5 Things to Look for at Döner Bistro

Adams Morgan’s new late-night spot is bringing the fun with foosball and plenty of beers.
A spiced beef döner, hot from the spit. Photograph by Melissa Romero.
A spiced beef döner, hot from the spit. Photograph by Melissa Romero.

Watch out, Jumbo Slice—there’s a new late-night game in town.
Döner Bistro soft-opened yesterday afternoon, and is set to be
the new place for post-bar noshing. But don’t get us wrong. We stopped by in the sober
light of day, and would happily return for lunch. The eponymous sandwich—a German-Turkish
hybrid with spiced beef or chicken, topped with slaw, tomatoes, and garlic-yogurt
sauce—is the rare genre of food you’d want to eat before, during, and after a few
beers. Here are five things to look for when you drop by.

Electric Meat Shavers

Not only is this a great name for an indie band, but you’ll find employees wielding
these machines, shaving thin slices of spiced beef and chicken off of rotating spits.
The gyro-style “meat cones” (possibly the Electric Meat Shavers’ opening act) aren’t
the typical variety you’ll find in fast food spots, shipped from afar and packed with
preservatives. These are made in house: Meats are marinated overnight in a mix of
spices, sliced thin, molded onto spits, and then slow-roasted on the rotisserie. Once
you place an order, the tender meat is shaved off and placed in toasted flat bread,
topped with tomatoes, cucumbers, tangy slaw, and garlic-yogurt sauce.

Fried Foods (Eventually)

The fryer is just getting set up today, so you probably won’t find the full menu until
early next week. Right now, döner, salads, bratwurst, and currywurst—sliced brats
spread with curried ketchup—are what you’ll be ordering along with your stein. Once
the restaurant is officially open, look for falafel, veal schnitzel, and hand-cut,
double-fried
pommes.

Kegs You Can Sit On

The bistro is funky and small, with patterned walls, a dangling chandelier, and a
40-person capacity. Grab one of the orange picnic-style tables with friends—ten on
a side makes for a cozy nosh session—or make new ones by plunking down solo. In order
to maximize the space, the owners have also designed 16 “keg seats,” full kegs about
the height of a bar stool that pump beer while you sip your own.

A Mini Biergarten

No room inside? Migrate to one of the four picnic-style tables on the open-air patio.
Hopefully the weather will stay perfect for sipping the 24 bottled brews, including
varieties from Germany, Austria, and Turkey (a nod to the döner’s origin). Beer nerd
trivia: you can order a bottle from one of the oldest breweries in the world, Weihenstephaner,
which started nearly a thousand years ago as a monastery brewery for Benedictine monks.

Foosball

When we arrived, there were already devoted fans in matching soccer jerseys sipping
beers and dominating the foosball table. The good news: Döner Bistro is a few blocks
down Columbia Road off the AdMo “strip,” so you may not always have to fight crowds
(drunken and not) for a chance on the table.

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