Tag Archive for Adams Morgan

Bar Charley’s “Stepdad” Cocktail and More


Bar Charley opened last week in the space formerly occupied by Cajun Experience. The what? Yeah, that’s the usual reaction, which is why I’m hoping it will be more successful than its predecessor. One thing Bar Charley has going for it are some interesting and creative cocktails, some of which are better than others.  First, there’s the Stepdad — a drink that takes smoky to a whole new level. The drink comes with smoke, but, at a whopping $18, it’s too much gimmick and not enough booze. It requires the bartender to pull out a cedar plank, light a small section of it for a few seconds and let the embers burn enough to create smoke, which is then trapped under a rocks glass. Next, a large ice-cube is placed in the center of the plank and, finally, a small glass pitcher filled with cognac and tobacco (in liquid form) is placed on the other end of the plank. The plank is then pushed towards you to complete the last step: assembly. Flip over the glass, throw in the ice-cube, and pour in the liquid.  The result is about a finger’s worth of smoky booze.

I wish I’d loved it.

My recommendation is to skip the Stepdad and order the Suffering Bastard, which reminds me of a Moscow Mule with a twist, or the Quack-Quack-erac, which contains St. Germain washed in duck fat and mixed with aged rum, rye, bourbon, and burlesque bitters.  Both are easy to drink, tastier, and more affordable (than the Stepdad).  Charley’s cocktail menu is fun to read and I look forward to tasting some of the options which include many classic, throwback cocktails.  There’s the sloe gin fizz, orange crush, and the always–in-style old-fashioned.

As for food, I haven’t been won over, but I have tried only three dishes so far. The deviled eggs with fried oysters would have been excellent had the oysters been seasoned well. The anchovies, served on crostini slathered with marrow butter, were solid. The roasted lamb crostini were also fine but a little expensive given the small portion.  The menu is mostly small plates like fried eggplant balls, smoked chicken thigh with chicken livers, and shrimp and pork belly dumplings nestled in a little broth.  There are also sandwiches, such as a lobster roll and bison sloppy joe, and salads featuring romaine and kale and carrots and lentils with bacon.

Bar Charley
 1825 18th St NW
 Washington, DC 20009
Tel: 202-627-2163
Hours: Mon-Thurs: 4pm-11pm
       Fri: 4pm-midnight
       Sat: 10am-midnight
       Sun: 10 am-11pm

Döner Bistro


Courtesy Döner Bistro

Amsterdam Falafel better watch out. Döner Bistro is only a few blocks away and, like Amsterdam, its food tastes good to both the inebriated and sober alike. Plus, Döner has beer and wine!

On its website, Döner Bistro explains what it’s all about:

But what the f*** is a Döner?
The Döner Kebab (meaning “turning meat”) is a traditional Turkish dish served with rice on a platter.

In the 1970’s, a Turkish entrepreneur in Germany altered this dish by stuffing the Döner meat into a flatbread with salad and sauce.

This form better suited the German taste and hectic lifestyle, and its popularity quickly spread from Germany throughout Europe into Australia, Canada and across the world.

» Read more..

Preview: Taan Noodles

Do you ramen? You should. Ramen shops are popping up everywhere so get on the noodle train, people. The latest addition to the DC ramen scene is Taan Noodles, officially opening this Friday in one of my favorite neighborhoods (AdMo).

Taan Noodles is the creation of Executive Chef Jonathan Bisagni, whose resume includes stints at Kushi, Morimoto Waikiki, Sticky Rice, and Toki Underground.

The menu is simple. A small selection of appetizers/small plates and four types of ramen. There’s a vegetarian ramen, a duck ramen, a pork belly ramen with three types of broth, and what I like to call the meat-lover’s option — chicken confit, duck confit, and pork belly.

In addition to the food, Taan has an interesting selection of specialty cocktails, saki, and beer. I tried the Dr. Sun cocktail made with Japanese whiskey, simple syrup and bitters. I was pleasantly surprised at how the right proportion of each of these ingredients transformed the whiskey into an almost different spirit altogether.

I thought the corn fritters (sweet corn “kakiage”), served over a spicy yuzu and shiso sauce, were solid as was the duck ramen. While I would have liked a little bit more “pow” from the duck ramen, I’m not holding it against anyone since they haven’t even officially opened yet. What I do know is that Taan is an exciting new addition to the neighborhood and I look forward to trying more dishes and seeing where this noodle takes me.

Taan Noodles
1817 Columbia Rd. NW
Tel: (202) 450-2416
Hours: Mon. Closed
       Tues/Wed. 5-10pm
       Thurs. 5-11pm
       Fri/Sat. 5-midnight
       Sun. 5-10pm

Taan Noodles on Urbanspoon

First Look at Mintwood Place: two forks up!

