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Commissary, 14th and P Streets in Logan Circle


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Sunday for a late lunch tried out Commissary, the new restaurant/cafe from the folks that run Logan Tavern, Grillfish, and the Heights. The location is the old Merkado spot which has been stripped of some of its center tables and replaced with couches and tables. There are still regular tables outside and around the main room inside. A number of folks were chilling inside working on their laptops using the free wi-fi. The restaurant follows in the tradition of Tryst, the Diner, and Open City and tries to cater to any and all food desires serving breakfast to late night food and cuisine ranging from breakfast and brunch to coffee house snacks to full lunch, dinner and long list of desserts. The menu really ranges from southwest, to typical American, to pizza, and a little bit of everything else. The prices are similar to the above mentioned places - moderate to cheap (not as cheap as a greasy spoon diner, but cheaper than your average DC sit down restaurant). The service was very friendly and accomodating of special requests, although a little slow when we were sitting outside (although they were really busy). Both my wife and I added a green salad to our sandwiches for $2 for which we got a good size portion of mixed lettuce and a few cherry tomatoes with a bit too much dressing (although I really liked the lemon vinagrette). Nothing exciting here except the great price for some veggies. My wife had the veggie burger with matchstick fries and liked it, but thought it was too heavy on the mushrooms (which she isn't really a fan of). I had the burger with fries. The best thing by far for both "burgers" was the great buttery (although not buttered) toasted bun - almost as good as at the Burger Joint. Definitely made the burgers more enjoyable. My hamburger was ordered med-rare, but came out medium well on half and medium on the other half which wasn't great - but the burger was juicy and flavorful. The fries were fine, except I'm not a fan of matchstick at all preferring thicker fries, but my wife liked them a lot. Definitely a nice cheaper option when you want to eat out but don't want to spend too much.

Also my other favorite thing/ pet peeve, I loved the big bottle of filtered water. I drink alot of water when eating and I hate having to wait for a refill, so giving me my own bottle is great. And seriously, except for the most upscale restaurant, do you really mind pouring your own drink - I don't. The bottles also looked nicer and were slender making them easier to pour for a klutz like me than the similar concept at Clydes with its wide mouth pitchers (still kudos to them for having the pitchers for years).

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Sunday for a late lunch tried out Commissary, the new restaurant/cafe from the folks that run Logan Tavern, Grillfish, and the Heights. The location is the old Merkado spot which has been stripped of some of its center tables and replaced with couches and tables. There are still regular tables outside and around the main room inside. A number of folks were chilling inside working on their laptops using the free wi-fi. The restaurant follows in the tradition of Tryst, the Diner, and Open City and tries to cater to any and all food desires serving breakfast to late night food and cuisine ranging from breakfast and brunch to coffee house snacks to full lunch, dinner and long list of desserts. The menu really ranges from southwest, to typical American, to pizza, and a little bit of everything else. The prices are similar to the above mentioned places - moderate to cheap (not as cheap as a greasy spoon diner, but cheaper than your average DC sit down restaurant). The service was very friendly and accomodating of special requests, although a little slow when we were sitting outside (although they were really busy). Both my wife and I added a green salad to our sandwiches for $2 for which we got a good size portion of mixed lettuce and a few cherry tomatoes with a bit too much dressing (although I really liked the lemon vinagrette). Nothing exciting here except the great price for some veggies. My wife had the veggie burger with matchstick fries and liked it, but thought it was too heavy on the mushrooms (which she isn't really a fan of). I had the burger with fries. The best thing by far for both "burgers" was the great buttery (although not buttered) toasted bun - almost as good as at the Burger Joint. Definitely made the burgers more enjoyable. My hamburger was ordered med-rare, but came out medium well on half and medium on the other half which wasn't great - but the burger was juicy and flavorful. The fries were fine, except I'm not a fan of matchstick at all preferring thicker fries, but my wife liked them a lot. Definitely a nice cheaper option when you want to eat out but don't want to spend too much.

Also my other favorite thing/ pet peeve, I loved the big bottle of filtered water. I drink alot of water when eating and I hate having to wait for a refill, so giving me my own bottle is great. And seriously, except for the most upscale restaurant, do you really mind pouring your own drink - I don't. The bottles also looked nicer and were slender making them easier to pour for a klutz like me than the similar concept at Clydes with its wide mouth pitchers (still kudos to them for having the pitchers for years).

I am unimpressed. I went there Monday with some friends after getting in from a flight from Austria. I was STARVING. I ordered a burger and a mint julep. The mint julep was good. The burger, not so much. I had requested a burger, medium rare, with bleu cheese. Our waiter (who was pretty distracted and not that great to begin with) brought it out and literally ran away. I put some ketchup on, added the tomato and lettuce, and cut it in half. Without looking, I took a bite. It was RAW. Not rare, not, med-rare, but completely raw (and I like my meat rare -- I love the cool-center "recommended burgers at Ray's). I decided that Comissary did not look like a place where I wanted to experiment with tartare so I decided to send it back. Unfortunately, our waiter did not come back outside where we were sitting for 30 MINUTES! When he finally did, I sent the burger back. Move forward 10 minutes -- a new burger arrives. Unfortunately, it was the same burger. They had scraped off the cheese, lettuce and tomato, put the burger back on the grill, and then put more cheese on it and put it back on the plate -- the patty was cut in half, and had the marks from my first bite. Gross. I ate it anyway because I was starving. I then went home, but apparently my friends, who stayed, had similar bad experiences. The pizza was no better than what you get out of a freezer box, and the service was so bad that they eventually gave up and went to Cork for some real food and service.

