100 Best Restaurants 2012: Bar Pilar
From soulful bistros to high-gloss steakhouses, there's lots of good eating in DC, Maryland, and Virginia
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Cynthia Hacinli, Ann Limpert, Rina Rapuano
Comments () | Published January 23, 2012
Cheap Eats (2010) 100 Best Restaurants (2011) Cheap Eats 2011 100 Best Restaurants 2012

Bar Pilar
Address: 1833 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009
Phone: 202-265-1751
Neighborhood: U Street/Shaw, Logan Circle
Cuisines: Tapas/Small Plates, Modern, American
Nearby Metro Stops: U St./African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo
Price Range: Inexpensive
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Not Accepted
Best Dishes Buttermilk fried chicken; rice and beans with pickled pork; frisee salad with a fried egg; veal-sweetbread piccata.
Price Details: Small plates, $4 to $11.
Happy Hour Details:
Monday-Sunday 5:00pm-7:00pm 5:00pm-6:00pm: half-price draft beers 6:00pm-7:00pm: $1 off draft beers
Happy Hour Days:
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays

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This is the neighborhood bar of our dreams, with marvelous cocktails, a lived-in patina, genial bartenders, and Justin Bittner's ever-changing seasonal small plates. One caveat: Now that this once-hidden gem has gotten the attention it deserves, it's tougher to get a seat. Neighborhood residents (many in plaid shirts) nurse Victory ales after work, cheer the Skins on Sundays, and generally avoid Saturday nights, when the place feels more frat party than saloon. On the plate, Bittner is skilled with vegetables--he's not afraid of big hits of vinegar or lemon--and with anything porcine, from fried pigs' ears with lime to a brunch pancake-and-bacon sandwich. Tuesday nights, he turns out a satisfying family-style dinner ($45 to $65).

What to get: Two plates always on the menu: roasted potatoes with malt aïoli and fried chicken; beet-and-goat-cheese salad; frisée salad with a runny egg; black radishes with lemon; corn with chanterelles (summer); sautéed shrimp with garlic and lemon; pappardelle with Bolognese sauce; a mound of sweet pork shoulder as big as an entrée; Dark and Stormy cocktail; buttermilk pie.

Open Monday through Friday for dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner. Moderate.

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 01/23/2012 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews