Pentagon City gets a meat-focused new dining spot today with the opening of Epic Smokehouse, a barbecue/steakhouse mashup from longtime friends and former coworkers at the Palm, Wayne Halleran and Joon Yang. Epic is opening with lunch and dinner, and brunch is in the works. Here are five things to look for in the 86-seat dining room.
Plenty of Brine and Smoke
Most of the meats on the carnivorous-leaning lunch, dinner, and bar menus are brined for more than 24 hours in a mix of water, kosher salt, black pepper, brown sugar, and crushed ginger before being ushered into the kitchen’s Southern Pride smoker for another lengthy stay. Maple, hickory, and oak wood lend flavor to more than just the meats. You’ll find French onion soup with smoked Gruyère cheese, smoked ancho-Caesar dressing for the salad, and bourbon bread pudding with smoked ice cream.
Bacon in Unusual Places
Sure, there’s a bacon-topped burger—with a patty made from a 60:40 ratio of beef to pork—but swine strips pop up in less likely places, too. You can drink the stuff in an Old Fashioned made from Wild Turkey 81 infused with applewood-smoked bacon; eat it in an appetizer that stars a thick-cut slab with whole-grain mustard and fig sauce; or finish off the meal with a chocolate cupcake topped with caramel-butter icing and candied bacon. Pancetta (Italian bacon) tops the macaroni and cheese.
“The Four-Hour Bar Stool”
Halleran, a self-described “big guy,” didn’t like the idea of perching on a spindly stool at either the traditional bar or the “eat bar,” a four-seat dining counter looking into the open kitchen. Therefore you’ll find the “four-hour” stool, a leather-covered perch with a supportive back on which you can sit for hours without body cramps. The same comfort level goes for the rest of the seating, with a mix of deep leather booths in the bar and equally cushiony dining room chairs. Even the 14 seats on the patio look pretty welcoming.
Burger Happy Hour
While Virginia liquor laws prevent advertised drink deals on the scale of Maryland and DC, you can still head to Epic between 4:30 and 6:30 for $8 burgers and $5 bar bites such as fried oysters tossed in house-made Buffalo sauce with blue cheese, smoked onion dip, and a trio of beef, pork, and tuna tacos.
No restaurant opening these days would be complete without a mention of the barn wood, and this one is no different. You can find panels of repurposed wood around the bar area, which adds to the overall “hipster farmhouse” (™ Todd Kliman) vibe.
Epic Smokehouse. 1330 S. Fern St., Arlington. 571-283-4582. Open Monday to Thursday 11 to 10; Friday and Saturday 11 to 10:30; and Sunday 11 to 9.