Sandwiched between Amsterdam Falafelshop and La Fourchette on Adams Morgan’s kamikaze-shot-fueled 18th Street is a new eatery that seeks to bring civilized food and offbeat brews to a neighborhood saturated with jumbo slices and Miller Lights. The Black Squirrel—named for the furry critters that Canada gave to the National Zoo back when Teddy Roosevelt was President—replaces T.S. Muttly’s, an Irish pub. Chef/owner Gene Sohn and his partners “got rid of all the green,” recasting the space with red walls, polished wood floors, framed movie posters, and tree-trunk tables.
Sohn previously worked as a line cook at chef Robert Wiedmaier’s luxe and expensive Marcel’s in DC’s West End. He brought some friends with him from that kitchen to cook at this much more laid-back operation, where the menu of American comfort fare hints at Sohn’s classical French training. Ribs are braised for 24 hours, duck spring rolls are wrapped in feuille de bric, and bacon burgers are stuffed with Brie, “so even if someone asks for it well done, it stays nice.”
The still-growing list of 50 beers (11 on tap) is the domain of co-owner Paul Uppole, who’s been bartending around DC since 1991. He’s got Belgian brews like Chimay on tap, and the bottled selection includes more-exotic finds such as Svyturys, a Lithuanian beer that’s one of Uppole’s personal favorites.
The Black Squirrel serves food until midnight, but Sohn plans to add a menu of “French tapas” priced between $5 and $12 that will be available after midnight. (The bar stays open until last call.)
So far, Sohn has seen a low-key, mostly local crowd: “People seem to come here to escape the rowdies. That was our goal.”
The Black Squirrel, 2427 18th St. NW; 202-232-1011. Open Tuesday through Saturday 5:30 PM until last call. Starters $7 to $9, entrées $8 to $19.
Flash-Fried Calamari with Red Pepper Aioli 8
Duck Spring Rolls
In Feuille de Bric served with Ginger Honey Sauce 8
Mussels & Fries
Fresh Rope-Grown Prince Edward Island Mussels Sautéed with Shallots, Garlic, Black Squirrel Bock Curry Cream, and Applewood-Smoked Bacon
Single Order: 8 Double Order: 15
With House-Made Hot Sauce and served with Maytag Blue Cheese & Celery 8
Pizza Pot Pie
Tomato Ragout, Fresh Mozzarella, Vine-Ripened Tomato, Fresh Basil in Puff Pastry 9
Grilled Cajun Shrimp
OId Bay and Lemon Honey 9
Classic Caesar Salad
Crisp Romaine Hearts with a Garlic-Dijon Dressing, Anchovy & a Parmesan Crisp 7
Sautéed Wild Mushroom Salad
A Blend of Wild Mushrooms Sautéed with Shallots, Garlic, and Country Bacon over Frissee with Cheese Sticks, Chopped Egg & Tarragon Vinaigrette 8
Poached Beet Salad
Cucumber Shreds with Citrus Vinaigrette, topped with Goat Cheese Walnut Crouton 7
Vine-Ripened Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella, Basil Crisps & Pinenuts with Basil Balsamic Dressing 7
Hand-Ground Angus Beef on Toasted Bun.
Served with Hand-Cut Fries or Mixed Green Salad.
The Bacon Cheeseburger
Stuffed with Brie & wrapped with Smoked Bacon 9
Topped with Blue Cheese, Cheddar, Bacon,
or Mushrooms 8
Served with Lentils & Spiced Carrots 15
Grilled Swordfish Filet
Served with White Wine Sauteed Mushrooms and Spinach with Lemon Butter Caper Sauce 16
Grilled Angus Ribeye Steak
Served with Bacon Mushroom Home-fries and Sautéed Spinach with a Red Wine Sauce 19
24-Hour Baby Back Ribs
Served with Fries and Slaw with a Port-Wine BBQ Sauce 19
Roasted Free Range Chicken
Served with Potato Salad & Collard Greens 15