If you missed Thursday’s chat, the Going Out Gurus were joined by Eater DC editor Amy McKeever for an afternoon of navel-gazing about Washington’s 40 essential eats, and whether “real Washington”eats can only be located within the 69 square miles of the District of Columbia.
It was a contentious one, folks. But real news was discussed, too, including the outrageously priced grilled cheese at a new restaurant and cocktails for elitists. Read some of the debate below and catch up on the full chat here.
Be sure to join us Thursday at 1 p.m. when we’re joined by Lynne Breaux, president of the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington -- the organizer of Restaurant Week — for a look at the week and what’s ahead in the Washington dining scene. Submit your questions here.
Q: Why is that when these articles come out that there are very few establishments in the suburbs of Maryland around D.C.?
Fritz Hahn: As a Maryland native -- specifically a P.G. County native -- I know what you mean about Maryland frequently being overlooked. But in the list of 40 essential eats -- which, I’ll remind everyone, were nominated by readers, not editors -- there were 14 Maryland restaurants chosen, as opposed to 13 from Virginia and 13 from D.C.
(If I were adding dishes to this list, as much as I love Crisfield [in Silver Spring], I would have included the Crab Bomb from Jerry’s in Lanham and either the brisket or the ribs from KBQ in Bowie.)
Q. Cowgirls in the District: Planning a night out for a group of friends that love country music (I could give or take it but I’ll have fun no matter what). Is there anywhere in D.C. or Northern Virginia where I could take them for music, beer, and possibly even some line dancing?
Fritz Hahn: My go-to spots for country music are Hill Country and Nick’s right now. Hill Country has live-band country karaoke on Wednesdays and a mix of country, bluegrass and blues singers the rest of the week, generally without cover charges. Love Shiner in mason jars, the late-night happy hour (2-for-1 drinks after 10!) and the barbecue.
For dancing, you probably won’t beat Nick’s in Alexandria, which has line-dancing classes, a huge dance floor and live bands on Friday and Saturday nights.
Q. The Hamilton: Any word on how this place is (old Borders on 14th Street)? I stopped in for a beer and overpaid about $2, so it’s definitely pricey. The space is beautiful, though. Any word on the quailty of the food? It looks like this will be a tourist and after-work lawyer/lobbyist hangout. Either way it’s pretty darn expensive for drinks.
Fritz Hahn: True story: The last time I went in to the Hamilton, I ordered a cocktail, had a fancy grilled cheese sandwich (which comes with no sides, just a pickle) and washed it down with a beer. The total, before tip, was north of $32.
The food is Clyde’s: Good ingredients, well made, but not something that you’ll be dreaming about a few days later. That said, I haven’t yet tried the sushi bar...
Q. Are you kidding me!? Who the heck would pay ~16 bucks for a “fancy” grilled cheese sandwich. Maybe if the cheese was a brick of gold. Something is wrong with the food scene if they are charging that much for a brick of cheese bookended by bread slabs. Oh, and Happy New Year!
Fritz Hahn: Happy New Year to you, too. So, for the Hamilton’s grilled cheese -- it was only $9, according to my receipt. (It would have been $14 if I wanted a side of regular or sweet potato fries.) It had Nancy’s Camembert cheese on brioche, along with date puree and a bit of surryano ham. The cheese melted to the consistency of cream cheese, which was weird, but it wasn’t awful. Just ... I’d rather have a grilled cheese that is more like grilled cheese.
Q. My office just moved to NoMa from near the White House. Noon trips to the Renwick are a thing of the past, as are quick strolls to Constitution Hall or Lisner after work. So, what should I be keeping track of in my new neighborhood? I think Folger is walkable, though a bit of a hike. Anything else?
Jess Righthand: Okay, sounds like you’re into the cultural side of things. Not knowing exactly where your office is, here are some things more toward H Street NE to keep in mind: Atlas Performing Arts Center, the H Street Playhouse, Conner Contemporary, Studio H Gallery.... for music, you’ve got Rock and Roll Hotel, Red Palace, and the jazz club HR-57.
Q. Gurus, please help! I’ve walked past a new bar that I want to try, but I can’t find it online. I believe it’s called Godmother? It’s on U Street, between 13th and 14th I think, in a lower-level space on the south side. I can’t invite people unless I know more though. Thanks!
Alex Baldinger: You speak of The Codmother, and it is indeed a bit of a hole in the wall (or ground). I haven’t been, but it always seems to have a good buzz going and I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to stop in for a few pints and some greasy pub fare.