Category Archives: Pubs

The Flying Saucer (Austin and beyond but not DC)

Hard not to like a pub whose URL is, isn’t it?  We hit the Austin location of the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium — there aren’t any in greater DC, closest is Raleigh NC.  They always have a great selection of microbrews, with a focus on local and regional but extending nationally and internationally.  We tried several Texas-brewed IPAs on this visit, all good, including from Austin’s own 512 Brewing and Austin Beerworks Fire Eagle.  Food is mostly average, but the big salty pretzels are a good match for the beer, and you could do worse than two large slices of mediocre pizza for $4.99.  Beer specials vary throughout the week — we were there on Texas night, so our IPAs cost $3 apiece, a total steal.  Service is excellent; servers do not fly, nor do they wear saucers; they do wear little kilts, but the outfits are more punk and less trashy than at the Tilted Kilt.  The walls do wear saucers, lots and lots of saucers; the decor is kind of hard to describe.  A fine place to indulge in some delicious beverages, when one finds oneself in a town that has a Flying Saucer franchise.

The Winter of Our Restaurants’ Discontent

Late Friday UPDATE: the sign in the door of Royal Mile says temporarily closed due to “electrical and mechanic problems” — hope they come back soon.

Apparently Mr. WC took matters into his own hands and demanded answers from the Royal Mile Pub owners — still unclear exactly when (or if) they will reopen, but information continues to trickle in thanks to Wheaton Calling.  Mysterious “repairs”…we were going to try and eat at RM this weekend, and we will still stroll by to survey the scene.  You never know.

Rumor has it (and I stress this is only a rumor, unsubstantiated, may not be true, etc.) that Gloria’s Island Hut may also be closed, at least temporarily.  I drove by a week or so ago and all the windows were shuttered, but it was before noon on a weekend so I drew no conclusions at that time, but now one of my moles is suggesting they may be at least on hiatus until spring.  I guess Caribbean food isn’t really winter cuisine, but then again, when the frost is on the pumpkin, a little jerk spice and goat curry can really hit the spot.

Sigh…now I want goat curry.

Does two make a trend?  According to Arlo Guthrie, three is an organization and fifty is a movement.  Two may not be a trend — I hope it doesn’t become a going-out-of-business organization, much less a movement! — and I hope both restaurants can come back by the spring; they both have unique ambience, and different food than all other Wheaton restaurants, and I will miss them if they’re really gone.

Are We There Yet?

Is it 2012? Yes.  Really?  I guess.  Am I alive?  Evidently.  Blogging? Maybe.  Posting may remain light for a while.  Then again, who knows?

Among the interesting developments I have been ignoring is the possible demise (possibly temporary) of Wheaton’s Royal Mile Pub, ably reported in evolving installments by Wheaton Calling. True? False? Mismanagement? Bad economy? Not enough room in this town for two Scots-Irish pubs, pardner?  Rhetorical questions? I can has cheezburger?

Also, Dan Reed over at Just Up The Pike today published an excellent discussion of where Wheaton may or should be headed. Dan knows more about this stuff than I ever will (I think he must read a lot or something), so I will just say read the whole thing, and add that my personal vision of a future Wheaton is not necessarily “like” Adams Morgan, or Bethesda, or Clarendon, or anywhere else (and this does not necessarily contradict anything Dan wrote) — it would be nice to keep on being Wheaton, maybe only slightly less feral, just with taller buildings and more people and more cool stuff to eat and buy and do. Also maybe fewer pawn shops. My vision does not involve pawn shops.

U Street Two-fer: Dickson and Dodge City

Returned to Dickson (903 U Street) for dinner pre-9:30 Clubbing, again with the pork belly banh mi, which is still good if extremely fatty. Friends tried the ribeye banh mi, also reportedly good.  You have to watch out for the occasional jalapeño slice, they are not evenly dispersed across the sandwich and some of them pack quite a punch.  Also enjoyed an excellent Tuscan red wine.  The basement is much quieter than the main floor, where conversation is nearly impossible when it is crowded, which it was this time.

We returned to U Street a few doors down from Dickson after the show for a beverage at the newish (?) Dodge City, which has a well-selected draught beer list, including Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA, woohoo!  No food though (FB says pepperoni rolls but we were told by the bartender “no food” — maybe pepperoni rolls do not technically qualify as “food”?).  Kind of weird space in downstairs front, simultaneously narrow yet barren-feeling, but the outdoor patio is nice, plus there’s  a balcony and indoor upstairs too.  Shiny new high-quality scorching hot heat lamps outdoors, they could easily keep the patio open all winter with those things running full blast.

