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DaveO

Epic Smokehouse, American With An Emphasis On Smoked Meats in Pentagon City

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I stopped off at Epic Smokehouse in Pentagon City the other day after a late meeting.  No thread here yet.  Its about 1 1/2 years old.   The restaurant is long and narrow with a full big window line.  Its not the most attractive walk around neighborhood --across from a big blank wall at Costco...but Oh my there are a lot of new residential high rises in the neighborhood.  The long window line looks into a  handsome sleek restaurant.

I was only looking for a quick meal; went to the bar and ordered off the bar menu, choosing an Epic Burger and an IPA.  One part of this meal was simply heavenly;   The fries were magnificent;  evidently doubly fried in a mixture that includes sage, rosemary, thyme and one other herb.  Truly delightful with a memorable taste.  Burger was okay...not great not bad.

But those fries-->   Just delightful.  I'll go back for more.

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I both so enjoyed and was intrigued by Epic Smokehouse I arranged to eat there a 2nd time.  Unfortunately my friend cancelled on my last minute and I ended up a single at the bar again.  Too bad, I would have enjoyed sharing and tasting more dishes.  It was also one of the hottest evenings to date, and the overall heat had me shy away from the weight and heaviness of meats in the midst of a hot midweek.

Regardless, a winner again.  Epic is a sleek restaurant/smokehouse/BBQ restaurant bar with a handsome interior look and an impressive array of bourbons.  Its located in such a strange location not thought of as a focus for better dining, being on South Fern Street in Pentagon City and facing the broad ugly outer walls of Costco's tire shop.  Not a scenic view....nor one conducive to strolling or people watching.  Regardless there has been and continue to be construction of high rise residential in that strip...so the residential population is growing.   Its also placed between the shopping, offices and hotels in Pentagon City and Crystal City.  There is a population there that it can attract as one of the better dining choices in that area.

Epic is operated by ex Palm employees.  The emphasis is on meat and smokehouse meats along with a serious upscale bar, focusing on a lot of bourbon choices among other things.  While going there I discovered that my date couldn't make it, so came in realizing I'd be a solo at the bar.  There was a reasonable local setting there.  Its obvious the place has attracted some level of local following.  In fact one of the locals guided my menu choices.  After a little chatting he had the bartender pour me an "apple pie" a combination of moonshine and apple cider.   Hey that was good.  Moonshine aficionado's have always told me it could be so smooth.  But my past experiences were anything but.   This drink was smooth, had a bite,and did have a strong enough flavor of apple that "apple pie" is an apt description. It was smooth and nice and I could easily do more.

The local highly recommended their version of mac and cheese.  I never order that anywhere.   But I took him up on his suggestion.  It comes in a small skillet, filed to the brim, heavily cheesed over but is flavored with a hearty amount of pancetta.  The pancetta added terrific flavoring.  Oh yeah I went with the bacon flavored bourbon old fashioned.  Very smooth and nice and I think only $7 at happy hour prices.

It being so hot and heavy outside I opted for the beer belly chicken.  It was quite moist and effectively flavored.  A tasty dish.  On my right two bar patrons order the beef brisket and pork.  Both were quite happy with their dishes.  Everything was quite aromatic and enhanced the experience.

I think Epic is a nice meat/smokehouse addition to Arlington, albeit in a location one wouldn't think of for any dining let alone somewhat better dining opportunities.

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I think Epic is a nice meat/smokehouse addition to Arlington, albeit in a location one wouldn't think of for any dining let alone somewhat better dining opportunities.

I went to Epic Smokehouse shortly after they opened with someone who knew the owners. Despite what I thought was a really comfortable (rustic) atmosphere, even the recommended dishes (and I don't remember what they were - although I'm thinking chili and brisket were among them) just didn't wow me. Given that it has been over a year, it's hardly fair for me to say this with any conviction, and I'd be glad to give Epic another try.

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Don:  I like the look and feel of the place.  I haven't gone through the menu in depth and in the first visit I was on my own, and in the 2nd visit my friend punked out on me.  Sooo a very limited effort at the menu.

The fries...the fries...the fries.  On the first visit I loved the herbal flavor.  On the 2nd visit, while sitting at the bar, the person next to me ordered them....the herbal aroma knocked me over.  I'd keep going back for the fries while I tried other dishes...and I'm going to add those herbs to my various potato dishes.  that is a winner in my book.  ;)

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I like this place.  I've continued to sporadically visit over the years.  Nobody else here seems to visit or simply doesn't like it and doesn't want to rip it to shreds.  I don't know.  The owners came out of the Palm, and I always enjoyed the Palm, its food and style.

Last weekend a friend and I had brunch.  We both thought it quite good, brunch being the meal that evidently doesn't require great chef work...but the dishes were quite tasty.  We shared a waffle dish and salmon with poached eggs over asparagus.  Both were well prepared.  A couple of sides, a bunch of drinks, nice quality coffee, its comfortable.  

Lastly considering the high turnover rate of restaurants this place has now survived 6.5 years.  That at least, in a highly competitive combustible market place is a feather in their caps.

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1 hour ago, DaveO said:

Nobody else here seems to visit or simply doesn't like it and doesn't want to rip it to shreds. 

Lastly considering the high turnover rate of restaurants this place has now survived 6.5 years. 

That pretty much describes where I am with Epic - I went six years ago, found it inoffensive but unmemorable, and just haven't been back.

---

Oh. Now I look and see that I said the same thing five years ago. 🤕

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