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Drew Trautmann

District Kitchen, Woodley Park Metro - Chef Drew Trautmann Has Departed

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We will be having a discounted soft opening tonight, and be open for business tomorrow at 5. We are located at 2606 Connecticut Ave. NW our, phone # is (202)238-9408

Thanks for your support

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I went to "soft opening" last night - not because I have any connection, but just because we live nearby and were eager to check it out, so we asked and were welcomed. It was great. I don't know how much more I usefully can or should say, because it's so new, and any reviews are therefore practically meaningless in the longterm. The space is nice in what I would call a "high-end rustic" way - e.g., brick walls, the bathroom sink is a galvanized washtub, etc. The staff was really nice to us. And the food was very good, again in a sort of swanky-rustic way (pickled trout and onions, egg with veg hash, etc.). Fairly priced, good to eat, mix of small and large plates, good use of mushrooms in soup and otherwise, lovely salad, great mussels with cider and whatnot, etc. Also notable for dessert, which I thought went a step beyond the expected. Sorghum ice cream with carrot cake crumbles, yum. Totally worth checking out.

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May I suggest getting the house made beef jerky as an accompaniment to the egg-potato-mushroom hash?

Try them together ...

... and then have a fusilli as your red wine course.

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I've been really bummed out about the chainification of Woodley Park -- not that my neighborhood was chock-a-block with great restaurants before, but it seems to have gotten worse lately -- so am very happy at the opening of District Kitchen. My meal last night was really good. I started with the herbed ricotta, served with an enormous clove of roasted garlic and a few slices of grilled bread. My main course was fluke, about 4 thin pieces of seared fish stacked on top of each other and served with greens dressed with an Asian-style vinaigrette and gingered squash puree. It was a fairly light dish, and the components set each other off nicely. I also tasted my friend's "fusilli" small plate, which is described on the menu as "cincinnati style lamb chili, goat cheddar." It was rich and delicious, though I didn't really get the Cincinnati-style description (my parents live in SW Ohio, so I've had my share of Cincinnati chili), though to be fair I only had a bite. (It also didn't seem like fusilli to me, unless there's some sort of long, deconstructed fusilli that's less corkscrewy than I'm used to -- come to think of it, maybe that's what fresh fusilli looks like.) Putting aside the description, though, I could see coming here a lot for this bowl of pasta with a rich lamb ragu, particularly on a cold winter night. I was happy to see some unusual choices among the wines, and enjoyed the vermentino with my fish. My friend and I shared the chocolate pot du creme, which was very good, but even better was the chocolate shortbread alongside it. Service was friendly and efficient -- though given that it was a soft opening night the restaurant was pretty empty. (Thanks to the chef for posting about the discounted soft opening above.) I really like the casual atmosphere and menu, which are just want you want in a restaurant around the corner. And from the aesthetics department, I'm glad to say goodbye to that pink brick facade from the Jandara days.

You can find the menu on Washingtonian's best bites blog (though it evidently will change often): http://www.washingtonian.com/blogarticles/restaurants/bestbites/22144.html

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I've been really bummed out about the chainification of Woodley Park -- not that my neighborhood was chock-a-block with great restaurants before, but it seems to have gotten worse lately -- so am very happy at the opening of District Kitchen. My meal last night was really good.

Say hi next time! :)

(Initiated in Italic, btw.)

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So happy to have this restaurant in the neighborhood that I went back again for the second time this week and it's still great.

Deviled ham in a little jar, with crunchy toast, as an appetizer. Cute and tasty. In a way, it's a funny joke - who thought that deviled ham could be good? But it is.

Really good scallops with a squash puree and asiany-dressed salad.

My son will attest that the "french dip" sandwich, which is not beef but mushroom and white bean puree on good bread with a mushroom "jus", and costs $13 with a big and non-boring salad, is great.

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Count me as another who's really pleased to welcome District Kitchen to the neighborhood. Stopped by for a late dinner (10:30) last night and it was pleasantly full and inviting. The transformation of the space is remarkable, and the lighting in particular (with extensive use of vintage-style filament bulbs) helps create a warm ambiance. The preview photos intimated that an abundance of hard surfaces might make it noisy, but that does not appear to be the case.

