Reservoir, Terminal 1, Reagan National Airport, Arlington, Virginia

Airport food is not an unalloyed joy for the palate, and you usually have to pay a premium for what you get. I think we all can agree on that. There are airports in which you can have a genuinely flavorful meal, and some in which you can do so inside security. I approach airport food with caution, and am anxious to find things that are done pretty well. I want to reward properly cooked food.

Nancy and I once again found ourselves at Terminal 1 at National Airport. That’s the terminal that serves Southwest. It’s a long walk from the other terminals, and there are limited alternatives outside the security gates. For this trip, Nancy and I had risen in the middle of the night to get to the airport on time for a 7:45 am flight. We had to tiptoe to avoid disturbing the roosters. We arrived about 5:30 am (we’re obsessive about making flights). Our first priority was getting something to eat — for me it was getting some coffee to drink. We chose Reservoir.

Reservoir is modeled on a French bistro,

with lots of white tile and, utterly unlike a French bistro, iPads on which you order. Having been to this rodeo before, we (Nancy) managed to put in our order. Mine, the relevant order for our purposes, was a bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich. I’ve had those in airports before, and usually they have all of the individuality of a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich, which they sometimes actually are. This, however, was different.

There it is. Eggs, bacon that was actually crisp (really!), and cheese melted in nicely. I don’t want to oversell the sandwich. It was a long, long way from Flo’s or Ace Biscuit, and it certainly wasn’t the Oak Level Cafe or the Sunshine Biscuit Kitchen, BUT it wasn’t McDonald’s, either. I enjoyed it. Here in the center of one of the bleakest airport terminals I’ve visited outside of Frankfort, was a pretty darn good sandwich.

The coffee was fine, too. It all arrived fairly quickly, and Nancy and I enjoyed our breakfast. Oh, I almost forgot the cost: $6. Now that is a lot compared to the Oak Level, Ace, and Flo’s, but it was the least expensive breakfast sandwich in the terminal, and it was served to you while you were sitting down at a table with a place to set your sandwich and coffee down. Or you could go to, say, Dunkin’ Donuts and stand in a 40-person line with a break in the line for a stream of irate crowds pouring into and out of the ever-fragrant men’s room just before you get your food.

So I’m happy to reward some good food. Oh, how I would love to reward some great food! For now, however, in Terminal 1, Reservoir is the way to go.


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