Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Arsenal

The Arsenal is the 200-seat restaurant & bar housed within the brewery, Bluejacket. The menu, crafted by Executive Chef Kyle Bailey of Birch & Barley and ChurchKey and Chef de Cuisine Dan Hahndorf, updates, refines and extends the classic fare of beer halls and public houses by featuring the best locally sourced products available and highlighting house-made specialties such as charcuterie, fresh pastas, alongside whole-roasted meats, hearty grains and seasonal vegetables. Closest Metro is Navy Yard.

A menu of gourmet sandwiches, house-ground burgers and bar snacks is the perfect accompaniment to a signature Bluejacket brew.  Keith tried a bunch of different "tastes", which is a great way to sample a variety of beers.  His favorites included The Stroppy, a pale ale with lots of hops and aggressive aromas of rustic earth, fresh citrus, grass and black pepper; The Redhead, a hoppy red ale with a bold malty backbone; and The Imposter, an India Pale Ale with intense hop aromatics. Rounding out the savory offerings at lunch and dinner is Pastry Chef Tiffany MacIsaac’s robust bread program, which includes breads made with spent grain from the brewery.

We ordered a few appetizers to share.  First, Keith really wanted to try the Pickled Sausage.  Three small links of chilled brined pork garlic sausage arrived in a small glass jar.  The sausage was not overly pickly, but had a balanced salty and sour flavor.  We also shared a spin on poutine or "disco fries" - Smothered Fries with white cheddar and tasso ham gravy.  This dish was heavy and helpful as a hangover cure. The ham gravy was overloaded with onions, but had great flavor.  I also tried the Warm & Soft Beer Pretzels.  Two freshly baked pretzels came piping hot and served with beer mustard.  The dough was much softer and sweeter than other pretzels we've had.  After the heavy starters, I wanted something light and chose the Cobb Salad.  The bibb lettuce, bacon, avocado, pickled egg and tomato were fresh and covered in blue cheese dressing that was tasty but drowned the vegetables a bit.

Keith was feeling more peckish and ordered Classic Wings - spicy crispy wings with frankenbutter, blue cheese dip, and celery.  They were a nice portion, but his curiosity overruled his stomach and additionally, he ordered the Fried Pig Tails.  Looking similar to the chicken wings, these little morsels were covered in a very spicy "General Satan's" sauce, also served with celery.  Lastly, he tried the Hammer Time, which was a nice plate of house cured city ham served with mustard and toast points.

Chef MacIsaac’s renowned desserts also grace the menu with a number of seasonal pies served with freshly spun ice creams.  I was too full to order any desserts this go round, but the Mississippi Mud Pie sounded to die for.  Overall, the food was above average, but a little disappointing compared to Birch & Barley.  Service also lost points as it took a long time for food and drinks to come out.  The restaurant got pretty busy on this rainy Saturday afternoon, and it seems reservations are a wise choice to avoid waiting for a table in spite of the large dining area.

Total Rating: 3.58
Food: 3.5, Price: 4, Service: 2.5, Ambience: 4, Accessibility: 5

What I ate:
Pickled Sausage
three links of brined pork garlic sausage

Smothered Fries
white cheddar, tasso ham gravy

Warm & Soft Beer Pretzels
two freshly baked pretzels with beer mustard

Cobb Salad
bibb lettuce, blue cheese dressing, bacon, avocado, pickled egg and tomato

Plus Keith ate:
Classic Wings
crispy wings, frankenbutter, blue cheese dip, celery

Fried Pig Tails
general satan's sauce, celery

Hammer Time
Arsenal House Cured City Ham
served with mustard and toast points

The Arsenal Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


  1. I have not tried The Arsenal yet, but did go to the bar area Bluejacket brewery. Service was bad so we cut the stay short and didn't try anything other than beer, tea, and the cinnamon rolls that tasted like burnt egg.

    1. Service seems to be a common issue coming up lately. I hope they look into a more efficient way to provide an enjoyable experience to their customers - both with shorter wait times and better food execution.


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