Tail Up Goat: Lamb Ribs

IMG_9775

If the pork ribs at Little Serow and the family-style goat feast at Komi had a lovechild it would be the lamb ribs at Tail Up Goat. Did you have this lightbulb moment too? That’s because the new Adams Morgan respite from the ordinary is from alums of the two restaurants. And, boy did they graduate.

The ribs, piled high like campfire logs, stand out as the best thing on the menu because of the exquisite char on the meat that falls off the practically disintegrating bones. Like the accoutrements that accompany Komi’s famous goat, the ribs find Mediterranean flavors (sumac onions, beets, a creamy yogurt sauce and fresh herbs). Think Cava Grill toppers injected with fine freaking dining. An order feeds two ($42).

IMG_9766

The adventurous should warm up to their lamb course by carbo loading first with charred chocolate rye bread and later with cavatelli dressed in octopus ragu. The rye comes with, SURPRISE, a whole sardine sunbathing on a bed of salt. He really announces his presence (unlike those Republican presidential hopefuls botched their debate entry). Break off fleshy fishy morsels and mount them on your rye bread for a bold bite that tastes like finding a Jewish deli in Greece.

Wash everything down with whatever Bill Jensen wants to pour you. He’s a wine savant that turned me on to vino big time through his pairings at Komi. Spot the towhead blonde in the dining room and wave him over for a recommendation. Or, if wine isn’t your thing, feel free to crush mezcal Old Fashioned’s all night long.

With cooking like this, it’s no wonder why the goat’s tail is up, instead of between its legs.

8c6dDbO

Tail Up Goat is located at 1827 Adams Mill Rd NW.

Lamb ribs not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.

BUL: Hangover Soup

Soup
Guest post & photos by Curtis Rogers

Remember that video of Bao Bao discovering snow this Winter? Now, remember the last time you discovered something you loved so much you wanted to roll around in it? If you’re coming up blank, it’s probably time to visit Bul. A new offering from the minds behind Sakuramen, Bul channels classic Korean street food and drink into a menu you didn’t know you were craving. They call it a pojangmacha, because it’s modeled off bustling pop-up street food carts in Korea. 

You’ll want to roll in The Best Thing on the Menu: Hangover Soupa generous bowl of enoki mushrooms, leeks, chilies, and Busan-sourced fish cakes in a rich broth. Served with a deep ladle, this habit-forming brew is best enjoyed with a group of drinking buddies—which is true for most of Bul’s fare, falling mainly into the categories of Little Anjus and Big Anjus. (Anjus are plates meant to be enjoyed with alcohol).

Luckily, working up a Hangover Soup-worthy hangover just got easier with Bul’s recent alcoholic additions, featuring bottled sakes, beers, sojus, makgeolli, and an array of canned sakes so inspiring it verges on art (especially for Warhol fans). Non-alcoholic options include DC’s on Craft Kombucha on draft, with seasonal flavors such as elderflower and pomegranate.

Skewers
Guest post & photos by Curtis Rogers

Other standout Anjus include the DC Kalbi Ssam (Korean BBQ short ribs) and the Dukboki (rice cakes in a tangy red sauce). If you can get a break from looking at your Google Translate app, also be sure to order a few of Bul’s yakitori. These Japanese-style small open fire-cooked skewers, including chicken meatballs and bacon-wrapped asparagus, are perfect for appetizers, happy-hour snacks, or simply a quick bite on a busy day. Their flavor comes from “tare”typically made from soy sauce, roasted chicken bones, mirin and sake. 

For something different, visit BUL on February 10th. They’re screening “Fresh Off the Boat.” Tickets are available here.

Bul is located at 2431 18th Street NW.

Hangover Soup not your BTM? Share your favorites in the comments section.

Pop’s SeaBar: Jersey Dog

Jersey Dog

The Best Thing on the Menu at the newly minted Pop’s SeaBar is a little blasphemous. That’s because it doesn’t come from the sea, and that’s the whole theme at this beachy establishment in Adams Morgan. Rather, the BTM is a Jersey Dog with Taylor Pork Roll, Cole Slaw and Curly Fries. In the dish, a hot dog gets a hug from a slice of Taylor Pork Roll. It’s like a pig in a blanket, only the blanket is even more pig. The coleslaw adds creaminess and crunch. You’ll never want a naked dog again.

The Taylor Pork Roll hailing from Jersey is not the only thing on the plate that should remind you of the Garden State. Served along side Pop’s expertly seasoned curly fries is a little tub of Jersey Sauce. This remoulade of sorts may have super powers. Just try it and you’ll see what we mean. In fact, you probably won’t have a choice about trying it when you step into the casual eatery, because it’s served with nearly every dish. 

Orange Crush

Wash down your Jersey Dog with a Maryland cocktail called an Orange Crush. It’s quite simple: vodka, aquavit, Combier, OJ, and lemon. The only thing that would make it better is if it came in a juice box. There are six other cocktails to choose from including the ice cream luge that’s been getting more attention than the cronut got nationwide. 

Jersey Dog not your BTM? Share your favorites in the comments section.

Pop’s SeaBar is located at 1817 Columbia Road NW. 

Mintwood Place: Green Gazpacho

Green Gazpacho

When life gives you soggy humidity and 90 degree days…make gazpacho. Or, at least eat gazpacho. This summery, vegetable-forward soup hailing from Spain typically presents as striking red, and can be akin to slurping salsa. But, Chef Cedric Maupillier takes a different approach at Mintwood Place, yielding The Best Thing on the Menu: Cucumber & Watercress Gazpacho with Crab & Avocado.

