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The Haymaker (formerly The Atlas Room), Chef-Owner Matt Cordes' Gastropub on 10th and H Street NE in the Atlas District - GM Mark Medley and Chef Bobby Beard Have Departed - Closed and Reopening Under a New Concept

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Tom Sietsema's first bite tomorrow is on the Atlas Room, which opened about a month ago on H Street. We've been a few times and love it -- it's definitely elevated the game on H Street. Not only is it the best place to dine on H Street, but IMHO it is a truly great neighborhood restaurant and as good a spot for a nice meal as most any spot on greater Capitol Hill.

Has anyone else been yet?

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I've now been twice, most recently last night, and had very good experiences both times. I agree that it is definitely the best restaurant on H Street, and provides a type of dining experience that doesn't really exist otherwise on that side of the Hill. Last night I had the Seafood Salad (mussels, calamari, scallops and shrimp on couscous) to start, and the Pork and Beans Stew (roast pork loin with white beans, Swiss chard and roast pumpkin) as my entree. My wife went with the mixed green salad with blue cheese and the saddle of lamb. Both the pork and the lamb were cooked perfectly, and everything we had on the plate was delicious. Very happy this place is now in the neighborhood.

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This place is not getting the attention it deserves (you know who you are). Our dinner last night was great. The service gets an extra thanks because part of our party showed up an hour early and the GM (Mark of Mark and Orlando's) handled the situation beautifully. But the food is what counts.

The menu kept a vegetarian, a carnivore, a beer and cocktail lover, and me happy. We have found few restaurants that can meet those criteria. I started with the seafood stew. There was enough fish and seafood so that there was some with every bite. The fish, mussels and clams were all perfectly cooked. The broth was full of delicate seafood flavor enriched with a touch of cream. For my main, which they call bigger dishes, I had the lamb duo. It reminded me of the lamb dish that used to be on the menu at the old Corduroy. Cooked on the rare side of medium rare I thought it had a bit too much salt but others at the table disagreed. The broccoli rabe was some of the best I have ever had. Just a hint of bitterness and very tender. The potatoes and mushrooms were also perfect. The only other thing I got to try was a bite of the mashed potatoes, which included hazelnuts. Interesting combination that worked. For dessert we shared a banana mousse topped with brulee bananas in a chocolate pie shell and a scoop of cinnamon ice cream. The mouse, bananas and ice cream were all delicious but the crust was just pointless. My friend chastised us for eating around the crust, because after all it was chocolate, but after a taste apologized.

The drinks deserve a mention as well. The sazerac was declared one of the best in a city by someone who has done his research. It's on the sweeter side though. My Clover Club was excellent as well.

I have a feeling it's going to get harder to get into Atlas in the next couple of months so I recommend braving the nightmare that is the construction on H street and go now.

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This place is not getting the attention it deserves (you know who you are).

Give :) me :) some :) time! :o

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The wine list is very tasty too. It concentrates on West Coast wines and recent highlights were the minerally Sauvignon Blanc from [Tallulah I think] and the stinky Pinot Noir from EIEIO (of course it had a pig on the bottle). That Pinot especially has me craving another visit. I believe they're opening for Sunday brunch later this month (the 20th methinks). The bar, which is the real highlight of the restaurant in my opinion, has a TV but I was told it would mostly be used as a slideshow--though they may show football next fall.

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David and I went Saturday night and had a fantastic meal with some great drinks as well.

The space, although “intimate” is well decorated, and I heard rumors of possibly expanding to the floor above for a lounge,

which is a great idea because the bar is where the action is at.

The bartender seems to have his own little pre-prohibition experiment lab going on in the space of about 3sq feet.

It’s entertaining to watch the mad scientist at work!

I had a pisco sour, which I typically have at ET here in Clarendon, on the rare occasion I go out for a grown up drink.

I thought it was well made.

David had the sazerac, which he loved.

Then we ordered a bottle of the Acorn Syrah. Mmmmm.

We started with the tender and succulent short rib ravioli (small plate) and lamb fritters (small plate) which were light as air with a delightfully tangy mustard vinaigrette and slaw.

In my experience, that’s when you can tell someone knows their way around a fryer, when the end product is not greasy and heavy.

Then we moved on to the grilled lamb and duo of beef.

Both entrees were fork tender and delicious.

For dessert we had a banana chocolate tort with a lavender ice cream.

I fell in love with that ice cream. :)

It was a wonderful meal which exceeded my expectations & we will definitely be back.

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Stopped by tonight and was very impressed. The food was tasty, don't have much to add to the above comments. Of course, I sat at the bar where Chris made some well-executed cocktails. They use Kold-Draft ice and he obviously takes his craft very seriously. Very happy this is in the neighborhood.

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Tom Sietsema's first bite tomorrow is on the Atlas Room, which opened about a month ago on H Street.

"The chefs' menu is novel. Instead of grouping dishes by course, it lists food types. Under the heading "Pork," for instance, you'll find a flatbread arranged with shredded pork, another plate featuring pork loin, and a stew made with the meat. The dishes are priced at $9, $13 and $19, respectively (think snack, appetizer and entree). . . That flatbread was underbaked yet nicely chewy, and it gained more flavor with a slather of butternut squash puree and glossy parsley. In all, the food makes me eager to return."

Chris the bartender (who says he has The Gibson pedigree) pretty much lied to me the other night, saying the small dishes are 3-5 bites each. Not feeling very hungry but still in menu-exploring mode, I ordered the pork flatbread ($9) and the lamb fritter ($7).

Ok, yes, I did receive 5 (large) bite-sized fritters, which wendydb22 describes very nicely. The pork flatbread, of which Seitsema must have tried a beta version, was conservatively an 8 oz serving cut into 4 pieces, and more like 12 large bites. So, obviously, Chris doesn't know what he's talking about! :) Spiced butternut squash puree, red onion, goat cheese & herb gremolata also accompany the shredded pork, the online menu says, but I recall a roasted pumpkin instead of the squash. In any event, I really enjoyed it.

I struggle to understand Seitsema's above review of the flatbread. Was the "underbaked" flatbread not crisp enough to support the toppings? Apparently, all the ingredients fell off a sagging underbaked flatbread. Heroically, he tried the flatbread in isolation, and found it "nicely chewy" -- which to me means it wasn't underbaked. He must have then painstakingly reassembled said toppings, which would explain how the flatbread "gained more flavor". Note how I'm trying to give Seitsema the benefit of the doubt here, a pardon that I cannot grant to Chris the bartender for his inexcusable lies. (LIES, I tell you!) At any rate, I just ate the flatbread the way it was presented, and had no structural problems.

There are several specific dishes on H Street for which I would hype to my Virginia friends as worth making the trip. Building on what hillvalley says, The Atlas Room is one of the few restaurants in the area that applies the same high standard to the majority of the dishes it offers (I've been 4 times now), and I hope it does well.

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I went to Atlas Room recently prior to a show at the Red Palace. It was a pretty quiet weekday evening. There were only a couple of tables present.

Menu is a bit different- divided into "proteins"- that are then ordered in dishes of increasing size- small-med-large.

I ordered 2 small items and one medium item. I very much enjoyed the grilled seafood salad which consisted of mussels, calamari, scallops, & shrimp on a bed of Israeli couscous and some papadums. I also got the beef short rib ravioli which the waiter said was popular. I thought is was just alright. The filling reminded me too much of Chef Boyardee.

My medium dish was really great: the saddle of lamb with chickpea puree, fennel, tomato, olives ragout and parsley sauce. The lamb was beautifully cooked.

They also serve "pre-prohibition" cocktails at Atlas. I tried two- the Clover Club (Beefeater London Dry Gin, housemade Grenadine, lemon juice and egg white) and La Rosa Flip (ruzan Blackstrap rum, Java Head Stout, and an egg yolk topped with nutmeg).

PICS

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A friend and I tried brunch at the Atlas Room today and enjoyed our meal quite a bit. Neither of us had been before. She left planning to make reservations there for an upcoming pre-theatre dinner.

I loved the Pork Hash & Eggs 12 Two poached eggs atop of yukon gold potato-pablano pepper hash & sriracha hollandaise. My friend, a steak and eggs aficionado, equally enjoyed her Steak and Eggs 14 Two eggs any style, flat iron steak & home fries. The steak was a perfect medium rare. After a bit of debate--and helpful input from our server--she got the Red Atlas Sparkler 8 Raspberry puree, hint of mint, Prosecco. Bloody Marys generally don't appeal to me so I don't order them much, but the description of theirs (and the view of the drink on other tables), reeled me in. Also priced at $8, it was an excellent version of the drink: Filandia vodka, horse raddish, celery salt and celery, cucumber, worcetershire and a touch of veal reduction(optional)

The spiciness of both the drink and the sriracha hollandaise was just perfect for me. I like a little heat but not overwhelming heat, and both were just right. Both of us thought our potatoes were also cooked just right. We both love breakfast potatoes and end up grumbling about them at most places we order them. Not here. My poached eggs were also prepared expertly, and the bits of pork in the hash were delicious. The portion size suited me fine but my friend, who has an enormous appetite, ate everything on her plate and could have eaten more (both plates also came with two halved slices of toast).

A few notes: When this place is crowded, it is very loud. Tables turned over and it quieted down quite a bit, but for a while we were having trouble talking across to the table to each other. The tables are also very close together. Even my very thin dining companion had to squeeze a bit to get out from her seat. Another point: They were wonderfully accommodating, but my decision not to make a reservation was the wrong one. (I thought about it and didn't.) You really should make a reservation to come here for brunch. (And you should come here for brunch!)

ETA: They only serve brunch on Sunday, beginning at 11:30AM.

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I haven't posted on this place since starting the thread, but we live nearby and have been several times and have never been disappointed. Don's review today at DCDining.com confirms what we've thought for some time now: The Atlas Room is "not only the best restaurant in the Atlas District, but it's also the best restaurant in all of Northeast or Southeast DC, including everything on Capitol Hill." Yes, that's right: H Street now has the best restaurant not only in NE DC, but anywhere on Capitol Hill. It's small, and reservations are neighborhood only, but it's a terrific spot for a cocktail, for small plates, for a full meal and bottle of wine, or for Sunday brunch. I join in Don's recommendations -- try a cocktail and try just about anything on the menu. The only items we are less than wild about are the croquettes/fritters, which I suspect most folks on here will recognize as an inexpensive offering for those looking for the cheapest, easiest thing to order. Our top pics are the seafood salad, the seafood chowder, the indian spiced beef loin, and the pork loin.

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...and reservations are neighborhood only...

?

How does this work? I see that they have a phone number online for people to call for reservations...are you saying they'll ask where I live?

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We've been there for dinner only once and it was excellent. This weekend we were there for cocktails, again excellent. We're hoping to get back soon.

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Had dinner there on Saturday night and it was excellent as always. We actually began the evening hoping to eat at Dr. Granville Moore's. The two hour wait left us looking elsewhere, and we were able to get in at the Atlas Room after a less than 45 minute wait, which we spent pleasantly at the bar. As mentioned earlier in this thread, the lamb fritters and pork dumplings were definitely the two most disappointing things we ate all night. The fritters were dry, and while there was plenty of sauce to add moisture, they still came off tasting under-seasoned. The dumplings had an odd texture, and again just didn't seem to have as much flavor as we were hoping for. The third appetizer we split, the short rib raviolis, were fantastic.

For entrees, two of us had the duo of pork while I had the duo of lamb. Both were fantastic, with the meat prepared perfectly. The vegetables and sauce were delicious as well. Very nice meal, good service, top notch all around. Will happily return.

