While last Saturday’s plans were originally for dinner at a new popular restaurant on Rockville Pike, we ultimately wound up having dinner at another, just a half a mile down the road.
We were initially going to check out Matchbox’s newest location in Rockville, but when we arrived, the place was an absolute madhouse. The foyer was full to the brim while the hostess said the wait for a table would be around two and a half hours!
Rachel had called the restaurant earlier in the week asking if they took reservations, and while they said they did, they did not accept them on Fridays and Saturdays. The hostess, however, said that they do take reservations on those days, which left us a little confused. Needless to say, we quickly exited Matchbox as we weren’t going to waste half our night waiting for a table at a place we had been to many times before (at their original Chinatown location).
Thanks to Rachel’s handy Droid, we were able to book a table for four at nearby AGAINN Tavern for 8pm, giving us half an hour to enjoy one another’s company and unwind from the chaos that was transpiring over at Matchbox.
We met our friends Judy and Dan and were promptly seated. AGAINN did not appear to be too crowded, so it was quite refreshing to dine at a venue where the decibel levels weren’t blazing.
AGAINN carries a British gastro-pub theme, specializing in traditional English fare while incorporating farm to table principles. Because the restaurant is in Montgomery Country, beer prices unfortunately run a bit higher, but the selection wasn’t bad despite being on the Pike. I kid, mostly because the place took over the Houston’s space.
Anyway, our waiter, who was a little on the eccentric side, took our orders after we got some drinks. I went with the roasted chicken. When it arrived, I was enthralled by the generous portion which further accentuated the reasonable price of the entrée ($19).
Accompanied with carrots and a watercress salad, the chicken was, and I hate to use the term that shares the same name with a Peruvian chicken shop down the street, “crisp and juicy”. Coupled with the fact that they pretty much served the entire bird, I was more than satisfied to say the least.
Rachel decided to get a dish that she normally wouldn’t order, which was the housemade corned beef sandwich. I’m usually the one that orders entrees like that while she tries a bite or two, but given restaurant’s reputation for British comfort food, she could not resist. And did it turn out to be a good choice.
The sandwich came on a brioche bun with housemade pickles and horseradish cream on the side. The corned beef was so thick that it looked more like a filet than the thin sliced meat we’re used to seeing served up in traditional delis. You could tell how tender it was when biting into the sandwich as the meat immediately melted into the bun. A nice touch was pickled cauliflower to round out the meal.
AGAINN turned out to be a solid choice when it was all said and done. Everyone was pleased with how their meal turned out, and while our waiter wasn’t the most gracious of hosts, we would definitely come back. It’s nice to see that Rockville Pike actually has a restaurant with an identity as opposed to the countless chains that line the highway.
Bear in mind that, while having the same name as its sister restaurant in downtown DC, the Rockville menu is slightly varied as the DC version appears to be a little more upscale. This means we may have to check out the downtown location to compare, but we will certainly be back to AGAINN, um, again.