You still get the punch of Latin flavors thanks to the guacamole and crab-like mound peeking out from the bottom of the bowl, but the harsh tomato and onion flavor of red gazpacho is replaced with cooling cucumber and herbaceous watercress. Black tobiko (poor man’s caviar) punctuates the top of the crab concoction, adding a playful Pop Rocks texture. You’ll find the green gazpacho in the starters section; get it while it’s hot (outside).

Mintwood Place Beef Tartare

Built like a hedgehog, the potato-spiked beef tartare is also a must-order. If you’re just starting your vampirific raw meat eating career, dabble in the appetizer portion. Veterans can go big by getting the entree. Either way, the meat is minced and seasoned perfectly, threatening what we had previously dubbed the best tartare in DC (the BTDC).

Flammekueche

A final dish worth noting is the Bacon & Onion Flammekueche. This paper thin pizza is bursting with breakfasty flavor is the perfect way to start a meal with friends because they cut it into easy-to-share rectangles. We think they should offer a $1 off your flammekueche if you can pronounce it right on the first try.

Green gazpacho not your BTM? Share your favorites in the comments section.

Donburi: Ebi Katsudon

Donburi

There’s nothing like a good restaurant named for the dish it serves, especially when that dish is donburi – the ultimate Japanese comfort food. Think of donburi’s soothing ways to be on par with the American grilled cheese sandwich.

On any given night at the Adams Morgan newcomer, there are about nine rice bowls to choose from ranging from raw to golden fried. The Best Thing on the Menu belongs to the latter category: Ebi Katsudon with panko coated shrimps, sliced onions and a half cooked egg with donburi and tartar sauce. Sure, they have pork  and salmon sashimi, but the humble set of four shrimp are superior and much easier to sling around with chopsticks.

The owner, Seungjoon Jang, answered the call for a quality and satisfying $15 dinner in an era of DC dining where it’s hard for a table of two to escape a small plates meal for less than $100. He does so by adding value in surprising ways, like tangy pickled jalapeños or all you can drink barley water.

Donburi Pan

The one glaring menu omission? The familial and tasty oyakudon, or “parent and child” rice bowl, featuring chicken and eggs. Here’s hoping this post inspires a menu addition, since eggs and chicken are already available. Attempts to make oyakudon at home end in failure without an adorable donburi pan. So leave it to Jang and his team of professionals.

Ebi Katsudon not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.

Taan Noodles: Duck Ramen

 THIS RESTAURANT CLOSED EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2014.

Taan Noodles Duck Ramen

Pork is overplayed when it comes to the meat component in most ramen. Taan Noodles takes it to the next level by going with duck confit that falls right off the bone and into your broth. The Best Thing on the Menu: Taan Shoyu Duck Ramen also contains pickled cucumbers, dashi tomato, scallions, shiitake mushroom, spicy mustard greens, crispy shallots, taan hanjuku tamago (pink egg!) and bamboo shoots.

Think fowl are foul? No problem, there are plenty of pork belly bowls to go around inside this Adams Morgan noodle shop. Like heat? They hook you up with togarashi spice flakes and spicy sesame oil, so you blast off your taste buds if that’s your thing.

Taan Noodles Okonomiyaki

If you’re ravenous and in need of a snack before your bowl arrives, there are a handful of appetizers that pull from Japanese, Chinese and Thai cuisines. The best pick here? Japanese okonomiyaki, the traditional street food of Osaka. Having downed many of these fish pancakes from street carts in Osaka, I’m a tougher critic than normal. While the sauces were nailed (Japanese mayo and savory brown sauce) the fish to cabbage ratio could have been more generous. Daikaya has a cool take on this classic.

Unlike their friends Sakuramen down the road, these folks have booze. More importantly, they have a lot of fun with their booze. We loved Second Place is not First Place (the perfect drink while watching the Olympics at the bar) made with Bulleit Bourbon, grapefruit juice, Barenjager and togarashi spice as well as There are Hippies in Asia – a tasty concoction of Nolet’s Gin, lavender vanilla simple syrup, tonic and lavender spice bitters.

Taan Shoyu Duck Ramen not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.

Don’t miss a bite: Keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter. You might also like Toki Underground and Zentan.

Bar Charley: Jiro Dreams of Sidebar

Bar Charley's Jiro Dreams of Sidebar

It’s a showdown of food vs. beverage at Bar Charley.  If your experience is anything like ours, you’ll be impressed by both and it’ll be hard to decide which program comes out on top. We went for the cocktails but were impressed by the food, which led to more cocktails and then you guessed it, more food.

When you visit this cozy new cocktail den located next to Lauriol Plaza, be sure to order the Best Thing on the Menu: Jiro Dreams of Sidebar – Wasabi, Ginger, Shochu, Rice Vinegar and Nori.  It’s sushi in a glass. Other top cocktails? The Stepdad if you’re in the mood to be dramatic or tiki drinks on tap if you’re feeling fratty.

Ask for Paul Martinez behind the bar, he’ll craft you a killer cocktail and look for a beaming blonde out on the floor, that’s Jackie – one half of the dynamic duo of restaurateurs that also brought you El Chucho.  

The food menu is a trip around the world: An Indian chaat, German frankfurters, tapas-like anchovies on toast with marrow butter, some kind of Nordic cheese and a New England lobster roll. Finish off your sampling of small plates with a go-big-or-go-home dish for the table.

Bar Charley Whole Fish

The whole grilled fish is served with fennel, grape jam and potato puree. Feeling more like meat? No problem, get the grilled steak for two served with fries & kimchi ketchup and a compressed duck sauce.

The good news continues: Bar Charley is now open for brunch! So resist the urge for flavorless fajitas and head a few doors down for creativity, quality and value.

Jiro Dreams of Sidebar not your BTM? Post your favorite (food or drink!) in the comments section.