In addition to the sparklers mentioned above (particularly the deviled ham), I'd also call out the crispy rabbit boudin which came with what was called a "sweet onion ketchup" but what I would characterize as a jam. Whatever you call it, the combination was terrific.

Service was friendly and attentive, and I look forward to becoming a regular.

Dave

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Just got back from my first visit to District Kitchen, and left very disappointed.

I live a few blocks away and was very excited for a new place to open up nearby that wasn't a tourist trap like the rest of Woodley Park. I go to Cashions 3-5 times a month, and while I love it and almost never leave disappointed I was hoping for a new place to add to the mix.

The space itself is great, a 10/10. I loved everything about it. However things went south once we sat down.

We stopped by tonight (Sunday) around 8:00pm. There was only one other solo dinner at the bar besides us so service was good. (Except for when the bartender and a few waiters were taking shots together. If the food was good I wouldn't mind this, but it was what it was).

Since this was our first visit I wanted to try a variety of things so I went with small plates.

The Cinnciatti chili style lamb fusilli was the highlight of the meal. It was a little under seasoned but was good overall and the Ciny chili taste came through very well.

After that things got very disappointing.

I also ordered the Bouchot Mussels and Crispy Rabbit Boudin. The bartender said that three plates would probably be to much for me and said he would put in the Mussel order after I ate my first two dishes if I still wanted it. Normally I appreciate advice like this, but while the fusilli is a pretty good size for a small plate it's nothing overwhelming and I waited close to 20 minutes after I finished it for the mussels to arrive.

The Crispy Rabbit Boudin was absolutely tasteless and very under seasoned. You could have told me it was lamb or chicken and I would have believed you, since there was nothing crispy in them and no rabbit taste at all.

Once I finally got the Bouchot Mussels the disappointment continued. The Curry was overwhelming (and I like curry) and the club fries that came on the side were under seasoned and under cooked.

My fiancee (a vegetarian) had the Kennet Square Mushroom "french dip". A total let down. Basically two slabs of half decent french bread with some sautéed mushrooms mixed in with white bean puree and a mushroom broth on the side for the "dip". (For $18 bucks!!) Again, totally under seasoned. This also came with the club fries, which were also tasteless only this time them came out so hot it burned her mouth after the first bite. This dish would be more at place for $8 at Corner Bakery.

I ate out a lot this weekend. Cashions, New Heights, Mala Tang and Trummer's on Main for Brunch. I had nothing but good things to say about all of those meals. This on the other had was a huge disappointment from a place I've been excited about since I first heard about it months ago.

Maybe because it was Sunday night and the B team was working. But overall a very poor showing.

Since it's so close and since I like to eat out I'll be back at some point. But I hope things have dramatically improved by then. The space is awesome and the location, between the Woodley and AdMo locals mixed in with a ton of hotel traffic should keep this place going for a while.

I just hope they step up their game.

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Just got back from my first visit to District Kitchen, and left very disappointed.

[This harsh critique is surprising considering you've been a member here for seven months without a single post. You apparently dine out quite often (five times this weekend, for example, at very respectable restaurants). What inspired such a savage trashing after such a long period of silence?

Via text messaging and a phone call, I gave a pretty enthusiastic recommendation of District Kitchen to another one of our members who dined here this evening, and I'll be very curious to hear his take on the restaurant. I've only been here once, but my experience was clearly much more positive than yours was.

Objectivity (and just as importantly, perceived objectivity) is a big deal to me, and based on a personal friendship (*), I'm a bit shellshocked by this post, and am not quite sure how to handle it.

(*) Refer to the last phrase in the Dining Guide FAQ: "I make an extra effort to be unbiased with these establishments." Please consider this an extra effort to be unbiased - nothing more, nothing less.]

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Don, I wouldn't criticize District Kitchen as harshly as csjohns7 did, but I do agree with him to some extent. MrP and I went a week or so after they opened. He was totally unimpressed; I thought that almost everything was underseasoned (not necessarily undersalted), and perhaps a bit more... not precious... refined, maybe? than the setting and menu led us to believe. A few weeks later and I can't remember any details about what we ate. We agreed that DK fit perfectly into the category "willing to go back if friends invited us, otherwise not worth the hassle of trying to park in that neighborhood." I (but not MrP) would also put it in the category "would pop in occasionally for a quick bite if I lived nearby and didn't feel like cooking."

ps a total nit of a pick, a little tongue-in-cheek: if you're going to use a fuzzy font on the menu, at least increase the size; nothing makes me feel old and cranky like having to pull out reading glasses.

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As luck would have it, we went to District Kitchen on Saturday night, and had a different experience than porcupine and csjohns7 did. Ulitmately, this is a neighborhood restaurant that I wish was in my neighborhood, and we'll make the trek up to Woodley Park from the Hill more often as a result of District Kitchen's presence there.

For starters, we had glasses of the Argyle Brut and the Horton sparkling viognier, along with the house made ricotta and an order of the club fries. The ricotta was excellent, but we really enjoyed the club fries - no complaints as to seasoning level or temperature served. Once our guests arrived, we ordered a sea snail special, grilled baby beets, and were sent some of the rabbit boudin. The sea snail was interesting - I've never had welk before, and texturally it's quite different from a burgundy snail, for instance. I enjoyed the snail, which was prepared in a more "classic" escargot-style manner, albeit with the welk chopped rather than whole. Given the emphasis of prior posters on seasoning, I should note that this dish, perhaps more than any other throughout the night, was seasoned perfectly. I did not get a chance to try the grilled baby beets, as those disappeared quickly. I did keep 3/4 of the rabbit boudin to myself - these were excellent, and reminded me of a much better version of my grandmother's croquettes (sorry, Nana).

Our main courses were the market steak (NY Strip - at least on Saturday night), the mushroom french dip, a double order of the mussels, and the amish chicken. While I didn't get a taste of anything other than my entree (the steak) and a single mussel, what I had was excellent. My steak was cooked as requested (medium rare), and was seasoned well. The twice baked potato that accompanied it was fantastic as well. The rest of our group seemed to enjoy their entrees as well - particularly the mushroom french dip.

Finally, we ended up splitting a cheese plate and a chocolate dessert, which disappeared before I was able to ascertain what it was, let alone get a bite of it! Service was excellent (didn't see anyone doing shots, FWIW) and the restaurant was full for the entirety of our meal, and Jawad made an excellent wine suggestion, satisfying both the old and new world biased palates among our group. The wine list as a whole is well-chosen - not a large list, but interesting bottlings across a wide range of varietals / price points.

Somewhat off-topic - should parking become an issue for folks (this is a City, after all) - I should point out that the Woodley Park metro is about 500 feet from the restaurant (although was closed last weekend) - and we used Uber to get a ride from the Hill to the restaurant - I highly recommend checking that app out.

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I hope my first post didn't come off as any sort of personal attack to anyone associated with DK. I just had a really bad meal.

I posted this mostly because I hope that my experience was a one off anomaly, and others would chime in and say they had a great time at DK and thus make me feel better about going back sooner then later.

I totally understand that this being my first real post and being so negative can perhaps make me come off as having some sort of agenda, but that's not the case at all. I read this forum often and I read it for quite a while before I became a member seven months ago. But just haven't felt the need to contribute really until last night.

I am pretty content when I go out to eat a majority of the time. If I go to Cashions or Palena and have a great meal I think that's the norm and don't feel the need to post about it. (No offense to people that do this, those comments are helpful). If I go to a place I normally like and a few things are off I usually don't think it's a big deal, no one is perfect.

I guess because I had such high hopes for DK, and like I said before I had a lot of really good food this weekend and ending it on such a low note was a bummer.

I really do hope my meal last night was just a bad night for the kitchen and I can go back in a few weeks and the place knocks my socks off. I'll be sure to visit often since it's a few short blocks from my apartment and it's striving to be the type of place I like spending my money at (good food in an unpretentious atmosphere)

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I totally understand that this being my first real post and being so negative can perhaps make me come off as having some sort of agenda, but that's not the case at all. I read this forum often and I read it for quite a while before I became a member seven months ago. But just haven't felt the need to contribute really until last night.

(*) Also watched part of Animal House last night ("super double-secret probation")

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Via text messaging and a phone call, I gave a pretty enthusiastic recommendation of District Kitchen to another one of our members who dined here this evening, and I'll be very curious to hear his take on the restaurant.