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Don's review today at DCDining.com

Welp after reading Don's review I certainly not regret not being able to talk the lady into getting the chicken special on Friday night. Instead we got the pork dumplings, seafood salad, short rib raviolis and duo of lamb. I can easily recall the distinctive tastes of all four dishes, including the dumplings (the trick seemed to be to get a little bit of each component into each bite). On the lamb dish the meats were perfectly cooked, the broccoli rabe was appropriately seasoned, and the potatoes had a dense texture (almost like sweet potatoes).

Still haven't had a bad wine here either. I tend to steer towards old world wines in doubt but have been pleasantly surprised by the West Coast wines I've tried--even uncommon grapes like the Sangiovese out of the Yakima Valley in Oregon (pleasantly dry and aromatic) and the Sauvignon Blanc from California (very mineral driven) were fantastic food companions. The California Cabernet is predictable but useful with the assertive meats found at the Atlas Room.

We were also unaware of the reservations policy but were able to snag a seat later when a few rezies didn't show (around 9pm).

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A first visit to Atlas Room tonight with some friends. Reading through the posts above, virtually all the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Agree with much of that but not all. Atlas has been open for many months so here's the full scoop from just one person's perspective.

Disclosure: I went in to Atlas expecting to compare it to a newer restaurant I've recently tried a couple of times: Salt & Pepper in Potomac. Both are positioned as "neighborhood" restaurants with professional chefs. But, this comparison doesn't really work. Salt & Pepper is more "neighborhoody" in terms of the familiarly and accessibility of its cuisine than Atlas but that's not an important distinction.

HEADLINE

Very good. Menu is creative but not at the expense of flavor. Some dishes were really tasty. We all agreed we'd be back. Very good value across the menu. Opportunity for Atlas maybe more around kitchen execution on some dishes. Culturally, they might also focus a bit less on their smallness and a bit more on how they can maximize the experience for customers (more on that below). They can and should do more without having to spend a ton more.

SERVICE

We'd noted the reservation policy posts here on this thread and wondered if it'd be tough to get a table with little lead time here. It was and wasn't. There seems to be a big focus (on the website and in how they answer different queries) on the restaurant's smallness as a reason why they don't offer or do certain things...like OpenTable. I have no problem with that. OpenTable's cost isn't immaterial though, of course, it is very convenient for customers. Website says they only man their phones starting at "around 3pm" on Tuesday after a couple days off. Had to dial a bunch of times between 2:30 and 3:05 but when I got through, the person who took the request was great, very nice and had no problem accommodating us. The place was maybe 2/3 full when we were there.

Service was good. Nothing really to highlight but also nothing meriting critique of any kind. We felt well taken care of throughout the night.

FOOD

The menu design is creative but also reasonably intuitive and effective. Offering "tapas", "appetizer" and "main" options for each type of protein (e.g., "seafood," "chicken," "pork," "beef") is innovative. Some tapas (like a "wonton soup") are clearly more full-size appetizer size than tapa but not so important inasmuch as Atlas offers good value across the menu. More specifically, we had:

- Grilled Seafood Salad ($10): Mussels, calamari, shrimp & Israeli cous cous. Others ordered this and I didn't try it. They liked it and finished all the seafood but left some of the cous cous which dominates the dish.

- Wonton Soup ($8): Dumplings, shitake mushroom & Savoy cabbage broth. Listed as a "tapa," this is clearly more an appetizer-sized dish--to our benefit. Expecting a lighter "cabbage broth" that might be chicken based (since it was under the chicken header), I was surprised when this came out with a very dark broth and wrongly assumed it was a beef broth. it was tasty and I enjoyed it. But, while the use of soy (not beef) to flavor and darken the broth was fine, it might be even better lighter since the soy obliterates any real cabbage flavor in the broth as advertised. The dumplings were dense but clearly freshly made and fine. Another person at our table raved about the dumplings. I have a higher dumpling bar probably from too much time in Asia. These were good but not great IMHO.

