The Partisan: Corned Beef Belly

Corned Beef Belly

The newest Neighborhood Restaurant Group debut, The Partisan, does things just differently enough to get noticed. The menu at the 100-seat restaurant departs from the typical appetizer, entrée, and dessert menu structure opting instead for a tiered clipboard divided by protein.

While most would tell you to skip straight to the page with pig dishes (including a full pig’s head), the Best Thing on the Menu is Corned Beef Belly with Braised Cabbage, Grated Pumpernickel and Pickled Mustard Seeds. The mustard seeds pop in a caviar sort of way and the meat is salty, smoky and tender. We can’t wrap our heads around what this would be like between two slices of rye with all the fixings of a Reuben.

Another top pick is from the charcuterie menu, which you fill out much like a form at a sushi counter. It’s Red Menace: A Calabrian spreadable sausage called ‘Nduja. During the day you can get it spread between two tigelles next door at Red Apron.

Malort Face

The beverage program at The Partisan is also worthy of some serious cheers and glass clinking. Three booze kings, including beer man Greg Engert, put their brains together to create a program most notable for what’s on tap. Draft beer is familiar, so what’s fresh is Jeff Faile’s decision to put four sprits on tap, including malört. I trust Jeff so whole-heartedly that I tried it. While I know I was supposed to make a face and compare malört to the likes of poison or prison time, it wasn’t that bad. It was like Fernet’s brutish cousin. Here are a few places to try it in D.C.

Furthermore, oenophiles can try one of Brent Kroll’s 25 wine drafts, or a rare wine offered by the glass thanks to new technology.

Click here for more photos from the meal.

Corned Beef Belly not your BTM? Share your favorites in the comments section.

You might also like The Arsenal or Birch & Barley.

Red Apron Butcher: Sunday Supper

Sunday Supper

People have been putting meat and cheese between bread ever since our favorite Earl, the Earl of Sandwich, couldn’t be bothered to leave his card game to knife and fork his way through a meal. That was on November 3, 1762. Fast-forward 252 years and by god have we (the world) perfected the sandwich concept.

Sandwich shops are popping up in DC as fast as condo buildings with ridiculous amenities. One of the newest to throw their bread into the ring is the Penn Quarter location of Red Apron Butcher located on D Street NW. This new address joins the Red Apron Butchers located in Union Market and Merrifield, VA.

However, you can only get The Best Thing on the Menu: Sunday Supper weekdays during lunch in Penn Quarter. In this messy, nap-inducing hoagie you’ll find pot roast, horseradish mashed potatoes, beet horseradish slaw and Duke’s. Leftovers should fill a sandwich more often (kind of like the Best Thing on the Menu at Capriotti’s)

Burger

Those that insist on the patty approach should try The Dino, a spicy cotechino pork burger topped with broccoli rabe, fontina and tomato aioli on a kaiser roll. It’s like a quick trip to the Italian market (pretend we have one of those).

Sunday Supper not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.

You might also like Taylor Gourmet and Bub and Pop’s.

Birch and Barley Brunch: Freshly Fried Donuts

Birch & Barley Donuts

Despite the brunch mammoth Le Diplomate setting up shop two blocks over, you still have to bang down the doors to brunch at Birch & Barley, and for good reason! If you score a scrumptious table, immediately look to the menu’s sidebar under “sweets.” It’s there that you will find the Best Thing on the Menu: Freshly Fried Donuts. You get three per order (two biggies and a donut hole). The flavors?  Toffee-Bacon, Lemon-Poppy Glazed and Bittersweet Chocolate.

Making Donuts

Let’s hone in on the toffee-bacon delight. It’s savory/sweet and sticky enough that your fingers will feel like you were doing arts and crafts with toddlers all day. But you weren’t, you were indulging on a serious donut that will change the way you feel about this humble pastry forever.

Other brunch menu standouts at Birch & Barley include the corned beef hash, whiskey French toast and a side of PA-style scrapple (mmmmm pork mush).

If you really dig the donuts at Birch & Barley, there’s no excuse for failing to try GBD. There, you’ll find donuts from the same mastermind, Pastry Chef Tiffany MacIsaac, AND fried chicken. They have a maple bourbon glazed donut also topped with bacon, plus a PB&J donut that revolutionizes the elementary school lunch original.

Freshly fried donuts not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.

The Arsenal: Sweet Potato Gnocchi

The Arsenal

We’re not as dense as a shiksa’s matzo balls. We know you schleped to Bluejacket for the house-brewed beer – all 25 of them. But stick with us for a minute because the Neighborhood Restaurant Group dining destination located inside the brewery – The Arsenal – has a lot to offer. Head over to the Navy Yard early, grab some brews and snacks in the bar area before sitting down for your reservation in the adjoining restaurant that focuses on pairing food with beer.

The Best Thing on the Menu: Sweet potato gnocchi, duck meatball, tallegio fonduta and greens is perfect for winter. And, lets face it with one and half underwhelming snow days under our belt, winter is here. It’s rich, comforting and super salty, which normally would irk me but it goes so well with beer.

Other top picks, the humble rotisserie half chicken thanks to its pretzel stuffing; the eighteen hour short rib because of the melt-in-you-mouth parmesan spaetzle; and the merguez burger because lamb’s got game. Rumor has it they recently added gluten-free burgers.

The Arsenal Restaurant

Let me be the 443rd person to tell you that Bluejacket and The Arsenal are housed inside an expansive factory where workers once built boilers for ships. It’s an impressive space. Check it out if you haven’t yet and wash down The Best Thing on the Menu with The Butcher: A dunkles dopplebock inspired by Red Apron’s half smoke. It features a dark and strong lager that is brewed with Red Apron-smoked malt and half-smoke spice mix. Gotta love drinks that taste like food. …

Sweet potato gnocchi not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.