Cross-posted on Yelp! (3 stars)
This review is just for the drinks, as we haven’t tried the burgers yet. Thunder has a well-selected draft list of American craft beers, including what seemed to be a heavy seasonal rotation, from spots like Ommegang, North Coast, and locals like Flying Dog and Dogfish Head. And what they don’t have on tap, they supplement with a bottle selection.
The vibe is a bit strange, as it’s halfway between standard Georgetown (exposed brick and preppy clientele) and quasi-dive bar (soundtrack from your neighbor’s garage as he was tuning up his Camaro in 1988).
Service was good at the bar, and the bartender was very helpful in helpin to craft flights. All drafts are available as standard servings or 4-ounce (I think) tasters, which can be be combinedin threes for a flight ($1 off).
All in all, seemed like a good spot to meet up with a beer loving friend, or to kill the middle of an afternoon in Georgetown, but probably not a destination.
I’ve been catching up on Yelp! this week, and added a few new reviews, including two NYC transplants on lower 7th Street NW, each of which adds to the Times-Square-ification of Penn Quarter, though not necessarily in a bad way. (Click for full reviews).
- Carmine’s brings family-style Southern Italian, like Maggianos or Buca di Beppo, but a step up in the food quality. A bit raucous at times, but great for a group dinner before heading to an event at Verizon Center.
- Hill Country is Texas Hill Country BBQ, by way of NYC. The food is good, and the atmosphere is fun for a night out—especially if you like live music, Blue Bell ice cream and/or Shiner drafts— but the prices and experience aren’t great if you’re just looking to get some good BBQ with friends. (For that, I’d try Capital Q, just up the street).
I did some yelping over the past few weeks, and thought I’d share them more widely. Click here for the full reviews of these spots and more:
Surfside (4 stars, Glover Park)
The food is simple but well-seasoned “Baja-style” beach food. Your choices include burritos, tacos, salads, and dinner plates that combine proteins and delicious veggies and starches.
It is not really Mexican, but rather than Tex-Mex, think California-style beach shack. Ginger, garlic, mango, pineapple, cilantro, corn, yum. Most of the proteins are either blackened or grilled (chicken, tilapia, shrimp, etc), and the veggies are fresh, crisp and tasty.
If you’re eating in, definitely get chips and guac while you wait, the guac is tasty if not very spicy. You can also grab a beer from the cooler or a drink from the back bar. The seating is great (including the upstairs outdoor patio) if you can handle the popped-collar crowd…
Bar Louie (2 stars, Gallery Place)
Bar Louie has a few things going for it. It’s convenient to downtown, Metro, Verizon Center, the regal cinema, and my office. They have a very good selection of domestic (and a few imported beers). And they have tasty pretzel sticks.
They also have a great happy hour special, with all their beers $3 for 14oz pours, 1/2 price apps, and specials on wine and martinis. Bartenders are (usually) pretty friendly and will help with getting your game on one of the many LCDs in the bar.
However, the service is fair at best, and they have a nasty habit of running out of glasses, all the time. It gets ridiculously crowded, and when it does, the service grinds to a halt. One time, we had a friend order three martinis, and the glasses they came in got progressively smaller, with the final being essentially a test-tube shot glass. The “Night of the Incredible Disappearing Martini” has entered into our lore…
Domino’s Pizza (1 star, Georgetown, because it had two 5-star reviews, and somebody needed to adjust that downward a bit).
Not too much going for it other than a captive audience and reasonable delivery times.
Pros: speedy, and cheap
Cons: frequent rats in the driveway, relatively tasteless crust, sauce, and cheese, everything except the convenience. …
(cross-posted on Yelp!)
Masa 14 was okay, but not great. We met up with some friends in Borderstan to check it out, and found the food to be uneven. But the drinks were worth a return trip.
On the food side, the small plates make Masa 14 seemingly ideal for sharing, but the menu could stand to be a bit more descriptive. We were seated near the kitchen, so we got to see many of the plates as they headed out to the floor, but it was difficult to guess which of the great looking or smelling dishes corresponded to what on the menu. It was also difficult to tell which dishes were meant for sharing, and which were more suited to one person. (e.g., at a tapas place seems like it could be great for sharing, but all of Masa 14’s sushi were handrolls, and therefore impossible to share).
The food quality had some hits and some misses, and even the hits weren’t memorable, compared to similar versions at Zengo or other tapas locales in the District.
On the other hand, the drinks (which we chose in lieu of dessert) would probably be worth a return visit, particularly the hisbiscus margarita and the strawberry lemonade.
All in all, Masa 14 is probably not worth the considerable hype it’s received on the 14th street corridor (we thought the food at Policy was much stronger), but a nice stop for early drinks or a nightcap.