- Crisp Fennel Sausage Dumplings ($9): Mache salad, walnuts & fig vinicotto. Another very generously sized "tapa," this came with 6 or 7 round golf ball sized "dumplings." I didn't order this and just tried one of the deep fried "dumplings" from a friend's plate. I liked it but didn't taste much sausage in it. Nevertheless tasty as far as deep fried balls of fennel can take one. Didn't get any of the fig vincotto but maybe that was just the salad, which I didn't try.

- Loin ($14): Under "Pork"-White yam & pineapple mash, zucchini, chili-caramel sauce. One the meal's real highlights. My SO was the only one to order this and absolutely loved it. I had to agree. the pork was very flavorful and, avoiding the all-too-common dryness that comes with overcooking thinner slices of loin, this one was perfectly executed and juicy. I also really enjoyed the mash. Atlas seems to favor purees and mashes in many of the dishes and does them well. the mix of the white yam with lighter proportion of pineapple was interesting, light and very tasty--perfect complement to the pork.

- Short Rib Ravioli ($10): Under "Beef" - Carmelized onions, mushrooms & herbed demi. I knew this dish had been very favorably reviewed by others. And, it's the kind of dish I'm near certain to order if on a menu. I enjoyed this but think it's short of its potential as currently executed. The ravioli wrappers were nicely done--al dente and clearly housemade. The short rib/onion filling was good but not as rich or flavorful as I'd have guessed. Again, I enjoyed it. It was good. Just think the filling doesn't celebrate great short rib as much as it might.

- Grilled Indian Spiced Loin ($15): Under "Beef" - Roasted cauliflower, eggplant puree, caper raisin sauce and curry oil. Overall very successful dish again highlighting the chef's skill with properly cooked proteins and purees/mashes. The beef was perfectly rare to medium rare and the use of the vegetables in the puree worked very well. The only minor pick with this dish was the curry oil. A bit of a tendency from this kitchen to adorn plates with clever and colorful oils or swipes that catch the eye but don't add much to the flavor profile. But didn't matter so much here. The core components of the dish were great.

- Grilled Vegetable Gratin ($10): Under "Vegetable" - Fontina cheese, cous cous, spring veggies & tomato. Didn't enjoy this. It was the kind of dish an untrained home cook (like me) might do that comes out heavy and, with just a bit of overbaking, basically a tomato cheese baked mash which totally obscured any "spring veggies." We shared this at the table but only finished about a fourth of the dish, described as appetizer sized but probably clocking in at a full pound if it was weighed.

- Lamb Meatballs ($9): Under "Lamb" - White bean-garlic puree, basil, yogurt & olive coulis. Very good if not so distinctive. The lamb meatballs were nicely seasoned and, go figure, another puree. This one was more traditional and fine. Missed the "yogurt & olive coulis" but, on balance, enjoyed the dish.

- Dessert/Almond Gallette ($8): Two of us ordered this. It was basically a very dense, very rich chocolate fudge/mousse type base wtih a firm sweet crisp shell on top (ostensibly made with almond) and a scoop of ice cream. The ice cream was very nice. The rest of the dish too firm, sweet, dense to be able to finish or really enjoy. Chocolate swipes on the plate for aesthetic effect.

- Dessert/Pineapple Upside Down Cake ($8): One of our friends ordered this, seemed to like it and took half of it home. I didn't try it so can't comment.

- Beverages ($9-$11/glasses of wine): I was surprised to see that they only offer four reds by the glass but think this one of several decisions made because they're a small place. Not sure I buy that if true. While not a large restaurant, they're not that small and I'd think could offer 6 or 7 options? Also, they don't list the vintages on the menu. Nevertheless the wines were reasonably priced. My EIEIO Pinot Noir was good and from a similarly very small producer in the Willamette. Another in our party ordered and finished a Californian Chiarito Zin. In retrospect, we should have just ordered a bottle. They offer 4 reds by the glass and another 9 by the bottle. All domestic save one Italian barbera. All priced around $45-80/bottle. No espressos on offer because they're "small." But they may offer them in the future (?). When I asked about teas, they had only two choices. C'mon, small or not, they can offer 4 or 5 good quality teas I'd think?

