This review is in regards to the afternoon tea at The Jefferson. I could have not reported them if the food were above the par but had to taste the shit loads. The Good: Amazing space, well appointed setting and impeccable service. The Okay: Small selection of teas, but very nice teas offered. The Bad: Selection and quality of food. No food menu (only tea selection) for afternoon tea posted on their website.
I have been to over 20 afternoon teas around the country for the past 10 years. This is one of the prettiest and most formal surroundings I’ve been too. The Jefferson Hotel is stunningly beautiful and formally decorated. The courtyard where the tea is held is no exception. It’s a very quiet and elegant setting.
Definitely not a place to bring young children (a plus for couples and people that prefer a child-free atmosphere like myself). Service by the staff was gracious and impeccable. No complaints there at all. We also attended tea on a Sunday, so valet was free. Also a plus.
The tea selection was small compared to other teas, but the three teas that were chosen by the table were great (Assam, Equilibrium and Herb Ginger). All teas were served loose. The tea strainer with attached swing-style drip bowl was very cute (I have never seen that specific type used before at a tea house).
Now we come to the food. There was only one exception to my negative comments about the meal: the scones. The scones were very good, about the size of a medium sized apple, piping hot when they came to the table and served with clotted cream, peach jam or cranberry jam. The cranberry jam was also very yummy.
However…The sandwiches however were stale! The bread from all four selections was completely dried out. It tasted like they had been made earlier that day and left to dry out on a counter for hours. The ingredients themselves were okay…But the fact that we had reservations and were served food that was so poorly preserved was very upsetting (especially concerning the price $39-$55).
The dessert selections were okay. The raspberry cookie was decent and the strawberry shortcake was okay. Neither was anything exceptional or different; I could have picked up both at a local bakery. The plain pound cake and chocolate-peanut butter loaf were also dried out and stale like the sandwiches and were practically inedible.
I had a bite of both and pushed them aside. Very disappointed since the desserts tend to be the highlight of an afternoon tea and where a tea venue has a chance to shine and set themselves apart from their competition.
As I said, if the food had been decent and as good as some of the teas I’ve been to in the past (The Phoenician in Scottsdale, AZ has an amazing menu) this rating would have been much higher.
If the Jefferson DC changes there food menu I will be back. If it remains the same, I will not return and encourage others to check out Reynold’s Tavern in Annapolis or The Mandarin Oriental DC for their afternoon teas.