Cheap Eats 2011: Sidebar

In the early days at Jackie’s Restaurant, small plates–nachos, empanadas, pork riblets in hoisin sauce–were among the most enticing reasons to swing by the repurposed auto-parts garage. The restaurant has evolved away from that format as it has grown more ambitious, but when owner Jackie Greenbaum opened this grunge lounge next door, she installed an all-small-plates menu to give drinkers something to nibble on while exploring Gordon Banks’s excellent craft cocktails.

Sidebar chef Aaron Covert curates the constantly changing menu with the help of Jackie’s chef Diana Davila-Boldin–it might include Amish chicken rendered into KFC-style bites or a slider gone steroidal, the juicy patty topped with a quail egg and hunk of pork belly.

There are plates that encourage you to go slowly, too, such as a recent concoction called “rabbit-stuffed rabbit”–a roulade fashioned from breast and leg meat and a rich rabbit mousse atop a vivid carrot purée.

Also good: Chicago-style hot dog; smoked barbecue-duck lettuce wraps with Asian slaw.

Open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner and late night.

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 Petworth.