Recent Returns: Limerick Pub

First time back to Limerick (11301 Elkin) since our first trip three months ago. Ordered a bit differently but got largely the same results.  Still not quite digging the coffee shop decor.  Service is fine.  The burger is big and beefy and the bun/veggies are good, but the patty was overcooked (asked for medium; no pink to be seen anywhere inside).  I liked the fish and chips: the fish is flaky, moist, and enclosed in crunchy beer-batter goodness.  Fries are only okay — I liked them less this visit — kind of soggy and (this time) underseasoned, though the guy at the next table complained to the server that his fries were too salty (like our oysters last time).  Still swinging the salt pendulum to and fro in the kitchen, it seems.  The pub was hopping when we were there and there is always a crowd at the bar in the evenings, so business is at least okay.  Still hoping the food will move up a notch at some point.  Planning to try Limerick’s trivia night (Mondays at 8PM) one of these weeks…

Good Limerick, Bad Limerick

Not that I of all people should complain about bad puns. The Gazette’s “More Than Meats The Eye” headline atop yesterday’s review of Limerick Pub didn’t really do it for me though.  And the opening limerick is well-intentioned but terrible: I like “meat in” and “Wheaton” but those don’t rhyme with “vegan” and the meter is just wrong.  I’m not sure the “greasy fries” are necessarily incompatible with “vegan” — depends on the oil, I suppose, which is undisclosed in the article.  And most of the menu is clearly not vegetarian, much less vegan, aside from the “vegan meatloaf” and a couple of salads or sides.  It is good to know they have veggie or vegan options, for those who want such things.

/pedantic rant

Anyway, a mixed but overall positive review. I’m glad to see LP get Gazetted, though the review is kind of odd, beyond what’s noted above, also implying the chef is a vegetarian but then never returning to the subject.  Would have been interesting to know more about that.

Brickskeller: Only The Name Has Changed

First time back to DC’s Brickskeller Bier Baron since the December 2010 ownership change: same as it ever was. Literally every time I go there, they are out of the first beer I order. Sometimes it’s my own fault for attempting esoteric Eastern European feats of ordering. This time I tried to get something relatively ordinary from the draught menu, but still no dice. Also same slow, uninterested service.  Food seems marginally better than before, though the fries are mealy, droopy, not good — the crisp sweet potato fries are much better.   And the ambience is the same, which I guess is good, the place has a certain unique charm. Allegedly the bathrooms have been upgraded, but I hadn’t been for a couple years and I don’t remember how they were. They’re okay now.

Another Wheaton Pub?

If it happens, Elkin/Ennalls is going to be pub crawl central, if it isn’t already (by local standards) with Royal Mile and Limerick.  Just Up The Pike has the goods (and graphics) on “eagle,” still in the planning stages by SCALEhouse design and a long way from actual pubification. More images here.  “Gritty smooth” menu? Does that describe the food or the menu itself (sandpaper on one side, velvet on the other)? Hope it’s not like Gritty Kitty.

First Visit To Limerick

Alas not the city, but the namesake pub, which has promise. We went with friends to Limerick Pub (11301 Elkin) over the weekend and sampled as many dishes as we could put away in one sitting, though not the fish and chips.

Overall, a good start, and they still haven’t rolled out their full menu.  You would expect an Irish pub to get the potatoes right, and they do: their chips seem hand-cut and are similar to Five Guys in texture, size, and taste, which for me is a good thing. On the other hand, the appetizer-chips-with-cheese barely had any cheese. Our dining companions got the Irish reuben and Shepard’s Pie, both winners, and the cheeseburger, which was deemed good despite being overcooked (asked for medium, got well).

Mrs. Me had a salad (what? healthy eatin’ in Wheaton? not impossible!) which was deemed good despite being too small.  Apparently the theme is “good, but” and I will go one further: I ordered the fried oyster sliders, which were nearly fabulous except for being so salty I nearly sent them back,* but didn’t. The slider buns were fabulous, perfect texture/toastedness and bun-to-oyster ratio. Good condiments, including red onion, and above-average tartar sauce with nice chunks of pickle. The oysters were expertly fried and I’m pretty sure the menu item will be a major winner if the chef lightens up on the salt (Mrs. Me also thought the fries were too salty, and she is rarely one to complain about too much salt).

So, a good start, with more menu exploration to be done. Other good stuff: I like how Limerick offers beers on tap in both 8 and 16oz pours; I tookthe smaller size (mmm, Smithwick’s) along with a Diet Coke.  Dartboard area is spacious, and the bar has a nice feel and plenty of room. Less good: the dining area, separated by a glass half-wall from the bar, has virtually no character at all.  No worries, they’ve just gotten started — let’s see how they’re doing in a couple of months.

Also, glad to see Royal Mile doing a decent business down the street as we walked by.

* My oysters were not as salty as the plate of arroz con mariscos (from frozen, I suspect, augmented with Morton’s iodized) I was once served at a Peruvian place in San Francisco which I would have sent back, should have sent back, but it was late and we had already taken an hour to pick a restaurant and I was too hungry to wait for a replacement. That heap of nasty rice and stuff remains the saltiest, most inedible dish I have ever been served, but I somehow ate about a third of it anyway.  Necessity is the mother of indigestion.  I ate all three oyster sliders, too.

Early Limerick Review (Not By Me)

Wheaton Calling is back, and with a review of Limerick Pub, including photographic evidence. Sounds about like I expected, and as WC notes, you can only say so much based on one meal on the second night a place is open — clearly further research is required.