During my weekend-long search of the scarcely distributed Kentucky Breakfast Stout from Founders Brewing, it had turned out (thanks to the power of Twitter), that Adams Morgan’s The Black Squirrel had carried the rare brew.
Thus we set plans in motion to: a) get dinner at the new Logan Circle barbecue stand Standard, and then b) head over to The Black Squirrel and get my hands on some delicious KBS.
When we arrived at Standard at about 7pm, the place was already locked up for the night! A piece of paper Scotch-taped to the fence indicated that the kitchen had completely run out of food and that they were closing at 6pm. Needless to say, I was furious. I was really, really looking forward to devouring some barbecued brisket. Like, all weekend.
Rachel suggested that we should just eat at The Black Squirrel instead since we were going to head over there anyway. She had also heard that the burgers were really good, so off we went.
When we got to the main level bar, there weren’t too many options to sit down, but we were able to snag a table by a TV to watch some of the NCAA Tournament. The waitress came by and asked us for our drink orders. Before she could even take her pen out, I immediately asked if they had anymore KBS. She went to the bar and soon returned empty-handed. Turns out they had sold their last bottles just hours earlier. I was devastated.
Thankfully, The Black Squirrel has one of the better beer offerings in the city. I ordered a Williamsburg AleWerks Washington’s Porter on draft, and while it was no KBS, it was still a very nice beer. We also split a 22 ounce bottle of Lagunitas’ Wilco Tango Foxtrot. It proved to be another solid choice amongst the group.
Without hesitation, I ordered the burger and had it topped with lettuce, tomato, pickles, barbecue sauce, and sautéed mushrooms. Starting at $10, some toppings (such as the aforementioned pickles and sauce) are 50 cents while others (such as cheese, bacon, etc.) cost an additional dollar. It quickly adds up, and while I agree that a slice of cheddar or scoop of chili should cost an extra buck or two, there’s really no reason to charge for something like pickles which is typically complimentary at most places.
When it arrived, I was not only impressed by the size of the entrée, but also the quality of the beef. The kitchen uses Hereford beef which is grounded in-house. When I bit into the burger, I couldn’t help but be enamored by the juiciness and flavor of the beef. While I asked for it to be cooked medium, it was clearly more on the medium rare side. Not that I had a problem with that.
What I did have a problem with, however, was the seasoning they used to prepare the beef. It was just too damn salty. I had to keep reaching for my water, in addition to my nicely-paired porter, since I was ingesting an overabundance of sodium. Had the kitchen laid off the salt, it would have ranked among the better burgers I’ve had in the District.
Rachel ordered the Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, and the waitress bought out a bottle of Eliot Ness instead. She didn’t mind or complain as she likes both beers, but it was just a slight oversight by the busy waitress. Rachel was originally looking at the veggie burger but decided in the end on the soup, salad, and sandwich deal of tomato bisque, grilled cheese, and a side salad. It was ideal for someone like her who can never decide what to get. The grilled cheese and tomato soup undoubtedly hit the spot on a late Sunday evening. She opted for tomato instead of bacon in the sandwich, and the thick white bread was perfect for soaking up the bisque.
Overall, The Black Squirrel is a nice little hangout if you’re looking for some choice brews as well as some good bar fare to pair it with. I’m already looking forward to coming back and checking out their recently opened basement bar. If they are going to be tapping Canadian Breakfast Stout in the near future, you can rest assured I’ll show up within the hour.
The Black Squirrel is located at 2427 18th Street NW in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC.