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Boundary Road, 5th and H Street NE - GM Mary Kate Wrzesniewski Has Departed - Closed


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Opening day drink menu
Opening day menu

Their imminent opening on H Street intrigues me, and to tell you the truth I'm not sure what to expect. The charcuterie and cheese has pedigree, the team looks pretty solid, and the menu looks fun as well.

The "featured cocktails" exude confidence on paper; I've had the Lion's Tail at the Passenger and at home many times, and it's not an easy recipe to execute. Ditto, to a lesser degree, for the Seelbach. And the Five and Dime (ROOT, maple syrup, egg white, and Black IPA) is only locally eclipsed in opening menu audaciousness by SOVA/Derek Browns' placement of the coffee cocktail (cognac, port, a whole egg, and simple syrup, as well as a particularly strong shaker such as Jamie MacBain).

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(A cell phone conversation sure to play out in the near future):

"Hey we're at the bar, where are you?"

"At the bar. Like, right near the door."

"Dude, you're not. I'm right near the door, I don't see you."

"What do you mean? I'm RIGHT here. Waving my arm in the air now."

"WTF? You're at Boundary Road, right? That's what we said earlier."

"Yeah, Boundary Road. I got off the G8, like, 10 minutes ago"

"G8? That doesn't go anywhere near H St!"

"H St?! We're at the place in Bloomingdale. Boundary Road."

"No! That's Boundary STONE! You're in the wrong f*ckin' bar!"

Aaaaaaaannddd ... scene.

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(A text messaging session sure to play out in the near future):

"where r u?"

"At bar. Near door."

"Here. Can't c u :-("

"?? I'm here waving my arms??"

"WTF? Ur at Central, right?"

"Yes Central. I got off metro 10 min ago"

"Metro? Y take dat 2 H St?"

"H St?! Its on Penn and 11th. Central"

"omfg that's Central Michel Richard! smh"

Aaaaaand . . . lol.

Edited by DaRiv18
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Thank you, Prince of Petworth. (For it to have depth, it needs to be snap-shotted on a regular basis.)

Huh? Whah? Whazzee talking about? Who is Dan Rackwell? Huh?

This is becoming an entertaining thread.

PS My menu consulting rates have increased to $3,000 an hour.

(On the other hand, the "Cheap Pilsner" descriptor for National Bohemian is better than anything I could have come up with and is genuinely funny in a good way.)

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Well, I had a working draft going that concluded that Boundary Road was a good neighborhood restaurant with potential, but unlikely to be a destination restaurant. Now that POTUS and the First Lady are dining there as I type, I guess I have to start my review over with a different premise.

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Well let's start out by saying that I really want them to do well, and I announce this to concede bias. Of course I want all the venues I visit regularly to do well, but this is now a neighborhood stop for me where I hope to connect with other neighbors. So there's that.

The buildout for this place is much more extensive than what you find elsewhere on H Street, with the possible exception of Smith Commons. Upon entering, the first third of the floor are tables, probably seating about 24. The middle third of the rowhouse is devoted to a ten-seater bar, and a community table (first-come first-serve) that seats another ten. The final third is another stretch of tables that seats about 26. Even pre-Obama, our party of four walking in was rebuffed on a 7:00pm Tuesday, so you should probably make a reservation.

The kitchen is the main strength here, and I feel it hasn't even hit its stride yet. The majority of my visits have been late night, where the after hours (11:30 to 2) menu includes a ragu (once bison, another time rabbit) over polenta, topped with a sunny-side fried egg. I like the charcuterie, and despite the gripes on Yelp about the bread, it is delicious (and made by some outside vendor). I have no cause to recommend any dish over another, the kitchen program seems quite strong.

I will single out the Foie Gras Torchon PB & J - a fancy open-faced "sandwich" with a good amount of foie gras, homemade peanut butter, and a grape brandy jelly coating. Now I'm haven't had so much foie gras that I can eat it casually, so this particular riff probably went over my head a bit. The jelly operated much as an aspic, and yet it was a bit too distractingly sweet for me. Still, I dug the funky take on a classic, even if I didn't totally get the concept -- H Street is supposed to be a bit off-beat and so I felt this dish best fit the vibe of the neighborhood.

The GM and much of the bar staff comes from the Reef and also Ragtime, and I've gravitated to the beer selections mostly. Friendly people, I like them.

I'm sure Seitsema will give a very accurate review of the place, as will other Rockwellians who can give a even-handed account of the food and drink here. I do hope that the Presidential visit will allow Brad more license to implement a distinctive program instead of possibly regressing to the mean. It's a fun place to go and I an encouraged by the direction in which they are growing.

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Minestrone, Maryland crab soup, flank steak and brick chicken served in a very inviting space among a diverse crowd. Food is solid, like well-executed home cooking. Ample portions. Even with an almost full house, quiet conversation was easy. I don't know how much the Obama visit increased enthusiasm for this place, or whether people just appreciate a competent kitchen on H street, but given the Monday evening crowd I can't imagine what it's like on a Saturday night. Definitely a winner. We are eager to try some of the more innovative items on the menu, and to experience a summer menus when they are in place.

Make a reservation if you want to go!

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Minestrone, Maryland crab soup, flank steak and brick chicken served in a very inviting space among a diverse crowd. Food is solid, like well-executed home cooking. Ample portions. Even with an almost full house, quiet conversation was easy. I don't know how much the Obama visit increased enthusiasm for this place, or whether people just appreciate a competent kitchen on H street, but given the Monday evening crowd I can't imagine what it's like on a Saturday night. Definitely a winner. We are eager to try some of the more innovative items on the menu, and to experience a summer menus when they are in place.

Make a reservation if you want to go!

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My husband and I had a good but “could have been better” meal here last night. It seemed like there were some little things that needed tweaking. Overall, it was positive and enjoyable experience, and I’m looking forward to going back.

I liked the feeling of the space a lot more than I thought I would from the photos and descriptions I had seen. The atmosphere was energetic but not deafeningly loud. I loved the bedspring chandelier.

We were seated right near the entrance, and when I commented to my husband that I was glad to have the extra light from outside to read the menu (it hadn’t gotten dark yet), the hostess thought she heard me say there was too much light and went to pull a curtain across to block it. I assured her that the light was fine. The service at all levels was just that alert all the way through the meal and on a very busy Saturday night.

Sitting where we were, we witnessed a steady stream of people arriving through our time there. They were busy pretty much non-stop at the hostess station. And it was not a homogeneous crowd; rather, an interesting mix of people, including patrons our age and older.

We started with three meats for $15: speck, bresaola, and pate de campagne. The meats were good quality but the portioning was imbalanced. There were about six slices combined of the shaved meats (I didn’t make an exact count) and a hearty slab of pate but only two pieces of (nicely) grilled bread. There were maybe 4 cornichons on the plate but probably less than a measuring teaspoon of country Dijon mustard. I know they don’t want to have to throw bread away if people don’t eat it--and our server happily got us more bread at no charge--but two pieces was too skimpy to bring with the original order. We thought the bread was good and plowed through the extra that came out. While we liked the pate, there was much more of that than the other meats, and we couldn’t eat it all.

I’m partial to endive salad in its various forms so tried their version: endives and iceberg with a creamy Stilton dressing, apples, and toasted walnuts ($7). This fell into the “liked but didn’t love” category. The dressing seemed watered down and I couldn’t distinguish Stilton in it. That’s kind of a hard flavor to miss, so there must not have been much in there. My husband started with the ramps and mushrooms ($10--not on the online menu) and devoured everything on the plate. I believe that was his favorite part of the meal. I enjoyed my small taste but that was all I got. This also came atop grilled bread.

For his main course he got the Queso Fresco Arepas ($16). The online menu says these come with a white bean stew, but I’m not sure if that’s what came with them or not. He liked these but thought they were a little dry and also commented they had uneven amounts of filling in them.

I ordered the hanger steak ($22)*, which came with kale and duck fat potatoes. The pre-sliced steak was a bit too chewy though tasty enough and cooked as requested. Sometimes I like potatoes cooked in duck fat and other times I find they have an unpleasantly strong flavor to me. The latter was the case last night, and they were also a little too dry. I left quite a few potatoes on my plate. On the other hand, the man dining at the next table ordered the same thing I did and was raving to his dining companion about the duck fat potatoes, so clearly it was just me.

I had a Flying Dog Garde Dog ($5.45) to drink and lots of water, and my husband stuck with water. We had our own bottle on the table, a repurposed Jack Daniels bottle, that the server kept refilled constantly. I noticed that the next table over had a different-shaped recycled bottle. That was a creative cool little touch. I really like a restaurant where they keep my water refilled. Bonus points for that.

Overall, service and atmosphere earned a somewhat higher grade than the food, but I expect they’ll hit their stride consistently with the food in time. Most of the things that were off should be pretty easily remedied. They’ve only been open two months and surely they’re still working things out, especially if they’ve had a bump in expected levels of patronage due to their recent VIP experience.

*ETA that I think the paper menu said this was bison hanger steak, but I'm not 100% sure. The description on the actual menu was different than that online and I've gotten too reliant on online menus to refresh information without that aid.

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4 months into operations, and what a ride so far. A surprise visit from the POTUS and FLOTUS, to a favorable First Bite by Seitsema, followed by a harsh but justifiable 1.5 star review by Seitsema.

And no one seems to agree on anything about the restaurant. I personally think the kitchen is a strength there, whereas Tom and Fritz favor the bar. Pat up-thread didn't care for the endive salad, but Tom names that as his recommended starter. My friend raved about the place after our first dinner there (he's a tough critic, and I was actually surprised by his enthusiasm), but two weeks later he was much more muted about his second dining experience there. I don't doubt that Tom's meal was overly salty -- I've heard that once before -- but I am surprised that every meal he had was salty. That does not mirror my or my neighbors' typical experience.

I guess I stick to my earlier assessment that it is a good neighborhood restaurant with potential, and it's not trying to be something really elevated. I've overheard tables grousing about how the wine isn't exactly 74 degrees or whatever, and see the buzz when senators and talking heads show up. Boundary Road isn't really about that scene. I think it's more about the Mennonite veggies that they source, or the tall pork rancher in the white cowboy hat who saddles up to the bar every time he makes a delivery. Seitsema is right that the prices there are lower than other bistros in the city. The menu always changes, and I like meeting my neighbors there. I think they do need to work on consistency a bit more, but I also think patrons who are looking for excitement or extreme refinement might do better to look elsewhere.

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Went to Boundary Road for brunch this weekend and I have to agree with the post above (well, 2 posts above). Brunch isn't as extensive as their dinner menu but I liked their clean and simple approach to food and the freshness of their ingredients. I liked the decor and the easy-going atmosphere. The wait staff was friendly and down-to-earth. I agree with above in that the restaurant isn't overreaching to be something that it isn't. It's a nice neighborhood place where you'll be able to find a reliable meal and a refreshing drink.

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Have enjoyed a parade of offal here recently. The veal sweetbreads is a mainstay on the apps menu. On Tuesday I enjoyed crispy lamb brains over a salad with tri-colored carrots. But last night's anticuchos were really really good. I had never had beef heart before, this was marinated in vinegar and it was grilled rare and just gorgeous. Eco-Friendly and I have great timing, I usually arrive late night just as they are hauling a giant ham or whole pig into the kitchen.

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Not trying to monopolize this thread, but not sure how Smith Commons beats out Boundary Road (or even Granville Moore's) in the Dining Guide. I personally would rank BR over Liberty Tree too, but at least that is a legit discussion about two different serious kitchens with their own styles.

We enjoyed a pan roasted swordfish and local beef hangar steak the other night. My fish was served over root veggies, and her steak was served over a spicy kale. Starters were the quark perogies and a braised oxtail tagliatelle, both spot on. Again, I don't want to have half the posts in this thread, so I'll stop here.

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Not trying to monopolize this thread, but not sure how Smith Commons beats out Boundary Road (or even Granville Moore's) in the Dining Guide. I personally would rank BR over Liberty Tree too, but at least that is a legit discussion about two different serious kitchens with their own styles.

I haven't been back to Smith Commons recently enough to concur credibly, but I've had one enjoyable, one mediocre, and two downright bad meals at Smith Commons in the last year, compared with two very good ( and both more recent) meals at Boundary Road. Sadly we are last-minute types and Boundary Road has been jammed the last few times we've wanted to go back. Thanks for this reminder that we need to give it another go soon.

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Not trying to monopolize this thread, but not sure how Smith Commons beats out Boundary Road (or even Granville Moore's) in the Dining Guide. I personally would rank BR over Liberty Tree too, but at least that is a legit discussion about two different serious kitchens with their own styles.

[Comment noted.]

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I would demur from the Boundary Road enthusiasm, although it's a favorite for a couple of my colleagues. Unusually, this is a place that hits better on the mains than on the apps. The kitchen has creditably responded to Sietsema's review by toning down the salt quotient, but perhaps as a result, the soups have been bland on a couple of recent visits (perhaps because they're skimpy on the main ingredients, like crab?). There's always someone in our group who wants to order the fries: they're always a disappointment, unevenly done and short on taste. And forget about sharing a cheese plate as a starter -- each cheese, priced at $5 per (the same whether you order 3 or 5), provides a taste to two people at most.

That said, at the two full meals I've had, the short ribs and all the fish preparations as entrees have been very good. For a well-rounded and satisfying meal, though, I'd choose Liberty Tree every time.

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We finally snagged two spots at Boundary Road's bar last night, and our meal was a mixed bag. The quark and black pepper pierogies were delicately made and sauced, and a small order was the perfect size for a shared appetizer. My wife's hanger steak with kale was delicious, at least according to her and my two stray bites. The menu describes the kale as "spicy", and it was a solid mild-to-medium. Any more spicy and it would have been a jarring companion to the steak, but on this plate it was spiced just right. My swordfish was, sadly, not so good. I had been wavering between the swordfish and the rockfish and fear I made the wrong choice. It was well cooked, but was spiced with so much fennel pollen that the flavor and aroma was completely overwhelming. A nice olive tapenade at times balanced the fennel pollen but not often enough. Overall, not something I would eat again.

One aspect of Boundary Road my wife remarked upon that I had previously not noticed: in comparison to the other restaurants on H Street, Boundary Road feels spacious. I think its the higher ceilings and the wider building, which most of the other restaurants on H lack.

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Our experience at Boundary Road was also a mixed bag last night (basically two odd interactions bookended what was generally a nice meal). First of all we had reserved a table through OpenTable, and checked in as usual upon arrival and were seated. However, about 10 minutes later, I noticed my cell phone was ringing but decided not to answer it at the time. As I looked later and checked my voicemail, it was Boundary Road reminding me of my reservation and asking if I was still planning to come to the restaurant. We were seated in the back by the kitchen at this time, so I asked our waitress to let the hostess know that we were in fact in the restaurant. I double-checked again as we left to make sure we were checked in (I have a fear of getting any black marks on OpenTable), and she said she had taken care of it, but I'm still not 100% sure.

Our waitress was extremely nice and friendly, and very helpful, although she did disappear from time to time. And while our appetizers came out in a timely manner, we had a much longer wait between apps and entrees and then between entrees and dessert than seemed appropriate. It was a busy night (1st anniversary celebration at the restaurant), but we were there on the early side before it was too packed, so were a bit surprised by the lag.

For appetizers we split Hand-Cut Fries with Sriracha mayo ($5) and Quark and Black Pepper Pierogi ($10). Both were very good, but we especially liked the fries. They were very thin and crispy and the Sriracha mayo was an excellent pairing as it gave a little kick from the hot sauce but was mellowed out by the mayo. The pierogis were also enjoyable and a good serving to split with the small order. The cheese flavor didn't come through as much as the black pepper, but we liked the dish.

For entrees my +1 had the Local Hanger Steak—cauliflower purée, spicy kale, sauce choron ($24) and the item I had is not on the online menu, but was something like Braised Pork Shoulder—butternut squash spätzle, mustard greens ($26). The bite I had of the steak and kale was good, and his plate was clean at the end of the meal, so I think he liked it. My pork, on the other hand, wasn't quite as successful. It was a large cube of meat that had some decent flavor but was extremely dried out. I very much liked the spatzle though, and ate every bite of that. Since I did eat much of what was on the plate, and it wasn't that bad, I wasn't planning on saying anything, but the waitress asked if anything was wrong with the pork when she saw a decent portion left on the plate. So I told her it had been dry but that the rest of the meal was good. A few minutes later the chef came out to our table to personally apologize (he had tasted the pork and agreed it was very overcooked) and ended up taking the dish off our bill. It was very unexpected, but certainly appreciated.

For dessert we chose the Zeppoles ($7), and thought these were fine, but not outstanding. Four puff balls of dough, fried and dusted in cinnamon sugar. They were piping hot out of the fryer and were pleasantly light and airy, but there was just something missing that would've put them over the top.

So our final snafu came as we were paying the bill. I had recently received an OpenTable Dining Cheque ($20 redeemed from honoring 20 OpenTable reservations over the last few months), and since we had made OpenTable reservations at the restaurant, we assumed we could use that to pay part of the bill (I have never had a problem using these cheques before). However, both the waitress and the manager said they did not accept them (despite the cheque literally saying "Redeemable at any Open Table Restaurant in the U.S."). It wasn't a huge deal, so we just paid the bill normally and will use the Dining Cheque at a later time, but it certainly left a bit of a bad taste in our mouths at the end of the meal.

I feel like we had quite a few ups and downs throughout the meal, but overall it was more on the positive side I guess. In the end I don't think I'd go out of my way to eat at Boundary Road, but since we live nearby, we'll probably give it another try some time in the future.

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That said, at the two full meals I've had, the short ribs and all the fish preparations as entrees have been very good. For a well-rounded and satisfying meal, though, I'd choose Liberty Tree every time.

I respect your opinion, we all have them, and this comparative ranking is also reflected in the Dining Guide. It does make for a curious case study though, as I associate Liberty Tree and its chef with Sysco products (multiple posts where a reader could infer this, and their price points all but confirm it), and I associate Boundary Road with Eco-Friendly and local farmers' produce. Not to say that one source is better than another, I'll leave that to someone like deangold to speak more intelligently about that than I ever could, but I just can't recall another donrockwell.com Dining Guide ranking where a venue with what I suspect is a Goliath source is ranked much higher (and is in italics) than a venue with a David source.

Again, I consider Liberty Tree to be a serious kitchen with a legit style, just wanted to point out what I think is a curiosity in the donrockwell.com Dining Guide rankings.

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I'd agree with DaRiv18 on this point, I think that the H Street dining guide has Liberty Tree way too high, and Toki Underground, Boundary Road, Ethiopic and Granville Moore's too low. I have no problem with Liberty Tree, but I will make plans to go to either Toki or Boundary Road, I never go to Liberty Tree except as a fallback plan, or in an instance where we really don't know what else to do for dinner.

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Hi everybody. This is conversation Don and I had over the past couple of days that he suggested I put up in the Boundary Road thread. Great idea, Mr. Rockwell. We discuss some specifics about the restaurant, but I launch into a mission statement that I would like everybody out there to be aware of. Thanks.

Brad

DonRocks

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Sent Yesterday, 11:47 PM

Philosophical question: do you make your own quark? If so, why? You use such trace amounts of it that it doesn't seem worth it. If not, what made you use quark? That's somewhat unusual, at least in a gastropub (which you kind of are). Nice flavor, especially the black pepper. And that California Session beer kicks ass if you like lemon. Your steak tartare is better than Le Diplomate's, btw. If it isn't hand-chopped, you're doing a pretty damned good job of disguising it. It was a little cold, so it's obviously not made to order, but as long as it's made that day, that's all I care about (and if it's not, don't tell me because I want to order it again, and I only order that stuff spanking fresh).

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Sent Today, 02:11 PM

Thanks for the feedback. I really appreciate it.

Here's the pierogi story:

My wife's family are Polish / Lithuanian folks from mining country Pennsylvania. Pierogi are staples during holidays, and the first I ever had were my mother in law's. Her's have a thicker dough than ours, and she makes two types, one with potato and the other cheese. She uses a fresh farmer's style cheese similar to queso fresco, and serves them with onions fried in butter and sour cream. So why quark? I combined her two varieties to get the best of both worlds; yukon gold potato with quark folded in. The acidity of the cheese balances the richness of the dough and the butter we fry them in. Ditto on the black pepper; the dish needs the punch. Further, all the ingredients are staples in eastern european cooking, a methodology I use to construct dishes at the restaurant. Arugula mirrors foraged greens from the region.

At first we bought quark, then made it, then bought it again. Long story short, I try to do as much as we can here, but the quark we were making was inconsistent and not acidic enough. I'm researching procuring proper cultures, but until we are matching the final product of the brand I buy, we're going to hold off serving it.

Steak Tartare- I'm glad you dug it, and don't worry about us ruining it for you. It is freshly hand chopped per shift, and necessarily mixed to order. The acidity in the dressing would cook the meat if we made it beforehand. The idea with that dish was to incorporate different textures (thank you Michel Richard) while seasoning the meat properly. The salad guy literally whips the meat with the dressing to achieve the proper consistency.

Gastopub. Hmmm. I agree that we kind of are. Boundary Road is the culmination of the best aspects of places I've worked or spent serious time in. Those places were institutions in their neighborhoods, i.e. Uncle George's in Bel Air, The Blue Parrot in Gettysburg, Ragtime in Arlington, Cashion's here. I truly love restaurants and the communities they create between the staff, the neighbors, the tourists, the vibe. The bar figures so strongly into Boundary Road's identity because it is the base for that particular vibe I wanted to foster. The warm buzz of conversation enlivened by good food and booze. That's why we're open 7 days, serve lunch, and serve late night food until 1 every night. To be a neighborhood place that different people love for different reasons. Not to grab as much money as possible, but to be the organic neighborhood nexus that all of those other places were.

Then there's our approach to food. Simple dishes that make sense and are impeccably sourced. Booze you're not going to see everywhere and is affordable and delicious.

Kind of is the perfect descriptor for our place, and precisely what I wanted. I love things that don't fit neatly into convenient categories, things that are unique, but not chaotic (a formula for which I'm still figuring out).

I hope this missive provides a window into what exactly it is we do at Boundary Road. I feel we haven't been particularly great at communicating it, precisely because our mission is tied to our evolution. You don't open as a neighborhood institution; you gotta earn that shit.

Thanks for reaching out. I'm always available to discuss Boundary Road or restaurants in general, if you're interested.

Brad

Brad Walker

Chef / Owner

Boundary Road

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I love this exchange. I live a couple blocks from Boundary Rd, and it has most assuredly earned its place as my neighborhood go-to. I would bring special attention to this part:


I hope this missive provides a window into what exactly it is we do at Boundary Road. I feel we haven't been particularly great at communicating it, precisely because our mission is tied to our evolution. You don't open as a neighborhood institution; you gotta earn that shit.

I really like that there hasn't been some heavy-handed PR blitz telling us all how to enjoy the "concept" of your restaurant. Letting the scene evolve on its own is what has endeared BR to me. It reminds me so much of the feel at my old neighborhood haunt in NYC, The Redhead. That place took "evolution" to a whole new level, starting with just drinks and popcorn, moving through weekly supper club-type gatherings, and finally settling into its final restaurant form. The neighborhood didn't need to be told what the mission was, since we had been involved in creating it all along.

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I see Boundary Road has earned italics in the Dining Guide, joining the Atlas Room, Toki Underground, and Liberty Tree for the H Street neighborhood. I agree with its inclusion, and just wanted to memorialize this action in its thread.

Also, wanted to give the Tagliatelle appetizer a shout-out. We pretty much order this every time now. Sometimes it is a octopus confit, sometimes braised oxtail, sometimes something else, but it always rocks.

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I see Boundary Road has earned italics in the Dining Guide, joining the Atlas Room, Toki Underground, and Liberty Tree for the H Street neighborhood. I agree with its inclusion, and just wanted to memorialize this action in its thread.

Raised it on February 25th and it was this post of yours that got me over there.

(I really *do* listen to people here, and act on their posts quite often.) :)

I went again last week, and the rating is justified. Completely by chance, I ran into Brad Walker on Monday night at another restaurant. He somehow figured out who I was even though we've never seen each other before.

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Because I am a ninja.

And I am loud.

Brad, I just checked and hadn't noticed that Boundary Road was missing from DCDiningGuide.com. I apologize that I hadn't noticed until now. Boundary Road was supposed to be in the guide and once was, but the listing seems to have disappeared when I updated the formatting (it was still listed in the indexes). I have restored it on the H Street NE/Atlas District page.

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We braved the thunderstorm Friday (and the X2) bus for dinner and were so happy we did. Normally I wouldn't want pierogis on a hot day, but I was damp from the rain and the restaurant was chilly. A half order is a generous portion of very light and tender pasta with a silky filling, and just enough black pepper and onion to create layers of flavor, I will definitely crave these when the weather cools. I chose the sweetbread appetizer as my main. So many restaurants mistreat sweetbreads...over breading, or over-cooking, or doing something to kill the texture. These were perfect, with a slight crisp from grilling, I think. They were served with fingerling potatoes and greens. Yummy.

My partner had a lovely argula salad with berries (note to people lamenting a dearth of good salads...this was a good salad!) and blue cheese. For her main she had the hangar steak on cauliflower puree. OMG, that puree was divine. Give me a serving of that with bread and leave me alone in bliss!

Though Open Table showed no openings, the place was never more than half full. I am sure the weather kept a lot of people off the roads resulting in cancellations and no-shows. We were able to linger without feeling that we were "camping" since no one was waiting for a table. Since this place is usualy slammed on a Friday, we enjoyed the relaxed pace.

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We finally tried Boundary Road on Friday night - we weren't starving, so we only ordered entrees, but they were both excellent. I had the flank steak with spicy kale and cauliflower purée. The steak was very nicely cooked and it and the cauliflower purée were very flavorful. The kale wasn't very spicy, but it was tasty. Jason ordered the brick chicken, and it was amazing. Tender meat, crispy skin, and full of flavor. The mashed potatoes and summer veg that accompanied the chicken were also really good. I would go back just for that dish.

We tried a few Brewers Art beers, none f which we were super impressed with, but service was helpful and pleasant. I also very much liked the space. We will definitely be back.

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An excerpt from George Pelecanos' FB page:

"Lucas swung onto his saddle, put his feet in the clips, and took 14th all the way downtown, then cut over into Northeast via K Street, and over to the 400 block of H, where he locked his bike to a post and entered Boundary Road, a restaurant on the edge of the thriving Atlas District. Unlike the riot corridors of U and 7th Streets, which had benefited more quickly from the construction of the Metro and its subway stations, H Street had taken forty years to be reborn after the '68 fires. Lit-up business establishments and the sounds of conversation and laughter on the street said that it was flourishing now.

Boundary Road was an airy two-story space: brick walls, a distinctive chandelier, low-key atmosphere. Lucas had a seat at the bar. The night manager, Dan, frequently played reggae and dub through the house system, an added attraction for Lucas. Plus, he could come as he was"”tonight, black mountain-bike shorts and a plain white T-shirt"”and not feel out of place. He ordered a Stella from the bartender, a friend named Amanda Brand, who had called and asked to see him. He had silent-bounced for Amanda in other establishments, so they had a history. She also knew of his side work and what he could do.

***

He listened to the Linton Kwesi Johnson coming through the system and drank from the neck of his cold beer. At the end of the full bar he noticed a nice-looking woman sitting alone. Their eyes met and hers did not cut away. It was he who blinked and lowered his gaze. He was typically a man of confidence, but her bold nature disturbed him. The next time he looked back at her she was getting up off her stool. He watched her walk toward him, heading for the restroom. She wore black jeans, a black tank top, and brown motorcycle boots with a T-strap and buckle. Her chestnut hair was shoulder length with cognac highlights. She had a strong, prominent nose and as she passed he saw her bright blue eyes, brilliant even in the low light of the room. She was tall, curvy, and full-breasted, built like a sixties movie star imported from Sweden or Italy. As she passed he studied her shoulders, her arms, and her back, and Lucas's mouth went dry. He had a long pull off his beer.

***

"I like to live a full life. Do you know her name?"

"Grey Goose martini, rocks, three olives."

"Maybe I should buy her one."

"That's original."

"I never said I was clever. Just determined."

"Sure you wanna spring for the high shelf?"

"Please ask her if she'd like a drink, on me."

Amanda drifted. Lucas watched her make the pitch to the woman, and shortly thereafter the woman gathered her phone and shoulder bag. She left money and something else on the bar before she got up. Her eyes briefly found his as she passed by, and her lovely mouth turned up in a hint of a smile. And then she was gone.

Amanda returned. "She politely declined your offer."

Lucas spread his hands. "See? I don't always win."

"But the thing is, you pretty much do." Amanda placed a beverage napkin on the bar in front of Lucas. "She left her digits for you, handsome."

He looked at the name and phone number, folded the napkin, and stuffed it into a pocket of his shorts. "Sometimes a fella just gets lucky."

"What is it with you?"

"I don't know." And this was true. He was always somewhat surprised when a woman was interested in him. It wasn't like he was trying.

Lucas stood and reached for his wallet. He left twenty on thirty. If Amanda wasn't going to take a bite of his fee, at least he could treat her right.

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We visited Boundary Road with my in-laws the other night, and had a lovely dinner.  As has always been my experience, the service was pleasant, the drinks fantastic, and the food well-prepared.  Something that hit me this visit though, was the price.  The current menu has only 1 main dish below the $24 mark.  Contrast this with Red Hen, a place that I think has a similar ambience, where not a single dish on the menu is over $23 (and all of the amazing pastas are below $20).

Up-thread, I mentioned BR as being my neighborhood go-to, and it still is...for drinks.  Unfortunately, the price of the food precludes frequent dining there.  This may fit in perfectly with the BR crew's vision of their restaurant, I just thought it was worth discussing.

What are other people's thoughts?

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You're putting several things out there, so I'll provide several random thoughts.

RH is a great value. I am on the record for observing "price creep" for restaurants after the honeymoon opening phase. The extreme example is Fiola. So I would say let's revisit RH prices in another couple months. I will say I am trying my best to avoid acknowledging a "BR vs RH" showdown that I perceive you are constructing. I am a big fan of Red Hen.

Also, I checked other restaurants such as Green Pig Bistro, Beucherts Saloon, and Mintwood Place. Similar concepts. No entree is less than $24 on those menus, unless you count burger/sandwich items.

As far as frequent dining, I am the same but let's acknowledge they provide a higher quality product than other frequent diner spots. I think the value is certainly there.

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I will say I am trying my best to avoid acknowledging a "BR vs RH" showdown that I perceive you are constructing. I am a big fan of Red Hen.

If anyone thinks I want to create a showdown between BR and RH, let me put that to rest immediately.  I am a big fan of both, and hope that they both print money for their owners and employees for many, many years.

BR is 2 blocks from my house, and they are very, very gracious when dealing with people dining with children, so I end up there more frequently than any other place on H or in the greater Capitol Hill area.  My post above was really me just working out in my head where BR fits in in my restaurant world...can it be my "local" if I can't afford to dine there frequently?  I'm also perfectly comfortable admitting that a large part of my problem with BR is that the food is so consistently good that I lack the control to just order a drink and a snack.  Once I'm sitting there, watching what other tables have, I have to go all in.  First world problems, and all that.

Also, I checked other restaurants such as Green Pig Bistro, Beucherts Saloon, and Mintwood Place. Similar concepts. No entree is less than $24 on those menus, unless you count burger/sandwich items.

You should definitely count burger/sandwich items.  I'm not saying BR needs a burger, but I'm just saying I bet BR would have a hell of a burger (or any other sandwich they were to put out there). (I'm only half-joking.)

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...can it be my "local" if I can't afford to dine there frequently?  

That's a great question. Two factors are your relationship with the crew and whether you receive some acknowledgement of being a regular/neighbor, and also your own attitude and comfort when you dine there. Gotta think about this more.

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If anyone thinks I want to create a showdown between BR and RH, let me put that to rest immediately.  I am a big fan of both, and hope that they both print money for their owners and employees for many, many years.

BR is 2 blocks from my house, and they are very, very gracious when dealing with people dining with children, so I end up there more frequently than any other place on H or in the greater Capitol Hill area.  My post above was really me just working out in my head where BR fits in in my restaurant world...can it be my "local" if I can't afford to dine there frequently?  I'm also perfectly comfortable admitting that a large part of my problem with BR is that the food is so consistently good that I lack the control to just order a drink and a snack.  Once I'm sitting there, watching what other tables have, I have to go all in.  First world problems, and all that.

You should definitely count burger/sandwich items.  I'm not saying BR needs a burger, but I'm just saying I bet BR would have a hell of a burger (or any other sandwich they were to put out there). (I'm only half-joking.)

We have a similar affinity for BR.  It's a gorgeous spot, the drinks of all types are great, the service is exactly what you want in your go to neighborhood spot, and the food is underrated and often terrific.  I think all my neighbors feel like they get welcomed like regulars there.  We certainly do.  It's more expensive than you might like, but aren't most places?  Boundary Road doesn't have a ton of competition nearby -- it is the standard bearer for the western end of H Street unless you want to make a great Ethiopian spot your local regular.  If it suits your needs -- and being a convenient spot that's welcoming of your whole family is a huge plus -- it's probably worth the extra few dollars for a more expensive entrée.  When I feel the need to save a few bucks, but still want to eat out, I cut costs by limiting our alcohol bill.  One drink instead of two, beer instead of wine, can substantially reduce your bill without forcing you to go somewhere offering lesser product for a few dollars less.

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Also, I checked other restaurants such as Green Pig Bistro, Beucherts Saloon, and Mintwood Place. Similar concepts. No entree is less than $24 on those menus, unless you count burger/sandwich items.

There are two offerings on Mintwood Place's entree menu that are less than $24 excluding burger/sandwich options: tagliatelle bolognese for $22 and the five grain risotto for $21.

Here's the link for the online menu: http://mintwoodplace.com/main.html

Great points of conversation by the way addressing "local/neighborhood" restaurants.

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That's a great question. Two factors are your relationship with the crew and whether you receive some acknowledgement of being a regular/neighbor, and also your own attitude and comfort when you dine there. Gotta think about this more.

I think all my neighbors feel like they get welcomed like regulars there.  We certainly do.  

Thanks to my other H St. NE neighbors for weighing in.  I absolutely feel like a welcomed neighbor/regular there, which is why I started down this path of conversation to begin with.

I'd also like to add that Brad was kind enough to reach out and engage me in a fascinating conversation about his mission for BR, and the farmers who provide his meat and produce...and I would highlight "conversation." He's certainly committed to his mission, but he is also committed to being a strong part of the neighborhood, and that (among many other reasons) is why I'll be back again and again (credit card bill be damned  ;) ).

I'm also gonna start working on that whole will-power thing, but I'm not hopeful.

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You should definitely count burger/sandwich items.  I'm not saying BR needs a burger, but I'm just saying I bet BR would have a hell of a burger (or any other sandwich they were to put out there). (I'm only half-joking.)

I brought my (14 month old) son for lunch the other day because he absolutely devours the veggie quiche every time we give it to him, and he was going through some sort of 2-day hunger strike.  Short story short: I got maybe a bite myself before he took it down.

But the real point of my posting is to discuss the cheesesteak.  Damn...that is a sandwich.  The meat was perfectly spiced (heavy on the black pepper, which I liked), and the roll had some heft to it...stood up well to the mountain of goodness contained within.  No knock on Taylor Charles, as that's tasty in its own way, but I would need a really compelling reason to walk East to TC for a lunchtime cheesesteak anytime in the future.  The fries that came with were a bit of a low-light...mostly soggy and limp.  I've had the fries many other times without that problem, so I know that was just a "meh" batch.

I wish I were around the neighborhood more for lunch...the young lady at a table across from us had the charcuterie sandwich and that looked to be a beast as well.

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I wish I were around the neighborhood more for lunch...the young lady at a table across from us had the charcuterie sandwich and that looked to be a beast as well.

My most frequent go-to here is usually a meat and cheese plate, but I can personally attest to the charcuterie sandwich being dynamite. Absolutely stuffed with the same cured meats and outstanding cheese. Easily enough for two meals...yet another steal from the top spot on H.

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The boy and I mozied over to Boundary Road after several drinks at my office holiday party. We've enjoyed lunch and late afternoon snacks at Boundary Road before so it was our top choice for a casual dinner within walking distance of the party.

Overall, I was very satisfied with the meal, but like JoshNE above, I was a bit taken aback at the prices of the entrees. I'm not saying that the entrees were overpriced -- I can only speak to the two we ordered which I will go into below -- I just wish there was one or two additional entree options that hovered around around the $18-$20 range.

Since we had been drinking prior to our arrival at Boundary Road, the boy and I stuck to one beer each: a can of Natty Boh for him and a pint of Flying Fish Grand Cru Winter Reserve for me.

To start, we split an order of the Rapini Salad. The rapini -- a good amount -- is served chilled with pickled shallots and bleu cheese (Firefly Mountain Top Bleu). There is no dressing with this dish, which was a good thing, as the rapini was perfectly cooked, drained, and chilled. Both the boy and I loved the pickled shallots as well as the bleu cheese. We've had this dish previously when the cheese was either fresh mozzarella or burrata, which I preferred, but the bleu cheese was good nonetheless. This was a simple dish but very well executed and a good choice for a starter.

When it came to entrees, the boy and I didn't find anything to suit our mood and appetite at first. We contemplated making a meal out of a few appetizers and the charcuterie board but in the end ordered the Bison Flank Steak (medium rare) and the Autumn Farro Risotto. I'm really glad we ordered the bison flank steak. It was cooked just the way I like my steaks and the portion was generous. I would have enjoyed the steak by itself but the accompaniments took the dish to another level. The steak was served on top of a delicious roasted cauliflower puree and with a small side of spicy kale. Also, the steak was topped off with two good sized dollops of lemon bone marrow butter. The puree was enjoyable and paired well with the steak. The butter, while not necessary, added a richer flavor to the steak. The kale wasn't particularly spicy, but still good as it offset the richness of the butter drenched steak and the puree. Since I touched on the price issue above, I will mention that the steak was either $24 or $26, which I thought was fair for what was presented to us. We also liked the farro risotto ($18) though I enjoyed it more than my date. The risotto also included brussels sprouts and butternut squash and served on top some sort of sauce I cannot remember (maybe goat cheese?). While the risotto was enjoyable, I felt the sauce was a little too much and overwhelmed the farro and the vegetables and all I could taste was the sauce. And while the sauce was good, I really would have liked to taste the other elements of the dish. Any disappointment did not stop me from asking the leftover risotto to be packed up for lunch today though.

While our meal was good, it is more likely that we will return for lunch or a light bite rather than sitting down for dinner.

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FYI, a few new cocktails on the menu... Tried the Grandpa's Candy tonight: Laird's Applejack, Cocchi Americano, Root liquer, mezcal, orange bitters. Outstandingly balanced, great notes of smoke and caramel on the finish. The Root liquer is really interesting - a booze based on sassafras root, so a lot of the same flavors, aromas, etc. Nice bitter alcohol front with a root beer sweetness that lingers. Every time I feel like I'm getting good at crafting cocktails, Brendan puts me to shame with a new concoction. I still maintain that this is one of the best places on H St. to snag a handcrafted cocktail.

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Say hi next time ;).  I happened to be there last night for dinner.  Agreed on the cocktail front.  I had the "Gin Revived," essentially a great Corpse Reviver #2 with Green Hat's winter gin.

I've had a bottle of that Root liquer around the house for over a year now.  I fall in and out with it, but ultimately just decided to treat it like an American amaro and drink it accordingly.  I'll be back in to try Grandpa's Candy.  (That sounds really creepy.)

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