his outstanding baked goods and fresh, quality ingredients.
Junction Bakery was bustling on a Sunday afternoon, but the friendly and helpful staff kept things moving along quickly. All items are ordered up front at the counter and, if you’re dining in, brought to your table as they’re ready. We started with Bloody Marys and a maple blueberry scone.
While I love a good bloody Mary, I loathe horseradish. The spice in Junction’s bloodies tastes like it comes from good old-fashioned cayenne instead. It also had a delightful hint of tanginess to it, highlighted by the delicious pickled green beans on top. I officially declare this my new favorite bloody in the DC area.
And that scone? Oh, that scone. It tasted like the fluffiest, most decadent blueberry pancake that you could eat with your hands. Tom and I were fighting over the crumbs. Part of me is grateful I don’t live closer to Junction Bakery, because I know this would quickly become an addiction.
In addition to pastries, the menu features a variety of toasts and more traditional brunch dishes. We couldn’t pass up the California toast with arugula, fennel, watermelon radish, avocado and a lemon garlic vin on sourdough.
The bread was thick, dense and chewy and held up nicely to the mountain of fresh toppings. The arugula added a nice kick of pepper to the usual avocado toast flavor profile, though I wished for a bit more of the lemon garlic vin. A little acidity would have been a nice contrast.
Up next, a bowl of beautiful golden quinoa with roasted root vegetables, Brussels sprouts, walnuts, sherry vinegar and a poached egg.
This nutritious bowl blew me away. The yolk, broken and mixed in with the quinoa, adds a richness to the otherwise subtle flavors of the fresh vegetables and herbs. The walnuts added a perfect pop of texture. I could eat this for breakfast every day and never tire of it.
Although Junction offers both healthy and hearty options, even the more decadent choices feel wholesome. The Kim Chee sandwich with kimchi, egg, roast pork and lime rice mayo on a ciabattini is a perfect example.
This is not your average breakfast sandwich. Again, the bread stole the show. The roll was soft enough to make the sandwich easy to eat, but dense enough to avoid getting soggy. The kimchi was wonderful without being murderously spicy or overpowering in flavor, which gave the pork and perfectly runny egg a chance to shine.
If you prefer the classics, Junction has that covered as well with a standard egg plate and traditional breakfast sandwiches. If you prefer a “lunchier” brunch, there’s a chicken sandwich and a short rib grilled cheese on roasted garlic sourdough. I want to try them all, after eating ten more of those scones.
We left fully satisfied without feeling weighed down, although we certainly didn’t skimp on our orders. I credit this to the quality of the ingredients in each dish. Often, the flavors were simple but still impressive due to the freshness of ingredients. Like the sign says, there are many beautiful reasons to be happy and Junction Bakery is one them.