Friday, July 12, 2013

Beuchert's Saloon

Beuchert's Saloon is a neighborhood restaurant and bar serving up a "farm American" dining experience in the historically rich Eastern Market neighborhood of Washington, DC.  With ingredients sourced from their family farm, Executive Chef Andrew Markert translates local, fresh produce into playful American fare with a creative twist.  Closest Metro is Eastern Market.

From their website: "The original Beuchert’s Saloon was founded in this same location in 1880 by John Ignatius Beuchert, a German immigrant and prominent Capitol Hill businessman. Legend has it that throughout Prohibition, Beuchert’s operated as a speakeasy, behind such fronts as a Singer sewing machine store and a gramophone shop. In resurrecting this neighborhood mainstay, the new owners have gone to great lengths to maintain the incredible history of the building, handling most of the build-out themselves."

The best part of the decor in the long narrow row house layout is the bar near the entrance.  Under the watch of two enormous bison heads named Mike & Ike that are displayed side-by-side above the marble-topped bar, patrons can enjoy a cocktail if they can find a seat.  Since it's opening in February 2013, Beuchert's has become a popular watering hole that tends to get crowded right at 5:30pm.

Keith and I recently came in for dinner and were escorted back past the bar and the "chef's table" - which is truly just counter seating overlooking the kitchen - to the small dining room.  Service seems to be team effort, as we were greeted and served the whole night by at least 5 different people who did the same for the other tables.  We started with the Lobster Salad that the staff took the liberty of splitting in half on two plates for us.  It was a refreshing salad with chunks of sweet lobster meat, grapefruit, cucumber, tossed in a lemon crème fraiche, and topped with tempura crunch.  Despite the slightly high price ($16), the dish paired perfectly with the glass of Grüner Veltliner I drank and was one of my favorite bites of the whole night.  I was immediately impressed.

Keith order the B Burger "All the Way," meaning his Roseda Farms ground beef patty came topped with cheese, bacon, and a fried egg in addition to the regular lettuce and tomato.  The egg was runny on top and made for a messy sandwich, but the burger was cooked well and overall had great flavor.  He really liked the cheddar cheese they used.  Since his burger did not come with any sides, we ordered roasted mushrooms with crème fraîche and shallots and the white corn grits made with local goat cheddar. Both of the sides were phenomenal and more than enough for two people to share.  For my main, I chose the East Oaks Chicken that came with fava beans, chanterelles, chicken confit ravioli, all drizzled with garlic scape jus.  The chicken was a bit dry and under seasoned for my liking, however was not as bad when eaten with the seasoned veggies and salty ravioli.  Although I did not need any additional sides with my fulfilling dish, I admit I enjoyed sharing the extras with Keith - a common excuse in order to sample everything.  The sides were my next favorite items of the night as they were each expertly seasoned in their own way and deep in flavor.

Chef Markert features a few intriguing specials with the seasons' change and there are a couple other menu staples that seem promising, so I look forward to returning to Beuchert's often.  We were happy to see the historic restoration and appreciation for this neighborhood restaurant.

Total Rating: 4.13
Food: 4.5, Price: 3, Service: 4, Ambience: 4, Accessibility: 5

What I ate:
Lobster Salad
grapefruit, cucumber, lemon crème fraiche, tempura crunch
East Oaks Chicken
fava beans, chanterelles, chicken confit ravioli, garlic scape jus 

Roasted Mushrooms
with crème fraîche and shallots

White Corn Grits
made with local goat cheddar

Plus Keith ate:
The B Burger - All the Way
Roseda Farms ground beef, with cheese, bacon, fried egg, lettuce, tomato

Beuchert's Saloon on Urbanspoon

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