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Rustik Tavern, Pizza and Beer on Rhode Island Avenue and 1st Street NE in Bloomingdale - Closed


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Rustik has been open for a little while now, but we just made it over for the first time on Friday evening. After a little jaunt at the Shaw Dog Park, we took the pup to the patio at Rustik. The patio has about equal the amount of seating as indoors, but on such a nice evening we did have to wait a bit. Service was slow and in attentive, although to be fair, other tables looked like they were getting better service, so it may just have been our waiter that was not quite with it (had to ask for our orders twice, rarely came by the table, app came out same time as entrees, no pen brought with the bill, etc).

We "started" with the cheese and charcuterie plate (miti blue, drunken goat and soprasetta - $10), which came with a small bowl of honey, a few olives and a dab of mustard along with 4 small pita points. We could've used a bit more bread because the cheese and meat were generous services, but we made due.

Since our pizzas came out at the same time as the cheese, they weren't piping hot when we got to them, but were still tasty. The crust is pretty thin and crispy, and I generally prefer a bit more to it, but it is from a wood-fired oven I believe and has some fresh (if sparse) ingredients on top. I had the Christina ($12 - pears, goat cheese, prosciutto, rosemary) and the +1 had a Vegetable Special ($12) that was topped with all manner of things including potatoes, beets, carrots, green onions, etc. His was better than mine. Mine definitely needed more of all the listed ingredients. It just didn't have enough of any to really come together.

The menu is about 6-7 pizzas and a couple of alternative sandwich and salad options. They also have movie nights on Mondays where they show classic choices (Princess Bride and Wedding Crashers have been two recent ones) inside by their bar. I didn't get a drink but I think they have a decent craft beer selection.

As with some other area restaurants, I'd recommend it if you're in the area, but I wouldn't necessarily go out of my way. I do like the dog and patio option though!

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My wife and I have been several times and enjoy the space but have found the food and wine selection to be very much in the 'average' to 'below-average' range, which is really a shame. Part of me wishes they would have found a young mixologist or unknown chef to come here and make a name for themselves at an out-of-the-way neighborhood joint where the pressure would not be as high and the potential for repeat customers is great (people living in the neighborhood are dying for a solid local bar).

I'm glad it's here and hoping it gets better.

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It's a shame to see them go, but I'm not terribly surprised.  They were the first sit down operation within walking distance to most of Bloomingdale for a year or so, and was a real neighborhood meeting place.  Their food was always interesting with a Turkish/Mediterranean accent (I loved the preserved lemon pizza), the patio was a nice place for a quick meal, and they ran some good happy hour deals.  Then came competition.  I liked their pizzas (but Bacio is better), their beer selection always offered up some interesting choices (but Boundary Stone's is better), and the small bar was a cozy place for a drink (but so is Showtime).  The owners also run the newish Steel Plate in Brookland, so I'm guessing they are going to focus efforts there.  I wonder if they are going to re-purpose the space or move on entirely.  It would probably work better as a bar, and everything they cooked came out of a wood burning oven.  So there are logistical challenges.  Best of luck to their team!

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