I have never been impressed by Logan Tavern, the Heights, or Merkado. Comissary is a major disappointment, and that's a bummer since it is two blocks from my house.

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I've never been to the Heights or Grill Fish, but I've always liked Logan Tavern and thought Merkado was good. Sounds like Commissary needs to work on its service to the patio. While as i said, my burger was overdone, there were longish waits for service on Sunday.

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Does anyone remember "the Commissary" in Philadelphia, next to the Frog restaurant. Was a Philly staple for years and years, I think it dissapeared in the early 80's.

Best. Carrot cake. Ever. (The Commissary in Philly, that is.) I have the cookbook and it has some really solid recipes, particularly in the dessert section. I'm pretty sure my version of that carrot cake is one of the reasons my husband proposed to me :lol:.

I gave the unrelated DC Commissary a try on Sunday and thought it was so-so. The breakfast potatoes that came with my eggs were pretty flavorless, and my friend's oatmeal was clearly of the instant "pour-on-boiling-water-and-stir" variety. Eh. The atmosphere was nice, though -- reminded me a lot of Logan.

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I've been to the Commissary three times in the past week, just to check the place out. My verdict is "meh". I don't really care for the interior -- it feels a little slapdash, and doesn't have an ounce of that comfortable coffeehouse vibe that I was hoping for. The food is as inexpensive as it gets for a sitdown restaurant in the area, which will certainly keep the place bustling, and their happy hour food-and-drink specials ($3 drafts, very cheap appetizers) are great. Still, most of it just feels generic and bland.

Of the things I've tried, the most exciting was the chicken salad BLT. It wasn't a large portion, but every ingredient, from the creamy chicken salad to the thick bacon strips to the grilled-not-toasted bread was thoughtfully made, so if you're there, check it out.

Alex

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I've been to the Commissary three times in the past week, just to check the place out. My verdict is "meh". I don't really care for the interior -- it feels a little slapdash, and doesn't have an ounce of that comfortable coffeehouse vibe that I was hoping for.
I disagree. Compared to Merkado, I think that the space has warmed up significantly. It's not as comfy as Tryst, for example, but it's light years ahead of what was there before.

That said, the dinner that I had there was "meh" but the drinks were inexpensive which is "yeah!!". I am looking forward to trying out their breakfast one of these days. At face value, I really appreciate the fact that they offer breakfast items a la carte instead of some our other local spots that you can't get in/out of at brunch-time for less than $15/person.

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We went last night for dinner. Ordered the chicken salad BLT, pizza margherita and a burger (medium rare). Like others said, the burger was overcooked. I thought my chicken salad BLT was pretty good. The pizza was really soggy in the center. The table next to us ordered the chicken stew, which looked good and they seemed happy about it.

All that said, I'd go back -- I like the concept and hope the quality of the food gets better as they smooth out the bumps that inevitably happen when a place opens.

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We went last night for dinner. Ordered the chicken salad BLT, pizza margherita and a burger (medium rare). Like others said, the burger was overcooked. I thought my chicken salad BLT was pretty good. The pizza was really soggy in the center. The table next to us ordered the chicken stew, which looked good and they seemed happy about it.

All that said, I'd go back -- I like the concept and hope the quality of the food gets better as they smooth out the bumps that inevitably happen when a place opens.

This seems to be a pervasive thought in the community. Don does not agree and mentioned at some point that places seem to put out a level of food that is similar to what it will be when 'kinks' get worked out. At first I did not agree with Don, but when I think of the places that I have been right after opening and then later I am struck more with how places have fallen off than the opposite. Are there places that have significantly improved with some time? I am only talking about the food aspect, not service.

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Are there places that have significantly improved with some time? I am only talking about the food aspect, not service.

Probably the topic for another thread, but Komi has gone from great to extraordinary to impossibly great at times. Cityzen, Palena, Eve and Corduroy go from strength to strength, constantly building and out-excelling themselves. Proof, too, with time, seems certain to join this last category.

It's funny, but no coincidence, this list includes the three names I came up with when I asked myself the question, after reading about a Spanish chef who did so, "Who in DC is both capable of earning a Michelin star and likely to refuse it, not out of principle or protest, but rather so it not interfere with his work?"

This last question would make a great topic for a thread on its own.

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Any updates? I'm going tonight, pre-theater.

No updates, but a funny anecdote:

The first week Posto opened, I walked away disappointed from a meal at the bar. When I got home, I texted a friend of mine who happens to be a restaurant critic. "Posto sucks," I wrote.

About five minutes later, the reply arrived: "Does it suck like Commonwealth, or is it Commissary bad?"

After I finished laughing, I wrote back, "It sucks like Commonwealth."

(Somewhat off-topic, but since Posto is the butt of this story, I'll add that I just raised it to the top of the Logan Circle Dining Guide two nights ago after a terribly disappointing finish to an initially promising meal at 15 Ria.)

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