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Best of Penn Quarter: Dining Guide
Creative cocktails, good wings, and sandwiches to write home about By Kate Nerenberg
Comments () | Published December 1, 2009
At Proof, Adam Bernbach serves a stiff drink called the Blood and Sand. Photograph by Chris Leaman

>> See the full best of Penn Quarter guide here.

Best Cocktails

Café Atlántico (405 Eighth St., NW; 202-393-0812). Jill Zimorski’s Salt and Lime Air Margarita ($11) bubbles with a lime-sprinkled crown that transforms a commonplace drink into a lovely libation.

Ceiba (701 14th St., NW; 202-393-3983). At this pan-Latin place, we go for the Pisco Sour ($5 small, $9.95 large), a tart Peruvian drink made with a grape-based alcohol and topped with frothed egg whites and a sprinkle of angostura bitters.

Central (1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-625-0015). The Velvet Mojito ($11) at Michel Richard’s bistro gets its pucker and spice from Velvet Falernum, a liqueur laced with lime and citrus peel, and Flor de Cana rum.

Co Co. Sala (929 F St., NW; 202-347-4265). There’s no shortage of chocolate at this restaurant/lounge. To cut through all the sweet stuff, we like the chocolate-free Alisar ($13). Thin slices of cucumber soak up a refreshing mix of Ketel One Citron and fresh lime juice.

Proof (775 G St., NW; 202-737-7663). Adam Bernbach, the new barman at this wine-focused restaurant, is partial to old-school drinks. Try the punch-packing Blood and Sand ($12)—Johnnie Walker Black Label mixed with Cherry Heering liqueur, orange juice, and sweet vermouth.

PS 7’s (777 I St., NW; 202-742-8550). Some of the most creative drinks in Washington come from Gina Chersevani. Case in point: the S’more Scotch ($12), made with dark-chocolate-infused Balvenie 12-year Scotch and a toasted marshmallow.

Rasika (633 D St., NW; 202-637-1222). The Warm Scotch Punch ($12)—honey-sweet Glenmoragie swilled with spiced apple cider and black tea—at this Indian hot spot might be the best way to beat the cold in Penn Quarter.

Best Wings

Combine an haute-comfort-food trend with a neighborhood that’s home to three pro sports teams and you get wings cooked, glazed, and garnished in endless ways.

Those who believe wings should be slathered only in Buffalo sauce should try Clyde’s (707 Seventh St., NW; 202-349-3700). The 12-piece appetizer is exactly as any purist would want it: crisp but not overly fried, with a burning heat that lingers. It comes with celery sticks and a smooth blue-cheese dipping sauce. There’s enough meat to make a full meal—for $9.25.

What do wings from a celebrity chef look like? In the case of Wolfgang Puck, who offers them in the lounge at the Source (575 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-637-6100), they’re lollipop-shaped, tossed in a vinegary General Tso’s sauce, and finished with fresh cilantro. You’ll want to lick your fingers when you’re done—if only to take in every bit of the $15 plate of five.

Best Sandwiches

Acadiana (901 New York Ave., NW; 202-408-8848). It’s not New Orleans’s Central Grocery, but the muffuletta ($12) at this airy Southern restaurant is a good imitation. Layers of salami, provolone, and an olive salad are pressed tightly between two pieces of crusty sesame-studded bread.

Central (1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-625-0015). The most decadent of Michel Richard’s guilty pleasures might be the grilled mushroom-and-cheese sandwich ($15). The accompanying dipping sauce—made with Gruyère, Parmesan, two types of cheddar, and sour cream—ratchets up the indulgence factor.

Legal Sea Foods (704 Seventh St., NW; 202-347-0007). Too often lobster rolls are skimpy on meat and heavy on mayonnaise. But the ones here ($22.95) burst with chunks of lobster held together with a touch of binder and seasoned with just enough black pepper. 

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Posted at 04:00 PM/ET, 12/01/2009 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Articles