The Fainting Goat

Rating: ★★★★☆

14012905_10154467285733011_1502932206_o.jpgThe Fainting Goat is a classy, New American restaurant located at 1330 U Street NW. Its catchy logo (of a fainting goat, of course), guides diners into a pleasant space with tasty food and great drinks. I confess that I have a bias against New American places and in favor of ethnic dining, but I did have a really enjoyable meal at The Fainting Goat. I started with the “Who Killed Kenny?” cocktail because I loved the South Park reference. It was very tasty. 14045325_10154467285723011_571383299_oA better value, though, are their punches, which are served in carafes for multiple people to share. I love when places offer punches because they tend to be a delicious and relatively cost-effective alternative to ordering a cocktail. For an appetizer, I ordered the steak tartare which was delicious, if tiny. However, my main 14074441_10154467285743011_956567090_ocourse, the duck bolognese, was a hearty and generous portion. In this sense, I like The Fainting Goat better than nearby Provision No. 14, which offers delicious food but absurdly small portions.

 

 

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Provision No. 14

Rating: ★★★☆☆

 

 

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The foie gras: an absurdly small portion on a huge plate.

Provision No. 14 is a New American restaurant and bar located at 2100 14th St NW. I am very conflicted about this place. The food and drinks are delicious, but the portions are inconsistent- ranging from sizeable to absurdly tiny, and the prices are high. For my drink, I ordered the Pinju Tiki (Beefeater, Lyon Dark Rum, Martell Cognac, pineapple, juniper, citrus, absinthe and bitters), which was delicious but a bit pricey at $14. The draft cocktails also sounded excellent but they weren’t able to make them because the draft equipment was malfunctioning.  Our friendly waiter explained to us

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The Pinju Tiki

that Provision No. 14’s shtick is that it’s a “communal dining restaurant” with large shareable dishes and small plates. The shareable plates did not sound all that appealing so we each ordered two of the small plates. As is typical of small plates places, you end up paying almost as much (if not as much) as you would for an entree at many other places. Take the fois gras, for example. It was an absurdly small portion on a massive place. The plating was pretty and all, but it was as if a casual spot like this was trying to be Le Bernardin or something. It was accompanied by rhubarb and mustard, which were both tasty on their own but which made an odd combo. Don’t get me

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The duck.

wrong; the fois gras itself was fantastic but it was way too small to be shared and was completely out of proportion with the mustard and rhubarb that accompanied it. I also ordered the duck which was also small, but not as absurdly tiny as the fois gras. It was delicious, but these two dishes combined set me back $30 ($18 for the absurdly small fois gras and $12 for the duck), and I still considered supplementing my meal with McDonald’s. In contrast, one of the other people with me ordered the burger and the brussels sprouts, which were both big portions. She ended up having way too much food. Of course, I don’t expect all of the dishes to be exactly the same amount of food, but it would have been nice if they had categorized their menu based on size. My overall impression of Provision No. 14 is that it’s a cool place to go on a date for drinks, but dinner here burns a huge hole in your wallet without filling the hole in your stomach.

 

 

Big Bear Cafe

Rating:

12837345_10154002469998011_161918619_oBig Bear Cafe is a cozy, friendly coffee shop, bar, and restaurant with a beautiful outdoor patio located at 1700 1st St NW. There is ample seating in the large, warm interior but be advised that there is no WiFi on the weekends. I had a really cool herbal tea blend that includes sarsaparilla. The staff was very friendly and the atmosphere makes it a great place to hang out for an afternoon.

 

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Petworth Citizen

Rating: ★

12765521_10153971645903011_687527284_oPetworth Citizen is an American bar and restaurant located at 829 Upshur St NW. It is a cozy, dimly-lit space with hearty food options, such as the chorizo burger (which is very tasty). They offer a daily punch (mine was made with blood orange and was delicious) as well as a wide variety of other drink options. They offer a $7 drink special called “Chutes and Flutes,” which sounds dangerous- it’s a champagne flute of Miller High Life and shot of bourbon (mercifully in a separate glass). Petworth Citizen also has

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The Chorizo Burger

an adorable reading room, which is basically a small library tucked away in the back of the restaurant. The books are all organized by color, which is a cool effect. I’m not entirely sure what the reading room is used for. They also told me they don’t have public WiFi, which I found odd; I think getting some work done while I enjoy some “Chutes and Flutes” sounds like a great idea!