I can't really rave about the Atlas room but I did like it and probably will go back. And, to be fair, probably safe to say that the others in my party would all score Atlas higher than I would. Our total bill for four was $175 with a few glasses of wine and three desserts. That's very good value given all we had and the generally good quality of most dishes.

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A bit disappointed that the cocktail list remains the same as when it first opened, BUT I did get a off-menu Bartender's Choice at the bar that delighted. Even with 3 minutes to go before kitchen close, I received a very tasty tuna appetizer with corn fritters that spanned the spectrum of textures. My random bar pal termed the restaurant as "somewhat stuffy" but that must be in the context of the H Street neighborhood. Hit yourself with H Street's best shot.

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A bit disappointed that the cocktail list remains the same as when it first opened, BUT I did get a off-menu Bartender's Choice at the bar that delighted. Even with 3 minutes to go before kitchen close, I received a very tasty tuna appetizer with corn fritters that spanned the spectrum of textures. My random bar pal termed the restaurant as "somewhat stuffy" but that must be in the context of the H Street neighborhood. Hit yourself with H Street's best shot.

The tuna appetizer sounds interesting. They haven't updated the menu on the website, which I was looking at in advance of an upcoming visit. I was pretty sure they weren't still serving heavy winter dishes, though :mellow: . Do you recall anything else that's on the current menu?

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Actually, I didn't even look at the menu that closely, I just asked for a medium-sized dish and this is what I got. I've noticed they usually keep the same cuts of proteins on the menu, they just jazz up the sauces and sides from week to week. Sorry I can't be more helpful here, Pat.

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Actually, I didn't even look at the menu that closely, I just asked for a medium-sized dish and this is what I got. I've noticed they usually keep the same cuts of proteins on the menu, they just jazz up the sauces and sides from week to week. Sorry I can't be more helpful here, Pat.

No problem :unsure: . You're right about keeping the same basic proteins.

The roasted chicken breast and thigh I got tonight (with green beans, scallions, and mushrooms) is one of the best things I've eaten all year. So buttery, so delicious. Wow. I started with the tuna/hush puppy appetizer, which was quite good. It had a generous amount of fish, more than I thought it would. My second course was the pork-fennel dumplings with mache-walnut salad. I believe the salad also had fig but I didn't detect it. It may have been in the dressing. This is not something I usually say, but there could have been a little more dressing. I was thrown by this dish because the dumplings were deep fried cousins of the hush puppies, not what I think of as dumplings. It was good enough but ranked third of the three dishes I ordered.

My husband started with a salad special that had figs. Either the waiter neglected to mention it or my husband and I both missed that it had blue cheese. He hates blue cheese. I love it. The figs were packed with it. I got the figs and was quite happy. He also got the chicken wonton soup and seemed to like it. His main was the lamb saddle, which he polished off in due course, before starting on my chicken.

We don't usually order dessert but, since it was my birthday, we decided to share a piece of cake. We got the pineapple upside down cake (with an ice cream I don't recall). It was better than I expected. The pineapple was nicely caramelized.

My husband hadn't been here before and concluded that he liked it more than PS7's, where we went a couple of weeks ago. It's very nice to have this in the neighborhood. (In fact, we were seated right behind neighbors from a few houses down. That was kind of funny.)

ETA: I see that the pork dumplings are indeed on the online menu. If I had read the description competently, I shouldn't have been surprised that the dumplings were like deep-fried sausage balls: "Crisp Fennel Sausage Dumplings 9 Mache salad, walnuts and fig vinicotto" :mellow:

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A bit disappointed that the cocktail list remains the same as when it first opened, BUT I did get a off-menu Bartender's Choice at the bar that delighted.

