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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

First Look: Blackbyrd Warehouse

Neighborhood: 14th Street/U Street

The Setup


When a new watering hole with a raw bar opens up in our neighborhood, it's clear that Official Roommate of DCWD Rajistan and I will check it out. So off we went to two-day-old Blackbyrd Warehouse.

The Vibe

Blackbyrd is owned by Thievery Corporation, the same group that also owns next door neighbors Marvin and The Gibson among other venues. Downstairs is an industrial feel, with an exposed ceiling and vents, painted brick, and grey concrete block walls. Light fixtures are either large silver warehouse ones, or gaslight string lights. In the front of the dining area is window bar seating and a few two-tops, while in the back sits a row of caged booths opposite the long butcher's block bar. Behind the bar is some antique garage shelving and a raw bar.

The second floor is an interlude into a cleaner, classier look. The far wall towards the front windows is a giant bar, while the opposite side is a projection screen which was playing Metropolis when we walked up, overtop a DJ stand. The ceilings are tall, and the area is a lounge with a few leather studded couches and coffee tables.

The Food


Along with a fairly extensively wine list and some craft beers, Blackbyrd is essentially a seafood place, with a raw bar, seafood "plateaus," and a number of pescetarian-friendly small plates. On this trip, I ordered the house smoked trout rillettes, which came topped with trout roe, and served with focaccia toast. The rillette, which came in a small mason jar, was nice and creamy, fatty with some salt.

For his part, Rajistan had the oysters "Rock Creek," essentially oysters Rockefeller with watercress, spinach, bacon, and Pernod. Solid flavor, especially the spinach and watercress, which gave the whole thing a very earthy flavor. Still, the interesting part was the price. Both small plates were $14, and weren't amazingly large portions. The whole menu seemed to be pretty pricey actually; the top end seafood plateau cost a ridiculous $98.

The Verdict


Fun venue with lots of nice date potential, and solid food, but real expensive for what it is. Will definitely drop by again for a drink though.

Food Rating: ***
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 3.5 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Casual
Bar Rating:
Hipster Hangout to Party in the USA
Vibe:
Chatty to Energetic
Cost:
$$$
(out of 5) ($50-$75 for two)