Friends of Will's were visiting from Switzerland staying in the Dupont Circle area, so District Commons was first to come to mind when we seeked a truly American spot to eat for our families with kids and it was simply perfect.
The seven of us settled in, ordered up some of the superfun Hot Pretzel Baguette with Beer Mustard Butter that was a huge hit as we sipped a wonderful Breaux Viognier 2014 from Virginia (we wanted to really show off American food and wine--and we did). Our server Cheryl was bubbling with excitement when I chose the wine raving about some of the wonderful wineries in the area as we recommended some of the wonderful dishes we knew on the menu.
Shrimp Cocktail arrived with tasty fresh Oysters (Wellfleet from Massachusetts and one of my faves-Sister Point from Washington) as well as Benton Smoked Bacon Flatbread with Vidalia Onion & Vermont Creamery Fromage Blanc which two of the boys gobbled up. There were Vegetarian Hand Pies of Corn, Spinach, Mushrooms, Pepper Jack Cheese and Ranch Dressing which were specially chosen for one of their teenagers who doesn't eat meat or fish.
Starters included a beautiful Shaved Asparagus & Burrata Salad with American Prosciutto, Arugula and Pickled Red Onion and many our family could not resist the spicy yet tasty Hand Cut Steak Tartare with Sriracha Aioli, Quail Egg and Grilled Country Bread. (photos on FB)
We moved on to a delicious full bodied and fruit forward Andrew Rich 2012 Verbatim Pinot Noir from Oregon that was a huge hit with our visitors and us, so we had a second bottle!
Main courses were very varied although three of us chose the Crispy Beer Battered Soft Shell Crabs with Spicy Potatoes & Bacon Hash, Spring Veggie Slaw and Lemon Tabasco Butter which were superb, but a bit over battered for my taste hiding the superb crab itself. North Carolina Trout with Broccolini, Pine Nuts and Citrus Burnt Butter was another example of local quality American seafood and the Spring Peas & Parmesan Ravioli with Rose Tomato Sauce, Grilled Spring Onions and Beech Mushrooms was a great example of farm fresh ingredients. Brick Pressed Chicken, Rainbow Chard, Mashed Potatoes, Preserved Lemon & Parsley Jus was a revelation for our guests' youngest teen raving about the quality of the chicken and the sauce. They mentioned that indeed it is virtually impossible to find chard, especially Swiss Chard, in Switzerland!
Cheryl wanted our friends to taste a Virginia red and offered up some Rockbridge 2011 Raphine Meritage which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot and Cab Franc that packs a punch.
Will settled in with a Macallan 18-year old scotch for dessert and we choose some desserts, all quite chocolate intense:
Almond Joy Sundae Coconut Ice Cream, Hot Fudge, Candied Marcona Almonds
BTS Brownie Sundae Choice of Ice Cream, Hot Fudge, Smashed Candy Bars (the BTS is for Burger Tap Shake next door, but also for Butterfingers, Twix and Snickers which are the candies therein)--total overdose of sweet.
Buttermilk Chocolate Cake Cherries and Whiskey, Dark Chocolate Ice Cream
Of course the mignardises of jellies, cookies and bars arrived to send us home, just in case we had not eaten enough.
I think we truly found an American gem to show our guests as District Commons really does it so well.