Escargot hushpuppies

My first trip to Mintwood Place made me very happy.  It’s no wonder given that Mintwood’s owners (the same as Perry’s, next door) landed Cedric Maupillier as the executive chef.  Maupillier’s credentials are impressive and include stints working under Chef Fabio Trabocchi at Maestro and Chef Michel Richard at Central.  Last summer, he finished out a contract as consulting chef for Medium Rare in Cleveland Park.  I’m not sure how long he’s planning to stay at Mintwood Place, but I plan to take full advantage of his culinary delights as long as I can.

Maupillier’s preparations are simple but the flavor is well-developed.  The escargot hushpuppies are some of the best hushpuppies I have ever had.  I’ll admit that I did not really taste the escargot.  When we sliced a hushpuppy in half we could see it only contained a small amount of the French delicacy.  So, for those that are already cringing at the thought of consuming escargot, trust me, you won’t even notice it and the hushpuppies are just so good that they are worth a try.

The cast-iron chicken is amazing.  I normally don’t order chicken when I eat out because I eat enough of it at home.  In this case, I’m so glad I listened to the waitress’ recommendation.  A quarter chicken (leg and thigh) is roasted on a cast-iron dish along with root vegetables, lots of rosemary, and then finished off with a sprinkling of sea salt.  I can only guess that the chicken was brined before roasting because it was so tender and flavorful that I was speechless as I devoured it.  It’s a simple but beautifully executed dish.

The tagliatelle Bolognese was hearty and flavorful. I also loved the side dish (a la carte) of roasted brussels sprouts with bacon.

The ambience was casual and warm and the staff was welcoming and friendly. Overall, I’m happy to see Mintwood Place join the mere handful of quality restaurants in Adams Morgan.

Mintwood Place
  1813 Columbia Rd. NW
  Washington, DC 20009
Tel: 202.234.6732
Hours: Mon - Thu: 5:30 pm-10:30 pm
        Fri - Sat:5:30 pm-11:30 pm
        Sun: 5:30 pm-10:30 pm


Repeal Day Fun at Jack Rose

The "Jack Rose"

December 5th is Repeal Day.  On Dec. 5, 1933, the 21st Amendment was ratified, thereby repealing the 18th Amendment’s ban on booze. The Prohibition era came to an end and each American’s God-given right to drink was restored.  That’s a holiday I’m always ready to celebrate.

Oddly enough, I didn’t even know that Repeal Day was a holiday, much less that it was celebrated, until this year when I noticed many local bars and restaurants advertising “Repeal Day” festivities. I also learned about the DC Craft Bartenders Guild‘s 4th Annual Repeal Day Ball.  The Guild’s founding members include well-known DC drink-masters like Gina Cherservani of PS7, Chantal Tseng of Tabard Inn, Adam Bernbach of Proof and Estadio and Derek Brown of the Passenger and Columbia Room.

Two of my good friends and I dipped our toes into Repeal Day celebrations this year by enjoying a delicious four-course pre-fixe dinner at Jack Rose last night. The dinner, at only $20, was a great deal. The restaurant also offered bottomless glasses of sparkling wine for only $10.

Before dinner, we sipped special Repeal Day cocktails like “Crock’d Punch” (a hot toddy of sorts made with rye whiskey and aromatics) and the “Jack Rose” ($9 ea) in Jack Rose’s Roosevelt Room. The Roosevelt Room has a cool vibe.  It’s a smaller glass-enclosed bar that sits to the right of the 2nd floor’s main bar.  Lined with a lot of wood, the room has a cozy/intimate feel and lets out onto a small balcony (for those that need some fresh air or a view of the ever-present construction on 18th Street).

Our dinner started with two canapés — scallops and stuffed peppadews (a/k/a baby peppers). We could choose one of two dishes for each of the remaining three courses.  We tried the grilled shrimp caesar salad, fettucine carbonara with duck confit, and the prime rib with scalloped potatoes. The menu also included lobster thermidor, clams casino, grilled shrimp, and dessert (pineapple upside down cake) for an additional charge.  Choosing to drink our dessert, we skipped the cake and ordered one of each of the remaining three items.  The caesar salad and fettucine carbonara were our favorites, with the prime rib in 3rd place.

Overall, Jack Rose did a great job with the event. The food was tasty, the price point was right, and the staff was friendly. Next year, I’ll make sure Jack Rose is on my Repeal Day dance card!

Address: 2007 18th St. NW (Adams Morgan)
Ph: (202) 588-7388
Hours: Sun-Thurs 5pm to 2am; Fri-Sat 5pm to 3am
Roosevelt Bar open Wed-Sat!