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The Reading Room

 

Art-drenaline 365 Café

Rating: 

12736959_10153948471753011_1911984115_oArt-drenaline 365 Café is a restaurant and coffee shop located inside the Anacostia Arts Center at 1231 Good Hope Rd SE. The Anacostia Arts Center is a community space that includes art galleries, shops, a black box theater, and a lounge. It is a sleek and modern space with friendly staff that is a great place to camp out and work for a few hours. Art-drenaline 365 Café aims to provide tasty and nutritious food as well as employment for the local community. I really liked it. When I first went, they were still very new and were working on

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The bacon, cheddar and tomato sandwich with a side salad.

getting their espresso drinks online. I had their regular coffee, which was decent, though nothing special. My sandwich was delicious, though. I ordered a tomato, bacon, and cheddar sandwich on texas toast that came with a really nicely-done side salad. A couple of the other customers around me had ordered smoothies, which looked tasty as well. The staff is very friendly. Art-drenaline 365 Café is a good place to work with a laptop in its own right, or you can take your coffee to the lounge space in the front portion of the Anacostia Arts Center. The cafe’s space is sleek and well decorated with (as one might expect) artwork.  12674972_10153948471803011_2085079369_o

12992066_10154127452558011_626324609_oI have also been for their Sunday brunch, which was excellent as well. It’s all you can eat for $21.95, including a hot food buffet, a waffle station and an omelet station. It makes for a great getaway from the packed brunch spots of 14th Street and it’s fun to take a walk around Anacostia beforehand or after to admire the neighborhood’s beautiful historic architecture and see Frederick Douglass’s house.

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Marx Cafe

Rating: ★★★★★

12695217_10153928759293011_570032040_o.jpgMarx Cafe is a small restaurant and bar located at 3203 Mount Pleasant St. NW that describes itself as having “revolutionary cuisine” (yes, it is named after Karl Marx) and “Mediterranean food.”

<rant> I absolutely hate the term  “Mediterranean food” since “Mediterranean food” encompasses several different cuisines including Spanish, Moroccan, Italian, Provençal, Lebanese, Greek, and Turkish, which are all distinct. What Americans usually think of as Mediterranean food comes at places that serve a vague blend of foods meant to resemble some combination of Lebanese, Turkish, and Greek food, and it’s all pretty substandard. But I digress. </rant>

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The saganaki up in flames. This, at least, is pretty revolutionary.

Fortunately, this substandard fare is not what’s on offer at Marx Cafeat least if you know what to order. The menu is a mix of Greek, Italian and New American fare, but I went with a group who recommended a few of the Greek small plate items on the menu, which were excellent (it helps that one of those in our party was Greek). I’ve been told that a number of the other menu items are not nearly as good. We started with saganaki, which is Greek kasseri cheese flambéed with metaxa (a type of Greek brandy). It’s conceptually similar to grilled halloumi, except it tastes a bit different, and instead of being grilled it is lit up by a huge conflagration of burning metaxa table side while the waiter yells “OPA!” like in “My Big

 

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Delicious saganaki ready to be eaten.

Fat Greek Wedding.” It’s a pretty awesome sight to behold (who doesn’t love fire?). Also great were the warm dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with ground beef and rice and seasoned with lemon), which were so much better than the cold, crappy “grape leaves” served at most “Mediterranean restaurants.” The tarama (red caviar whipped with olive oil, lemon juice and spices) was great as well. We paired our meal with Mavrodafni, a delicious sweet Greek wine (sweet in a Port way, not a Manischewitz way) that reminded me a lot of the famous Cypriot wine, Commandaria.

 

 

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Mavrodafni wine- delicious! (If you like Port)

The decor was cozy though fairly pub-like; it is also a bar and open late. The people were also very friendly (I’m an absent-minded idiot and left my backpack there, but they kept it safe for me and I returned later in the evening to pick it up). Basically, if you go and order exactly what we ordered, you will have a great meal, and could bring a date there for sure. Our Greek companion also recommended their calamari, tzatziki and spanakopita. Otherwise, you’re on your own, but we had a great experience.