Neighborhood: U Street
This entry covers two separate trips to U Street's newest Hilton Brothers bar (aren't they all?), The Brixton, the first a dinner with Official Friends of DCWD MPDD, MM, Alison, Nezar, and Official Co-Writer/Girlfriend of DCWD Texas, and the second a quick bar stop with Official Friend of DCWD Madison.
The Brixton is striking, both in its coolness and its resemblance to British pubs. There's the big things, like the colonial windows, the red-orange glow that reflects off the dark brown wood paneling everywhere. Then there's the little things, the bell-shaped light fixture that hang overhead, the rail bars that fence in the actual pub bar to the left side of the restaurant. Seating is simple wooden furniture, and there's a warm vibe to the place. Upstairs sits one of the nicer rooftops in the city, rivaling its sister Marvin.
Our two trips, despite being only a few days apart, sandwiched around a change in the Brixton menu. Among the smattering of food that was ordered, a few constants remained. First, an appetizer of a Scotch egg, a softboiled egg wrapped in sausage meat and further deepfried in breadcrumbs. Served with three sauces (which tasted like green goddess, a raspberry balsamic, and thousand island, respectively), was a solid presentation of a classic dish, gooey and meaty and decidedly British. The fry was crisp, and each bite was delicious.
Even more delicious, however, was my entree of pan-seared and sliced venison filet served atop a bed of roasted brussels sprouts, cherry tomatoes, and brandied cherries in a red wine sauce. Venison selected or handled poorly is often too gamey to be enjoyable. This was in contrast like a lovely earthier beef filet, perfectly cooked and paired well with the sweetness of the cherries and the seasonal sprouts. Packed with immense flavor, each slice was wonderfully tender.
Two other dishes stand out in our minds, though now they've since departed from the menu. First Texas's sweet summer corn and crab bisque was a nice end-of-season dish that brought out the sweetness of the base while providing generous chunks of pungent crab to offset it. Similarly, a bowl of PEI mussels in a white wine sauce of apples, fennel, bacon, and stilton cheese plays up notes of salt and sweet and sour.
Awesome hangout space for pre-concert drinks, fried British goodness, or sit-down dinner.
Food Rating: *** 1/2 (out of 5)
Date Rating: 4 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code: Casual
Bar Rating: Hipster Hangout to Suits Scene
Cost: $$ (out of 5) ($25-$50 for two)