Cheap Eats 2007: Bar Pilar

It’s official: The Tater Tots are forgotten. When this Hemingway-inspired bar changed its menu—and its whole concept—last year, doing away with margaritas and snack-bar fare in favor of small plates, the disappearance of the spuds was all some people talked about. But we’ll take a crusty roasted potato swabbed in thick aïoli any day. Or bowls of Marcona almonds and olives warm from the oven.

Not everything is a bar nibble. A plate of richly flavored braised chicken, a lineup of minichorizos over stewed white beans, seared mahi-mahi with turnips and figs—all could double as entrées. Desserts are studies in elegant simplicity: honeyed goat cheese with puréed figs, grapefruit segments drizzled with lavender honey.

Some things haven’t changed. The arty Black Cat crowd still packs the place, and mobs stay late on weekends. And it still makes a margarita Papa would be proud of.

Open daily for dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.