Guilty as charged. I was out with friends looking for a late table on Sunday between Dupont and Cleveland Park - hard to find places open and taking a table at nearly 9p on a Sunday.

We had all eaten something late afternoon and were looking for snacks, not a full meal, so the small plate approach was well appreciated. We liked the look of the place, and the service was friendly, though perhaps a bit too intrusive. Chalk it up to green servers and nothing else to do since there were only a few other tables occupied.

We got:

  • Deviled country ham. This was good, and we finished this off, but I didn't get that smoky, aged, salty taste I expect with a country ham. Toast on the side was dry. Pretty big portion for $5.
  • House jerky. It was a beef jerky, and pretty aggressively spiced. We all liked this a lot, but because of the spicing it *didn't* work with the hash as Don suggests above.
  • Shirred organic egg, potato-forest mushroom hash. Delicious, but where were the potatoes? We convinced one non-mushroom lover at the table to share this, and we would trade potatoes for their mushrooms, but I didn't see any potatoes. Delicious with the egg stirred into the hash, though.
  • Seasonal soup, which was vegetable andouille. This was described as a gumbo-like, but it was really just vegetable soup with andouille. Tasty, but not what we expected.
  • Club fries. OK, maybe just biased by the duck fat fries I had earlier in the day, or maybe I waited too long to eat one, but these were just ok. Could have been crispier IMHO, though the seasoning was fine. Might have been crispier when they came to the table. I will point out that my dining companions inhaled them.

It's a fine neighborhood joint, and I'm sure I'll return pretty soon.

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Just got back from my first visit to District Kitchen, and left very disappointed.

I live a few blocks away and was very excited for a new place to open up nearby that wasn't a tourist trap like the rest of Woodley Park. I go to Cashions 3-5 times a month, and while I love it and almost never leave disappointed I was hoping for a new place to add to the mix.

The space itself is great, a 10/10. I loved everything about it. However things went south once we sat down.

We stopped by tonight (Sunday) around 8:00pm. There was only one other solo dinner at the bar besides us so service was good. (Except for when the bartender and a few waiters were taking shots together. If the food was good I wouldn't mind this, but it was what it was).

Since this was our first visit I wanted to try a variety of things so I went with small plates.

The Cinnciatti chili style lamb fusilli was the highlight of the meal. It was a little under seasoned but was good overall and the Ciny chili taste came through very well.

After that things got very disappointing.

I also ordered the Bouchot Mussels and Crispy Rabbit Boudin. The bartender said that three plates would probably be to much for me and said he would put in the Mussel order after I ate my first two dishes if I still wanted it. Normally I appreciate advice like this, but while the fusilli is a pretty good size for a small plate it's nothing overwhelming and I waited close to 20 minutes after I finished it for the mussels to arrive.

The Crispy Rabbit Boudin was absolutely tasteless and very under seasoned. You could have told me it was lamb or chicken and I would have believed you, since there was nothing crispy in them and no rabbit taste at all.

Once I finally got the Bouchot Mussels the disappointment continued. The Curry was overwhelming (and I like curry) and the club fries that came on the side were under seasoned and under cooked.

My fiancee (a vegetarian) had the Kennet Square Mushroom "french dip". A total let down. Basically two slabs of half decent french bread with some sautéed mushrooms mixed in with white bean puree and a mushroom broth on the side for the "dip". (For $18 bucks!!) Again, totally under seasoned. This also came with the club fries, which were also tasteless only this time them came out so hot it burned her mouth after the first bite. This dish would be more at place for $8 at Corner Bakery.

I ate out a lot this weekend. Cashions, New Heights, Mala Tang and Trummer's on Main for Brunch. I had nothing but good things to say about all of those meals. This on the other had was a huge disappointment from a place I've been excited about since I first heard about it months ago.

Maybe because it was Sunday night and the B team was working. But overall a very poor showing.

Since it's so close and since I like to eat out I'll be back at some point. But I hope things have dramatically improved by then. The space is awesome and the location, between the Woodley and AdMo locals mixed in with a ton of hotel traffic should keep this place going for a while.

