Thursday, February 9, 2012

Where to Eat: District Kitchen

A few weeks ago, I watched the Ravens lose to the Patriots in the AFC title game and immediately fell into a deep depression on par with the time I was six and dropped a double scoop ice cream cone in the mud.  That incident still haunts me, much like I imagine the image of Billy Cundiff missing a 32-yard field goal will be forever burned into my brain.      

Thankfully, I had plans to meet a friend after the tragic game for dinner at the recently opened District Kitchen.  I was hopeful that we would find it to be a welcome addition to the rather subpar Woodley Park restaurant scene, and I am happy to report that it is indeed a bright spot on an otherwise dull street.  For starters, I am a big believer in the importance of ambiance in creating a memorable dining experience, and District Kitchen has got that down pat.

source: http://dc.urbanturf.com


source: http://dc.curbed.com


The restaurant’s exposed brick walls and low lighting lend an invitingly cozy air to the joint, and District Kitchen manages to pull off the perfect balance between casual and upscale.  It’s a nice place, but not stuffy or ornate.  It’s romantic, but minimalist, with a crowd that’s lively but spaced out enough that you won’t feel smothered by fellow patrons.  Furthermore, everyone from the hostess to the bartender to the waitress was incredibly welcoming.  

But none of these things ultimately matter if the food is no good.  Fortunately, that’s not the case, a fact made evident by the clean plates we left at the end of the evening.  There aren’t a ton of vegetarian options unless you combine small plates, but I was intrigued by the lone vegetarian entree, a mushroom “french dip”, and very much enjoyed the combination of crusty bread with a creamy mushroom and bean topping.  I’m picturing some of my meat-eating friends gagging at this, but I promise- it was actually quite tasty.  My friend ordered the duck leg confit, which she deemed delicious, and we split an order of fries, which I deemed mine.  No, I did actually share them like a grown up, but they were so tasty I could’ve easily housed them all on my own.  And I don’t even like fries that much.      

For dessert, we shared the chocolate pot de crème, which arrived with chocolate shortbread and salted caramel whipped cream.  It was as delicious as it sounds, and I’m pretty sure you could put their salted caramel whipped cream on top of an old shoe and I’d still have a go at it.     

So what’s the downside?  The price.  The main dishes run from $17 for my vegetarian entree to $28 for the seared halibut.  Not outrageous for a fancy-ish place, but a bit overpriced.  Then again, you’re paying for the service, ambiance, and location- steps from the Woodley Park metro- and a few extra bucks is, in my opinion, worth it.  Just don’t go on a Monday, because they will be closed and you will be sad.  Then you will remember that there is a Chipotle around the corner and feel better again.  Then you will feel uncomfortably full from your ginormous burrito and wish you had been able to go to District Kitchen instead.

On an unrelated note:    

If you’re not yet sick of all the talk of Valentine’s Day, and are single and looking for something fun to do, the folks over at AskRomeo are hosting a “Meet My Friend” mixer at James Hoban’s Irish Restaurant and Bar.  It starts at 7:00 pm on Valentine’s Day and will feature free finger food and extensive drink specials.  So if any of you lovely ladies or dapper gents are looking to mingle, make new friends, or simply get drunk on a budget, grab that platonic pal of yours and make your way toward Dupont Circle this Tuesday.  Check out their website for more details.  




5 comments:

  1. Glad I found this site. I'll have to use this as research! How far out do you rate restaurants - there are some great places in those outer suburbs and beyond! Think Little Washington....

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    1. How did you find such an awesome site? ;)

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  2. Thanks, Ryan! Most of us live in D.C., so the majority of the reviews are on D.C. establishments. But when I do venture out of the city I try to check out new places-- I'll have a review up soon of a place in Shirlington!

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    1. Magnolias at the Mill is very nice in Purcellville

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