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The Queen Vic, 12th and H Streets NE - Owners Ryan and Roneeka Gordon, Chef Michael Bonk Steps Down


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How I hate that word, "gastropub." By coincidence, I had a little squid at the uber-gastropub The Spotted Pig sometime after midnight last Saturday/Sunday. It's a fine concept - a bar with decent food -- but based on a small sample size the the term itself is hideously pretentious.

At any rate, the Queen Vic seems to be far more a bar with decent food than a dining destination -- which is quite all right by me. In fact, were I an aficionado of one of those trendy sports like football -- none dare call it soccer -- or roller derby, I think I'd find the Queen Vic a cozy place to catch the match. A decent if not inspired British beer selection and a menu laden with lipid-oriented foods. A fried oyster topped with duck confit, foie gras and a pickle -- how can you go wrong with this sort of thing? And to think that I wasted all those calories on nachos for all those years. The charcuterie plate features pickled clams (not as memorable as they sound) potted duck, head cheese, pate and possibly one other bit of cured dead animal . None of that sissy Italian Italian stuff -- satiny slices of prosciutto de Parma or delicate bites of bresaola -- this is meat for mooks, ground up, smashed together and preserved in fat. It quite hit the spot on a rainy night.

I found the steak pie wanting -- possibly a dictionary illustration for why English cooking is as poorly regarded as English dentistry -- but the fist of whitefish resting atop some quite credible chips (they seemed more like "steak fries" than "pommes frites" to me, in a good way) was very tasty, even if the crispy batter kind of shed itself, snakelike, during the course of dining.

All in all, I wouldn't go cross-town for the place if I was feeling all gastronomical, but if I was pub crawling, it would be a fine place to take a little Tommy Tucker.

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A decent if not inspired British beer selection and a menu laden with lipid-oriented foods.

I give them credit for admitting the beer selection needs improvement. The chips I tried were good, but I'm going to wait to come back until the taps have been upgraded to do a proper meal there.

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The charcuterie plate features pickled clams (not as memorable as they sound) potted duck, head cheese, pate and possibly one other bit of cured dead animal . None of that sissy Italian Italian stuff -- satiny slices of prosciutto de Parma or delicate bites of bresaola -- this is meat for mooks, ground up, smashed together and preserved in fat. It quite hit the spot on a rainy night.

The other item was a little bit of foie. The potted duck was tasty but needed salt. The headcheese was quite good, as were the pickles.

I can't comment on the beers, because I don't drink beer, but my Bombay Dry & tonic hit the spot - even if I did have to convince the bartender that I didn't want Bombay Sapphire. B) And it was lovely to chat with Tweaked & his girl for a few minutes.

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Have only been once, but the fish & chips were fantastic and was pleasantly surprised by the rest of what we had to eat (local grassfed beef & lamb burger, fried oysters w/ foie & confit). Also had a very nice scotch ale on draught, though the brewery's name escapes me.

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Unfortunately, I found the food at the Queen Vic to be wanting.

(Disclaimer #1) - I was born in England, my Dad is from Plymouth, and I've probably eaten more pasties in my lifetime than 99% of Americans outside of the Upper Peninsula and S.W. Wisconsin.

(Disclaimer #2) - The bartender admitted that they are currently outsourcing the dough for the pasty crust, although they are planning to eventually make the dough in-house.

That said, the cornish pasty currently served at the Queen Vic is not good. The pastry crust is all wrong, not short, more Hot Pocket than hot pasty. The vegetables inside were still half raw and crunchy (and purists will scoff at the inclusion of carrot in the veg mix). The curry potato version was some sort of puffy pastry concoction, while tasty, it was not a pasty. I'm interested to see what they do about the dough situation and if they step up the their pasty game with a proper short crust.

The vegetable curry was aloo gobi, and it was all gobi without any aloo to be seen. The bland "sauce" suggested that the cauliflower had been boiled in water with some curry powder and a couple cardamon pods throw in for good measure. While the gf applauded the attempt of provide a decent veg option on the menu, this was a mockery of Indian cooking.

The chips were a solid effort...I would say they are floating somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic between an American french fry and a British chip.

Otherwise, the staff is very friendly, I support the Fuller ESB on tap, and appreciate their efforts to cultivate a DC United following. Maybe next time I'll get the fish and chips.

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I love the bar at the Queen Vic. It's large and solid, and feels like it's well-prepared to withstand world war 3. The beer selection has gotten some better, with Fuller's Honey Dew and ESB, Twisted Thistle IPA, and Belhaven Scotch Ale. A real hit is the charcuterie platter. For $22, you get large portions of head cheese, terrine, potted duck, and torchon of foie gras, along with pickles and mustard. (You can also get individual items for $6, and that foie gras is a bargain at that price.) A friend and I couldn't finish it all. Fortunately, her husband arrived and ate the rest of it.

This is the kind of bar I could spend a lot of time at.

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I had a nice pint of Belhaven Scottish Ale while on the waitlist for Toki. The bonus was the order of chips. It was nicely done and definitely hand cut. The big screens on the second floor are very inviting and if I were living in this neck of the woods, it would be great to grab a pint here very so often.

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This raises the question of who is taking over at Sonoma...

Josh Hutter, former sous at Poste. I should add that I was at Queen Vic recently and had some wonderful sweetbreads, which Mike always liked to do at Sonoma when he got the chance. It will take some time before he can hit his stride at Queen Vic, but the signs are promising. Since he'll have more creative control over the food there than at Sonoma it will be interesting to see how he changes the menu

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Don't bother ordering anything from the Queen Vic's "Indian" food offerings. Flat out pathetic. Second worst food I've ever had at a bar/restaurant in 18 years of living in DC.

But to be fair, they make good chips (not french fries, but chips).

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This may not be totally fair since they're either in between chefs, or just breaking in a new chef, but Friday's dinner at the Vic (due to a tight dining window on our end, and traditional H Street crowds) was extremely disappointing. Service was great, beer list was fantastic as always. But when I finished my fish and chips I had a pile of breading left over on my plate, not because I'm opposed to eating it, but because there was probably more breading than fish in my order. The chips, traditionally the strong suit, were also disappointing, and quite overcooked. Not great.

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Has anyone heard who they are getting to step in as chef? This was a regular in the H St. rotation in the past, but I'm not inclined to return if they're just going to coast along on the past chef's recipes.

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Has anyone heard who they are getting to step in as chef? This was a regular in the H St. rotation in the past, but I'm not inclined to return if they're just going to coast along on the past chef's recipes.

I don't believe they plan to hire another notable name as chef. That said, IMHO the fish n chips has always been one of the very best items here (we order it nearly every time we visit) and it hasn't changed a bit through the three different chefs they've had. So while some kitchen drop off seems likely -- I'll certainly miss Chef Bonk's daily fresh pasta specials -- I don't think you should assume that the food wont continue to justify coming here. The owners are food people, have always wanted to serve good food, and I'm certain they're not walking away from that.

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I don't believe they plan to hire another notable name as chef. That said, IMHO the fish n chips has always been one of the very best items here (we order it nearly every time we visit) and it hasn't changed a bit through the three different chefs they've had. So while some kitchen drop off seems likely -- I'll certainly miss Chef Bonk's daily fresh pasta specials -- I don't think you should assume that the food wont continue to justify coming here. The owners are food people, have always wanted to serve good food, and I'm certain they're not walking away from that.

I agree that the fish and chips has always been great, but the thing that elevated the Vic above other pubs was the dedication to serving up interesting daily specials. I may stop by now and again if I want fish and chips, but I'll miss the experience of walking down H with something else in mind and changing plans when I saw something that sounded great written on the sidewalk board. I really hope they fill the spot with someone who continues to think outside the pub-grub mold.

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I agree that the fish and chips has always been great, but the thing that elevated the Vic above other pubs was the dedication to serving up interesting daily specials. I may stop by now and again if I want fish and chips, but I'll miss the experience of walking down H with something else in mind and changing plans when I saw something that sounded great written on the sidewalk board. I really hope they fill the spot with someone who continues to think outside the pub-grub mold.

They're still doing daily chalkboard specials. Not sure if Ryan is creating them or someone in the kitchen, but the specials menu lives on.

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I will say, the past two times I've been in the fish and chips were extremely disappointing (or at least the fish portion). Just way too much breading, to the point that it was like eating raw dough at times. I agree with JoshNE, we used to go very regularly, but have now essentially taken it out of the rotation. Which is a real shame, we used to enjoy the place.

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Saw on Facebook that they've added a cask system and are currently pouring Oliver's "Draft Punk" IPA...may have to stop by for a pint if I can put a dent in all the work that's piled up.

Great, great, great, great, great news! Did I mention "great?" This is what I have been hoping to see from them since they opened. A pint of local/regional cask ale is actually truer to the British pub ethos than a souring nitro Boddingtons.

They've switched over to DC Brau's Hot Pepper Pandemic Porter, which sounds terrible but doesn't dampen my enthusiasm.

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