I just hope they step up their game.

csjohns7, I am sorry to hear that you did not enjoy your meal at District Kitchen. Jawad, my chef de cuisine (working grill), my sous chef (working sautee'), and I (expediting) have been at the restaurant for every minute of every service since we have been open. We have been in this business for a long time and we strive to make everyone who comes through the doors happy. Had we known that you were unhappy with your food we would have taken every measure to rectify the situation. We are a young restaurant (about a month old), and we are interested in and have solicited feedback, both good and bad. The majority has been good, but when something has been wrong and it was brought to our attention, we have done everything we could to ensure that our guests left with a good experience. I do hope you'll give us another chance, and let us know what you think (I'll be in the kitchen, Jawad will be the guy in the jacket).

Thanks,

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House jerky. It was a beef jerky, and pretty aggressively spiced. We all liked this a lot, but because of the spicing it *didn't* work with the hash as Don suggests above.

Shirred organic egg, potato-forest mushroom hash. Delicious, but where were the potatoes? We convinced one non-mushroom lover at the table to share this, and we would trade potatoes for their mushrooms, but I didn't see any potatoes. Delicious with the egg stirred into the hash, though.

Hmm, my hash was somewhat neutral in salting, and I thought using the jerky like an Indian Pickle as a condiment to a Palak Paneer really enlivened it (and that's more of the visual I was gunning for; now that I see it three weeks later, my "bread" analogy doesn't resonate with me).

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Hmm, my hash was somewhat neutral in salting, and I thought using the jerky like an Indian Pickle as a condiment to a Palak Paneer really enlivened it (and that's more of the visual I was gunning for; now that I see it three weeks later, my "bread" analogy doesn't resonate with me).

They very likely changed the jerky - our waiter seemed to imply that it rotates. The spices used in the jerky just didn't meld well with the well- (but not over-) salted hash, and they were both excellent, just not together.

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I loved the Amish chicken a la king -- white and dark meat chicken cooked in a cream sauce with carrots and beech mushrooms served over grilled breads. A wonderful comfort dish for a blustery night. Although it's something I rarely have, I just love toast that become soggy with gravy -- it reminds me of leftover pot roast, which my mother would serve on toast with gravy and I'd just skip the pot roast part. I also loved the deviled ham, which also brought back happy childhood memories (though this was better than the stuff that Mason Reese peddled). The place was really hopping last night.

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I loved the Amish chicken a la king -- white and dark meat chicken cooked in a cream sauce with carrots and beech mushrooms served over grilled breads. A wonderful comfort dish for a blustery night. Although it's something I rarely have, I just love toast that become soggy with gravy -- it reminds me of leftover pot roast, which my mother would serve on toast with gravy and I'd just skip the pot roast part.

I had this last night and thought it was great as well. My one nit is that I wished it had a bit more of the sauce (gravy) as it was excellent. We also had the pickled trout and mushroom soup to start and both were tasty. The thumbs up goes to the soup which was thickened with potato and had no cream. My wife had the whole roasted fish (porgy) which she deemed delicious.

Overall an excellent meal and I am looking forward to returning. I could see this as a good place for a HH with the snacks and small plates that are on the menu.

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It is so hard to know what to say, on this site, about a mediocre experience - especially about a place that I want to succeed.

I looked at my second comment above, and was very surprised to see my mention of the fact that the mushroom sandwich, which was great, was $13. Now it is $17, and was done with less care. This was emblematic of our most recent experience. I don't know the economics of the business, and so don't know whether the prices are "too high" in some objective sense, but it feels that way. And I don't know whether, maybe, last night was just an off night for the cooking in general. So I don't know, maybe I should not have said anything here, but in light of my earlier raves I felt that it was more honest to say something.

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@sheldman, I had an awful experience at District Kitchen about which I was not going to write. However, I think you may have stumbled on something that is of note... most of the restaurants (sans New Heights, Open City, Afghan Grill and Eddie's Cafe) in Woodley Park are mediocre/bad and (mostly) expensive or overpriced. The restaurants do not rely on locals for support as the mega-hotels provide a constant crop of unsuspecting guests. I had hoped District Kitchen would be more like New Heights in quality than the others but alas I think it's a tourist trap.

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