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  1. Of the new crop of restaurants on Columbia Heights' 11th Street strip, I've been to Kangaroo Boxing Club the most--four times. This isn't by design, but it's easy, comfortable, welcoming, and has enough high points that it's easy to look past the weak ones. The pastrami, for instance. I'm no expert, but this is by far the best I've ever had. I mean, outstanding, off-the-charts, off-the-hook terrific. The rye bread holds up to it and I don't know how it's possible, but the mustard makes it all even better. Seriously: get the pastrami. I'm not as wild about the other meats. The Smokey Joe is okay--too much, too strong, too salty sauce mixed with over-shredded beef that's only remarkable if you get a couple of the awesome smoky end pieces in the mix. The chocolate BBQ on the pulled chicken is also pretty spicy, and the chicken is fine. I don't remember much about the pulled pork (not a good sign, but it was a couple of months ago) except that I couldn't really find a sauce I liked--I think they all were too spicy for me*--and the bottom bun was soaked through with grease. I clearly need to give it another go. Those sandwich buns are good though. The beans vex me. They vex me so. The first time they were amazing; the second time they tasted like someone had spilled a bottle of vinegar on them; the third time, amazing again; the fourth time vinegar again, plus something else not so good. What the hell? Seems to me that we've got two chefs making two different recipes, and it makes me sad because I've clearly got a 50-50 chance of getting a ramekin of yuck, and those odds just aren't fair. But when they're done right, the beans are the best side on the menu, along with the johnny cakes. The mac and cheese is pretty darn good, and the greens and salad are run-of-the-mill. The garlic fries are nice, but it's the dipping sauce that makes them dangerously addictive. I think they only have three beer taps, but they're stocked with good stuff (the Redtober and Mojo are my recent faves) so I haven't explored the bottles. I stay away from the cocktails, which, even when on special, just aren't that well made. The service is across the board terrific, but the joint is seriously tiny. The bar has been full pretty much every time I've been in, and every seat in the place tends to be taken by 6:30. *Is BBQ usually this spicy? I'm sort of on the mild-to-medium end of the spectrum, but I was surprised that every sauce was so firey. Sigh. Guess I'll have to stick with the pastrami (poor me!).
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