Chris is a good bartender and can make whatever you like for the most part. My usual order is an off menu manhattan like drink he calls the Omerta. If you like the Palena manhattan or a Carpano Antica Formula manhattan, you'll love this. IIRC, he's behind bar every night, but Tuesday.

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Chris is a good bartender and can make whatever you like for the most part. My usual order is an off menu manhattan like drink he calls the Omerta. If you like the Palena manhattan or a Carpano Antica Formula manhattan, you'll love this. IIRC, he's behind bar every night, but Tuesday.

I second that. I had that the last time I was there and it was excellent.

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Today I celebrate my 13th anniversary with Bob, but we celebrated here on Saturday night, since they're closed Mondays. I don't have much to add to what others have said; I stuck with pork, Bob with lamb, and I think he got the better dishes on balance. I liked the pork dumplings, not finding them as dry as others have said, but was also surprised that they were more like fritters. But I found the taste delicate, not heavy. Bob got the appetizer special of lamb "bacon," which was tasty, but the plating was perhaps a bit messy looking with smears of squash puree. My pork duo was slightly uneven, with a few slices of the meat on the dry side, and again, the mix of sides and the plating was not entirely pleasing (the apricot polenta was pleasing, the broccoli boring). But Bob's lamb duo was sensational--succulent medium-rare meat, a nice barley risotto. Desserts were fine--ricotta dumplings with lemon curd for me, a surprisingly light pumpkin cake for Bob. Loved the well-made drinks (Cosa Nostra, Martinez) but the Tallulah Syrah was a bit too big for my tastes. It was interesting to see how many drop-ins got turned away even early in the evening. All in all, a lovely night that didn't break the bank.

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I really like the concept of different serving sizes in categories, and overall my last experience there was good. My only complaint is that there isn't a lot on the menu that's not meat-focused. If I wanted three savory courses, for example, which the concept would invite, it would be hard to find two inviting vegetable options to complement a meat option. I like meat, but I like a balanced meal, too. This would not deter me from returning, as the food was good and I like the seats in the bar area.

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I feel terrible that I haven't posted about my last dinner at the Atlas Room this past Saturday.

We love the Atlas Room, and go there as frequently as our budget allows. It's safe to say we've never been disappointed by a meal there, and last Saturday was no exception. The menu had changed significantly since our last visit, and we stuck to mostly new dishes. Sadly, my memory has faded a bit so I am blanking on some details. Overall: The Atlas Room doesn't get enough love here. Go!

We shared all of our entrees, one vegetarian and three meat/fish. Because of the way the kitchen works, we submitted all our choices at once and let the orders come out as they were ready. First to emerge was a pan-seared fish (A new entree. Dorade? Damn my memory) served with a sauce accented by mushrooms and pomegranate seeds. I'm a bit sad that this was the first dish of the night, as it was hands down the best taste of the night. The tiny bit of crunch from the pomegranate and that little bit of sweetness sent the dish over the top.

Second and third were a winter vegetable casserole with port cherries and a chicken "lasagnette" with some dried fruit -- apricot, if memory serves me correctly. The winter casserole was lighter than many of the other winter casseroles Atlas Room has served, and the cherry offset the overall creaminess. Again, the exacty mix of veggies escapes me but this was definitely not your mom's green bean casserole. The chicken lasgnette was good, but not as good as our first two entrees. That's not a knock; if this were at some other restaurant it would have been a standout dish, but next to the casserole and the fish it fell a bit behind. Our final entree, the lamb bolognese (a menu stalwart) was as delicious as usual, and I particularly appreciated the chef's lightness with the salt.


The chef at the Atlas Room seems to be doing very interesting things with fruit right now, and with very seasonal ingredients. The drink menu is also totally new, though the bartender assured me that old favorites (like the sazerac) are still available if you want.

The Atlas Room is still, by far, the best fine dining option on H St. Nothing else comes close.

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