Thursday, February 25, 2016


Barrel is a Southern bourbon bar in Capitol Hill, DC offering inventive cocktails made with "brown water", as well as other beers and wine and great food with most ingredients made fresh in-house, all in a laid back atmosphere.  Closest Metro is Eastern Market.

I treated Keith to dinner here for the first part of his multi-week birthday celebration.  It was easy to meet up after work and walk over.  We arrived right at 5:30pm, so we had no problem snagging a table though we did not have reservations.

Neither of us are bourbon drinkers, so Keith ordered a beer and I had a glass of the happy hour red wine.  For a starter, we shared the Chicken Liver & Bacon Mousse.  This rich mousse had a sweet jam on top and was great on the toasted country bread.  It went very well with my red wine.  It was very warming overall for this chilly evening.  The mousse was plentiful - so much that we asked for more bread (which they charged $1 extra.)

We also shared the She Crab Soup with tons of lump crab meat in a spicy and herbaceous broth studded with roe.  The flavor was intense, the texture interesting, and the portion again was perfect for us to split.  We really enjoyed this soup.

For his main entree, Keith ordered the Smoked Brisket. It came on a platter with cucumber slaw, tangy macaroni and cheese, sweet bbq beans, greens, pickles, and potato rolls.  The beans were too sweet for Keith's taste, as was the sauce on the brisket.  The cucumber slaw was a nice twist, but overly dressed.  The mac and cheese was the best side, but heavy on the mustard seasoning.

I ordered the Fried Chicken that sat on top jagerwurst gravy and came with a buttermilk biscuit topped with peach bourbon jam.  The chicken was boneless and nicely salted.  The batter was wonderfully crispy as well.  I did not really care for the gravy, but the jam was good.

Lastly, though we were both incredibly full, I insisted we order dessert.  It was Keith's actual birth day after all.  The only dessert on the menu was a Cheesecake for 2 with graham and zwiebeck crust, mint, burnt honey and comb.  The dessert was creamy, sweet, and reminded me of a heavier version of a Greek dessert.

By the time we finished our meal, the place was totally packed.  The food was decent, but I was a bit underwhelmed for a Top Chef contestant.  Nevertheless, Barrel is another decent restaurant with a trendy bar in my neighborhood that is good to have our back pocket.

Total Rating: 3.95
Food: 4, Price: 4, Service: 4, Ambience: 3.5, Accessibility: 5

Barrel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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