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Friday, December 18, 2015

Vendetta

Plaudits: None
Neighborhood: H Street NE

The Setup


Quick nosh and drink around H Street? Why not Vendetta, I suppose?

The Vibe

Take a dive bar, plaster it over with a thin layer of updates, and drop a bocce court in the middle of it. I can't help but feel like I'm in one of those stereotypical roadhouse bars from a movie, bathed as it is in a red-orange light and a sizable din. It's lovable, but to the left of Blackjack on the bocce-bar spectrum (where Vinoteca is all the way to the right). Not even some exposed brick or framed art deco posters can shake me of that feel.

The Food

I order two things to supplement my dinner: pimento mac and cheese balls, and a trio of meatball sliders topped with gouda. The best way to describe it all is a tad forlorn: the mac and cheese balls are dense, chewy, and lack any telltale kick, while the meatball sliders are missing any sort of panache, even with a surplus of tepid marinara.

The Verdict


Sort of typical and derivative bar food.

Food Rating: **
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 3 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Casual
Bar Rating:
Party in the USA
Vibe:
Noisy
Cost:
$$
(out of 5) ($25-$50 for two)


Vendetta Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Monday Munchies: Sprig and Sprout

Plaudits: None
Neighborhood: Georgetown

The Setup


We really were craving soup, for some reason - probably on account of the cold. And since Caviar is a thing that exists now, we decided to order in from Sprig and Sprout - the Vietnamese food provider on the opposite side of town.

The Food

Look. I'm not immune to the idea that food is immeasurably better when it isn't being eaten 30 minutes after it's ready out of plastic containers. But pho is one of those things that I hold so dear that when it is bad, it's bad for me. And this was poor: thin broth, stingy meat servings, and perhaps the death knell, undercooked noodles - which frankly, you would expect them to be overcooked if anything, given the delivery time. The result is a bowl that feels like it came right out of an instant noodle mix.

For what it's worth, the spring rolls and summer rolls suffer a similar fate: chewy and insubstantial. Hard pass.

The Verdict


Sad. I wanted to like this so much, and it really didn't do it for me. Maybe it'll be marginally better in person?

Food Rating: **
(out of 5)
Cost: $$ (out of 5) ($25-$50 for two)

Sprig & Sprout: Pho & Viet Sandwich Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Beefsteak

Plaudits: Washington Post Fall Dining Guide 2015
Neighborhood: Foggy Bottom

The Setup


With a need for a quick lunch on our way to something in Foggy Bottom, Official Co-Writer/Wife of DCWD Texas and I popped into Beefsteak.

The Vibe


Take the refurbished, well, basically anything of Taylor Gourmet, add a dash of whimsy from any DC mural, and a bit of that Jose Andres magic, and you get the insides of Beefsteak. To wit, much like any other Chipotle-esque space, an open line kitchen is backed by shades of beige and blue, while an open cafeteria-style dining room sits a mix of coeds and worker bees on uncomfortable benches under plastic bucket lights. It's nice for a fast casual joint, but it's still a fast casual joint.

The Food


I honestly don't get it. Hordes of food writers around this fair city have lauded this spot; I mean Sietsema even put him in the damn Fall Dining Guide. And I get that it's nice to elevate the poor vegetable. But at best, this place is confusing; at worst, it's just sort of mediocre. Your vegetable base is boiled to start, leaving it limp and devoid of at least some of the nutritional value. What guidance is provided for is loose, but doesn't exactly make a difference; while Texas opts for a Frida Kale and I freelance, frankly, there's no real difference in what we get out of it. Which is a bowl of moist and flavorless greens perked up by the occasional corn nut or spicy tomato sauce. Heck, probably the only thing that made this quasi-fun was the chicken I added, which if you think about the restaurant's proposed mission, doesn't bode well.

The Verdict


Pass.

Food Rating: **
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 2 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Casual
Bar Rating:
 N/A
Vibe:
Energetic
Cost:
$
 (out of 5) (less than $25 for two)


Beefsteak Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, December 3, 2015

1905

Plaudits: None
Neighborhood: U Street/Shaw

The Setup


Because I'm terrible, we've got a backlog that needs to be cleared before the end of the year. So we'll pick up the pace here and publish nearly every day until we get it all out.

For today's entry, we needed a quick dinner before a 9:30 Club show, and 1905 promised to be the quickest in the area. Plus, we'd never actually eaten there before. So there Official Co-Writer/Wife of DCWD Texas and I go.

The Vibe


I get that it's what they're going for, this room that feels like some weird collision between 1920s speakeasy, Victorian gothic, and your grandmother's attic. But, as the years go by, the room just feels dated, or at the very least, musty. Overbearing greens and browns, aggressive hipster chic furniture: at one point in time, this probably felt cool. But both of us can't help but feel like this is not a place for a dinner date - especially since both my half-booth seat and her chair are charitably described as oppressively uncomfortable.

At least there's always the lovely roof deck?

The Food

We play server roulette, and he recommends a handful of things, and the results are... mixed? On the one hand, the appetizer round brings a wild mushroom toast that is winning: a fun mix of fungi on a baguette with some blacked eye pea aioli that has a charming amount of salt on it. The truffled deviled eggs are similarly enjoyable, if unsurprising; the mustard vinaigrette is perhaps the one touch of ingenuity.


Sadly though, the entrees are lacking if entirely flavorless. A shrimp and grits tries to inject some life via squid ink bread crumbs, but comes away as a shrugworthy bite (and I love shrimp and grits). Perhaps more notably, the memorable dish is notorious for the wrong reasons: the brined and grilled pork chop - a dish we weren't even considering until the server strongly endorses it - is limp and flavorless, and oddly paired with a caraway-raisin bread pudding that sort of baffles us.



The Verdict

Normally, I'd feel bad about writing this few words on a dinner. But this one - with perhaps the exception of the mushroom toast - was quite literally, nothing to write home about.

Food Rating: ** 
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 2 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Casual
Bar Rating:
Quiet Drinks to Party in the USA
Vibe:
Calm to chatty
Cost:
$$$
(out of 5) ($50-$75 for two)


1905 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato