Tag Archives: happy hour

A (Post) Valentine's Day Dinner at Kinkead's

18 Feb

Having traveled the last few weekends in a row, and simply turned off to the idea of going out to dinner for Valentine’s Day along with the rest of the world, Rachel and I postponed our plans until two days after the Hallmark holiday.

It could not have worked out better.

With Groupon in hand (by far one of the better deals the website has offered), we made our way to Foggy Bottom, but not before partaking in some Happy Hour first. Kinkead’s kicked off their bar specials earlier this week, so the timing was perfect.

Lobster medallions, lobster "knuckle" sandwich, onion rings

And how could one not resist half-priced oysters? Certainly not us. With Bass drafts for $5, a glass of their wine of the day for $8, and not to mention a very friendly bartender, it was a shame we only had a short time to enjoy it since happy hour only lasts till 6:30.

After we paid our tab, our reservation was ready and we made our way to the upstairs dining room. We started our meal off with their fresh bread basket which included some very warm and delicious pieces of cornbread, soda bread, and whole wheat.

Shrimp Bisque

For the first course, Rachel ordered the lobster medallions, served in an asparagus stew with a lobster “knuckle” sandwich and crispy Vidalia onion rings. While the presentation was gorgeous, it was the medallions that really stole the show. Flavorful and tender, it was hard to ration the lobster given how large the medallions were.

In fact, it might have been the dish’s only downfall as the medallions were too difficult to cut away at as we eventually wound up eating them too quickly. It might have been better if the soup was served in a shallow bowl so that one could cut the lobster instead of it being served in a deeper, smaller bowl.

The “knuckle” sandwich was a nice touch and felt like a seafood takeoff on grilled cheese and tomato soup. Rachel also had the great idea of throwing the onion rings into the broth which gave it a subtle, crunchy texture.

Sesame Seared Rare Tuna

I went with the shrimp bisque, but had we known beforehand that Rachel’s appetizer was also primarily a soup (we overlooked that when reading the menu), I probably would have ordered something else. That’s not to say the bisque wasn’t good. In fact, it was fantastic!  Hearty but not too rich, it was the perfect dish for a winter’s eve. We just did not realize the texture of both soups would be so similar.

For our main course, I ordered the sesame seared rare tuna, served with seaweed salad, soba noodles, wasabi, and a soy dipping sauce. It turned out to be a generous portion as the tuna was perfectly cooked while the seaweed salad and noodles were fitting sides for the Asian-inspired entree. The sauce was very salty, of course, but at least it was served on the side so I could add just the right amount onto the fish.

Skate with lemon sabayon, grapefruit segments, and jumbo grilled asparagus

Rachel decided to try the skate since it’s a fish she has never had before, and the crispy wing balanced out well with a lemon sabayon, grapefruit segments, and jumbo grilled asparagus. It was a beautiful presentation and she enjoyed the dish, but I could tell that she was eyeing mine more than her own. I think the sauce was a little too overpowering, and while she debated ordering the skate versus the whole black bass, the latter may have been the better choice. At least now she knows what skate tastes like.

Overall, we had a great meal, and combined with the $50 discount from Groupon, it was an even better value. Kinkead’s might be part of the “old guard” in DC, but as evidenced on Wednesday night, it has held up rather well throughout the years.

Kinkeads is located on 2000 Pennsylvania Ave NW in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, DC.

Kinkead's on Urbanspoon

Acacia Bistro: A Bright Spot in Barren Van Ness

15 Feb

When I lived in Van Ness about five years ago, I was always perplexed that an area in Northwest DC, which was right on top of the Metro, with plenty of young people living in apartment buildings and condos, had such few dining options. It’s the reason why I have been itching to try Acacia Bistro ever since it took over the spot once occupied by Schlotzsky’s Deli.

Buffalo SlidersMy friend Erika and I decided to come here for dinner and we arrived just in time to take advantage of their fantastic happy hour. The restaurant itself was very cozy with a small bar area and tables stretching to the back.

We appreciated the fact that we didn’t have to sit at the bar in order to enjoy happy hour, and we each got a glass of wine for about $5 as well as a few small plates. I should note that they had an extensive beer list as well, and was pretty impressed that you could get beers such as Abita Amber, Troegs Hopback Amber, and Victory Prima Pils for a very reasonable $3.50.

We started with the grilled Turkish meatballs with tzatziki and buffalo sliders with blue cheese and chipotle ketchup. We liked the meatballs as the yogurt proved to be a nice complement instead of traditional tomato sauce. The sliders were decent but didn’t necessarily blow us away. They paled in comparison to the buffalo sliders I’ve had at Vinoteca.

Grilled OctopusWe ordered some more small plates off the regular menu, this time getting grilled octopus and Sicilian eggplant with tomato sauce and mozzarella. The winner here was the eggplant, but I wish there were more servings as it was the perfect comfort food on a cold night. I generally love octopus and usually order it if I see that it is grilled, but it turned out be a little too chewy for our taste that night. We also would have preferred if there was more of a char on them to bring out the flavor.

Erika decided to get an entrée too since everything looked appetizing, as she had planned to take the leftovers home for her boyfriend. She ordered the veal stew with grilled polenta, and I have to admit after seeing her plate, I wish I ordered an entrée too! I was already stuffed but made a mental note to try that particular dish if Brett and I return to Acacia.

Sicilian eggplantIt’s worth noting that Acacia Bistro offers a $25 gift certificate through Restaurant.com. You can usually find a promo code if you subscribe to their emails, so the certificate might ultimately cost $2 or $3. However, there are some restrictions and it is important to pay attention to the fine print as we learned that night.

I gave the waitress my certificate at the end of the meal, but we found out that it could only be used towards non-happy hour items. Since the certificate required a minimum of $40 ordered from the regular menu, we wound up getting some coffee to make up the difference. Also, according to the fine print, the offer cannot be used for OpenTable reservations, so keep that in mind as well. In the end it worked out, it was just a slightly confusing bill.

It was refreshing to see such an independent space in fairly dull and corporate Van Ness. For us, it’s just a few short stops on the Red Line (if it’s running on time, of course). I would definitely go there again for happy hour. With most small plates averaging around $6, along with an extensive, discounted drink list, it is rare these days to see a happy hour that runs until 8pm. It’s definitely a candidate to include in our regular happy hour rotation.

Acacia Bistro is located on 4340 Connecticut Ave NW in the Van Ness neighborhood of Washington, DC.

Acacia Bistro on Urbanspoon

Hank's Tavern and Eats: Conquering the Hank Burger

4 Feb

While there are a plethora of burger options in the District (perhaps too many), one restaurant that is overlooked and, in our opinion, has one of the better patties in the DMV is Hank’s Tavern & Eats, located in nearby Hyattsville.

Rachel and I were looking for a place to grab dinner before the Maryland/Duke game in College Park on Wednesday evening, but knowing that most of the eateries situated along Route 1 would be jam-packed with Terps fans, we felt Hank’s would be an optimal venue given its proximity to the Comcast Center.

You might not know it, but Hank’s is actually under the umbrella of Chef Geoff’s restaurants. Located in the University Town Center next to the Regal movie theater, Hank’s Tavern & Eats features American comfort food in a laid-back atmosphere.

Hank Burger

Photo courtesy of Stacy Zarin-Goldberg www.stacyzarinphoto.com

They also have a great happy hour available in their spacious bar area. Running daily from 3pm to 7pm (and all night on Mondays and Tuesdays), customers can enjoy specials such as $3 drafts and $5 house wines.

Their best deal, however, is the $7 Hank Burger. Normally priced at $11, the Hank Burger is, at the very least, a half pounder stacked with lettuce, tomato, two thick strips of bacon, cheddar, and of course, a gigantic onion ring.

You’ll most likely be astonished at its towering size when it arrives, but for the price, you cannot beat it.

Oh, and it was pretty delicious, too. The Angus beef was juicy and flavorful, and while the bacon could have been a little crispier, Rachel and I had no problems finishing this behemoth of a burger.

We also decided to split a basil chicken salad since half a burger wasn’t going to cut it, at least for me. Just like the Hank Burger, the salad was a very generous portion, and given the reasonable price of $11.99, you’re definitely getting your money’s worth.

Served with greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, croutons, and large pieces of grilled chicken, this was definitely an entrée in its own right.

While the beer list isn’t too extensive, they do have Dale’s Pale Ale on tap and also featured Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA bottles for $3.95

All and all, it was satisfying meal before gametime. It certainly beets a dry, overcooked chicken sandwich at Comcast Center.

Hank's Tavern & Eats on Urbanspoon

Hank’s Tavern & Eats is located at 6507 America Blvd in Hyattsville, MD.

Mussel Bar Introduces Happy Hour

29 Nov

Since Mussel Bar opened earlier this year, patrons have been clamoring for some sort of happy hour to be instated at Robert Wiedmaier’s casual Belgian establishment.

Mussel Bar Happy HourWell, after six months of operation, Mussel Bar has finally started offering happy hour.

Rachel walked by earlier today and noticed a blackboard outside of the restaurant detailing daily specials offered 4:30 to 6:30pm, Monday through Friday, which include:

  • $2.75 Brabo Pils (Mussel Bar’s house pilsner)
  • $5.50 Delirium Tremens
  • $2.75 Stella Artois bottles
  • $10 Tarts (flatbreads)

I am particularly excited about half-price Delirium Tremens. $5.50 is a hell of a deal, even more so in Montgomery County due to their arcane laws which force restaurateurs to inflate their alcohol prices.

The tart deal is also a nice discount as guests can save $5 from the menu price. They are rather delicious, too.

All and all, we are more than glad to see another happy hour option in Bethesda.

Redwood: Beautiful Space, Underrated Happy Hour

5 Nov

A few of us who either work or live in Bethesda decided to meet up this past week in Bethesda for Happy Hour. While we love going to the usual spots like Black’s, McCormick and Schmick’s, or even Caddies, we decided to try something a little different, and headed to Redwood on Bethesda Lane.

I have been to Redwood a few times for lunch but not dinner, while this was Brett’s first visit all together. Redwood has begun to receive more positive reviews after they changed chefs and updated their menu. This is the type of place you would think would always be packed, given the prime location and beautiful layout and size. However, when we went this past Tuesday, the restaurant and bar were fairly empty inside.

Mini BurgersThat’s not to say we didn’t enjoy ourselves. The bartender/waiter we had was friendly and came back frequently to check in and see how we were doing. The girls had glasses of wine for $4 and the guys chose Fordham Light beer for $4 as well.

Eventually, we decided to get some bar snacks, and went for the fried oysters as well as an order of wood-oven flatbread with sea salt parmesan and olive oil. We also ordered several dips, which ranged from fresh ricotta to pesto to olive tapenade, each of which cost a dollar. With the waiter’s recommendation, we mixed together the pesto and ricotta on the flatbread, and it was an excellent flavor combination. If you enjoy kalamata olives, the tapenade had a strong flavor that meshed perfectly on the bread.

We decided we were still hungry, so we ordered two orders of the mini burgers, served with housemade chips. Each order came with two burgers, so each of us was able to enjoy one. While this is fairly common bar food, the burger served was of high quality, and we could tell that ordering a normal-sized burger here for lunch of dinner would be a treat as well.

As we ate and drank, we admired the decor of the place, especially the wood paneling by the bar that resembled actual redwood bark. It was hard to tell how real it was, but it was definitely a nice touch.

For all of you Top Chef lovers out there, a fun fact is that this restaurant was actually used for restaurant wars in the DC season. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to try the food then, but we certainly plan on going back soon either for dinner or another happy hour in the near future.

Redwood Restaurant and Bar on Urbanspoon

Fresh Grill: A Better Burger in Bethesda

20 Oct

While burger places in the area have come (BGR: The Burger Joint) and gone (Crossfire), Fresh Grill quietly opened this past summer and perhaps offers the best patties yet.

Rachel and I have been meaning to try this place for awhile as bloggers and Yelpers alike have raved about the beef that is currently being served up on the corner of Fairmont and Woodmont Avenue.

We arrived in time for their Happy Hour, which runs from 5 to 7pm. Appetizers were half off as long as you purchased a beverage, which themselves were offered at a 25% discount. We started the evening off with an order of “Mini Me” grilled chicken sliders as well as a couple of bottles of Dogfish and UFO.

Fresh Grill already gets some points in our book for offering some excellent microbrew selections, and for $4 per bottle during Happy Hour, I dare you to find a better deal for some 60 Minute IPA.

The ClassicBack to business, the real reason we were here was evident: the burgers. Fresh Grill offers plenty of pre-constructed options that start at $9.95, or one can build their own burger for $7.95.  All preparations come standard with lettuce, tomatoes, mayo, and a side of their house-made chips.

I was debating between the Dragon’s Breath (pepper jack cheese, red onions, charred jalapeno peppers, fire sauce, coleslaw) and The Hangover (sunny side up egg, cheddar, and bacon… very similar to the Gus Burger at The White Spot in Charlottesville), but decided to keep it simple and ultimately went with The Classic.

The burger featured applewood smoked bacon and cheddar cheese, but I also added sautéed onions as well (one of several toppings that can be added for an additional dollar or two). I also asked to exclude the mayo (I’ve just never liked mayonnaise on burgers, ever) as well as to have it cooked medium.

The order was complete in no more than ten minutes when I picked up my plate and noticed a steak knife punctured right in the middle of a beautifully stacked patty. Crafty presentation, I have to admit.

The Domo BurgerI placed the top half of the bun on the burger and took my first bite. My word was it delicious! The half pound of cooked Angus beef was incredibly juicy while the mixture of the bacon, cheddar, and onions made me not wanting to put it down. I could’ve devoured it without any toppings whatsoever just because I was so impressed with the quality of the meat itself.

Now, Rachel has never herself been a burger fan. Many times when we go out, she will opt for a veggie or turkey burger, or even a hot dog. Growing up, she just never really enjoyed the taste of hamburger meat. However, she also felt this way about many different vegetables and types of fish that she now loves, and even prefers most nights.

So, when going to an establishment that prides itself on quality hamburgers, she decided to take the plunge and actually get a burger, instead of their “world famous chicken sandwich” or “world famous fish sandwich”, or even their special veggie burger of the month.

She decided on the Domo Burger, which had a soy sauce glaze, topped with caramelized onions and portabella mushrooms. And I think it’s safe to say, Rachel enjoyed her burger.

The only trouble is, Fresh Grill may have set the bar fairly high for other burgers to come, but we have no problem heading back there very soon to try a different kind.

Fresh Grill on Urbanspoon

Food Wine and Co. Opens in Bethesda

14 Sep

It’s been approximately nine months since the Pizzeria Uno that occupied a prime spot on Wisconsin Avenue and Elm Street shut down. Many people were wondering what would take over the storefront given the large space and ideal location in Downtown Bethesda.

When it was announced that Francis Namin, owner of the outstanding Cork 57, would be opening a restaurant dedicated to continental cuisine and an outstanding wine selection, it immediately piqued our interest.

Food Wine and Co. finally opened its doors early last week which made it the obvious choice for DMV Dining’s dinner plans last night.

As soon as we walked in, we instantly noticed the clean, wood interior which accentuated the wine bar-themed décor. There’s a reason why this place took so long to open as the entire space was gutted from top to bottom. There is a striking display case by the bar of the charcuterie and cheese selection, as well as raw bar options of oysters and crab legs.

Love me some Ommegang
Upon our arrival, the hostess immediately greeted us and seated us at a butcher block-style table. We were also told that we could order happy hour specials in the dining area and did not have to sit at the bar.

Our server soon followed and handed us an impressive beer and wine list. Since this restaurant is owned by the same person that operates Cork 57, this wasn’t incredibly shocking, but it was great to see nonetheless. Any restaurant that features Ommengang Witte on tap is not joking around.  Add in the fact that they were offering $4 Abita Light draughts for happy hour and we’re in serious business.

Speaking of happy hour, Food Wine Co. also featured dollar Malpec oysters. Rachel and I split a half dozen of these and came away very impressed with not only the presentation but also of the three sauces that accompanied them.  As soon as we finished we ordered another half dozen since they were so good, and for a dollar a piece, they were quite a bargain. Instead of your traditional cocktail and horseradish combo, the plate came with wasabi, cucumber, and white wine dressings.  Very different, yet enjoyable. Black’s might have some serious competition here, and I’m all for it.

As for our main course, I went with the pork belly sandwich. It was topped with crispy shallots and glazed with a savory raspberry BBQ sauce and served on a roll that was prepared in-house (as is the case with all of their breads according to the menu).

The sandwich was excellent as it wasn’t excessively greasy yet still encompassed that delicious pork belly flavor while the sauce emphasized the care it took to prepare in the kitchen. Even the fries seemed freshly-cut and were much better than I’ve had at similar eateries.

Rachel opted for the ahi tuna salad which was beautifully served in rare pieces with a sesame seed crust, along with greens, carrot ribbons, kalamata olives, and a wasabi dressing that had quite a kick. It was a rather satisfying salad and a generous portion of tuna as well.

As we were finishing our entrees, the server discreetly dropped off a dessert menu then asked later if we were interested. Everything sounded delicious, most notably the goat cheesecake and a free form apple tart. We reluctantly declined because we were so full, but we will definitely have to indulge ourselves on a future visit.

We mentioned to the server that Rachel works in the building, and he asked us what we thought of our meal and to definitely come back soon as well as tell our friends and colleagues. He gave her a business card with the manager’s name on the back, and even cut us a discount on the bill! It was a very nice touch and you could tell they were anxious to see what we thought.

Overall, this seems like a great new addition to Downtown Bethesda. The prices are a little on the higher side, but so was the quality of everything presented, so it obviously seemed worth it. They also serve lunch which features smaller, less expensive variations of what is offered on their dinner menu. We were already eyeing the large bar area for a happy hour in the near future.

There is currently a website for Food Wine and Co. but the content is severely lacking. We definitely recommend they update it soon with the menu so others can see what this delightful new restaurant has to offer.

Food & Wine Co on Urbanspoon