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Iron Gate, East Dupont Circle - Chef Tony Chittum Heads a Historic Restaurant with a Patio

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If I was a guy and wanted to impress a non-foodie hot girl, I would totally take her here. Because it is probably one of the most romantic restaurants in DC. Period. There are wonderful trees within a courtyard that canopy the outdoor eating area. There's a lovely walkway flanked by tables as a bar area. The interior is reminiscent of the lush lounge at the Tabard.

But the two food items I sampled were some of the worst things I've had in a loong time. A goat cheese torte came out in a slab like pate, was pink and came out with roasted red pepper sauce. Not a nice little tart shape as we were expecting. And let me say again... PINK! It didn't taste of anything. The chicken liver pate with green peppercorns was extremely kicky, but was a scatological dark brown and not the unctuous deliciousness that I've had at other places. I'd maybe stroll over to enjoy the atmosphere after a dinner at the Tabard, but that's about it.

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About five years ago I went on a first date with a girl that will remain nameless. The first part of that date was drinks at Iron Gate followed by dinner at Tabard Inn. The end of that date included my car getting locked in a parking garage because the attendant decided to leave over an hour early that night, it was an utter debacle. I have never returned to Iron Gate or Tabard Inn since that night, too many bad memories. Unfairly, it looks like I will never be able to return to Iron Gate, I won't make that same mistake with Tabard Inn.

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A guy who at the time owned the Iron Gate Inn was my landlord back in the 1980s. My god that guy was an asshole. I think he must have done the world a favor and died. I've eaten at the Iron Gate in the 1970s, the 1980s, and the 1990s, and while the setting is very cool, the food has always been lousy.

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the food has always been lousy.

Have to agree that the food was bad, which is why I haven't been there since the mid-'80s. That patio, however, is really lovely -- one of the best outdoor dining spaces in DC. I really hope the space will be taken over by a good restaurant. DC could really use more good restaurants with nice outdoor spaces.

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"I do not believe in creativity. I'm not a fan of creativity. I'm a fan of slow and steady."

Inability to keep pace with change is the number one reason businesses fail. PERIOD.

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Last night on my way to dine at Iron Gate I read this quote by Roberto Donna in the metro express; "Ambiance, look or service should never come first. If you go out to eat, you should go for the food. If not, eat at home; have a sandwich."

I respectfully disagree.

Due to hectic schedules, my date and I had missed the Oct. 31st dining deadline, but on the way to another restaurant it was discovered Iron Gate is open until Nov. 13th. Our plans were quickly changed. No, the food here is not revelatory. But ordering things that are hard to mess up (i.e. mussels, slow cooked lamb shank with homemade pasta, roasted chicken with mashed potatoes) and a bottle of french red wine procured a good meal. Sitting in a cozy restaurant 3/4s full, we could easily hear each other and the Paul Simon/Cat Stevens mix playing in the background. The ambiance was perfect. My date's Grandmother went here often during the early 1940s (!!) and I'm sure she will be so glad we got a chance to share a meal here.

Last night was a meal I'll always remember.

I am very glad I did not have a sandwich at home.

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I agree with you! While I like well prepared food I also enjoy the whole experience of a restaurant. Places like CityZen seem to fill the bill in all categories, but I've also been to places where the food is good, not great, and have appreciated the service and atmosphere so much that I always keep going back.

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I think you're twisting Roberto's intent.

You can tolerate a restaurant where the service isn't great. Maybe the room is plain, or ugly. Or the decor is out of style. All of these can be forgivable, to some extent.

But if the food sucks, who cares if the room is pretty, service is spot on, and the look is trendy.

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I think you're twisting Roberto's intent.

You can tolerate a restaurant where the service isn't great. Maybe the room is plain, or ugly. Or the decor is out of style. All of these can be forgivable, to some extent.

But if the food sucks, who cares if the room is pretty, service is spot on, and the look is trendy.

My point was if you put me in front of a fireplace in a cozy old riding house in the middle of the city with a gracious host and play some of my favorite music, you could serve me something slightly more edible than dog food and I'd be happy. Maybe that's just me.

(I am in no way insinuating Iron Gate's food is like dog food.)

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My point was if you put me in front of a fireplace in a cozy old riding house in the middle of the city with a gracious host and play some of my favorite music, you could serve me something slightly more edible than dog food and I'd be happy. Maybe that's just me.

And I would agree with Roberto that, given this scenario, I'd rather do that at home - my music, my fireplace, and my (better) food.

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And I would agree with Roberto that, given this scenario, I'd rather do that at home - my music, my fireplace, and my (better) food.

My humble abode does not resemble an old stable house, much less have a fireplace, so I guess we just have to agree to disagree.

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Making a comeback, thanks to Anthony Chittum. Sorry for Vermillion's loss, but fantastic that this space will get a chance to be the restaurant it always deserved to be.

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Making a comeback, thanks to Anthony Chittum. Sorry for Vermillion's loss, but fantastic that this space will get a chance to be the restaurant it always deserved to be.

Well, damn! I hate to lose having Chef Chittum's wonderful cooking available a few blocks from home, but this sounds like very exciting project. I'll be looking forward to dining there, since I never made it to the previous incarnation.

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I can't remember the last time I was this excited for a restaurant announcement.

Anthony Chittum of 3-Star Vermillion in Old Town, formerly of the 3-Star Notti Bianche (back when it was the real Notti Bianche), is planning to re-open the Iron Gate Inn at 17th & N Streets according to The Washington Post.

Chef Chittum with be partnering with former employers at the Neighborhood Restaurant Group (Vermillion, Churchkey, Rustico etc) and will keep the name of the Iron Gate Inn, but will feature Italian & Greek cuisine.

Tony's grilled fresh seafood is among the best I've ever had, I can't wait to see what he does in Dupont. Congrats Chef!

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To answer John Kelly's question about the "second oldest" continually operating restaurant in Washington, DC (without a location change, without any closures, and within the city's borders) it was Billy Martin's Tavern.

For such a historic city as Washington, DC, 1933 isn't all that old for "Oldest Restaurant."

I don't mean to be dim, but how long has Steak & Egg been Osman & Joe's?

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I dined at Iron Gate last week and enjoyed a wonderful meal and experience.  Considering the restaurant is so "new" at least in this iteration, everything was smooth and efficient.  We enjoyed a four course tasting menu for $50, which I consider a great value for what it includes- an assortment of sharing plates, a dish from the garden, a choice of an entree from the water or pasture and finally dessert or cheese.  Autumn squash tortelloni with crispy sage, pumpkin seed oil, and amaretti cookies is the kind of dish that you remember days (weeks) later- simply exquisite.The trio of lamb preparations is a standout, featuring a lamb chop encrusted with a Dijon coating, spicy lamb sausage, and a ragout with lamb. The shell beans and braised colllards are flavorful accompaniments. Congrats to Chef Anthony Chittum and the entire team.   My full report is here: http://beenthereeatenthat.net/2013/12/iron-gate-inn/

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I brought my wife here for dinner on Friday evening, and we had a great meal and a very relaxing, pleasant night. Our initial server has been all over the place in DC; we've seen her at 2 Amys, Dino, Bluejacket, and now at Iron Gate, and she has never been anything less than professional, gracious, etc.

We did the 6-course tasting menu, without wine pairings, as my wife is expecting. It was a lot of food; each course was somewhere between a tasting portion and a full course, perfect for me but a bit too much for my wife, which meant I also had a chance to finish several of the later courses for my wife (a bonus!)

The shared small plates were really wonderful; the arancini were small perfect rice balls, very nicely fried. The pickled vegetables (carrots/leek/radish) were tart and a bit strong for my hypersensing wife, but really good for me. The other standout here was roasted broccoli and ricotta, but it was all very worthwhile. I could eat plate after plate of those small plates and would be very happy. Neighborhood restaurant group should consider opening up one of those conveyor belt sushi-type places, but serving these small plates.

The next several courses were equally worthwhile; the crusted rockfish over celery was a nicely composed dish, as was the lamb. My veal sweetbreads were exactly what I wanted; a simple sweetbread preparation that let the flavor of the sweetbread through perfectly.

I recognize that this new incarnation of Iron Gate is young, but here was our ultimtate takeaway: it feels like the kind of place where an incredible amount of hectic work is going on behind the kitchen door so that everything in the dining room feels smooth and relaxed. This is a charming space, with great food. If you can, I'd highly recommend it, and we look forward to going back.

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I was going to do a much longer post on this, but my time has been getting away from me recently. We went about two weeks ago on a Saturday with another couple and we all absolutely loved it. The space is incredible. Warm, cozy and inviting, but not at all cramped. Just a beautiful dining room. Easy to have a conversation. Service was knowledgeable and wonderful almost without exception. At times the pacing crept a bit more towards the slower side than I would like, although I prefer this to the alternative. And often there was a rush to get our wine pairings to the table because the food beat it there. These are very small things, I want to emphasize, and the overall experience was wonderful.

The food was great. We did the four course tasting menus with beverage pairings. I don't have my notes in front of me, but everything we had was great, and the wine pairings worked very well with what we ordered, and were also different and interesting, which is often a problem with other tasting menus I've had (wines I have in my own basement appearing as beverage pairings). The small shared plates to start were plentiful, and a great way to start the meal. Dessert was great.

I wish I could say more, but I wanted to get my positive experience out here now, before I forgot, and before I just decided not to bother. This is a really good restaurant, and it deserves the praise it's receiving.

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