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Martin's Tavern, Open in Georgetown since 1933 - The Day after Prohibition Ended


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I popped into Martin's Tavern last Sunday for a late brunch before attacking Georgetown Mall. The bartender was pleasant and quick. She made a first class Bloody Mary including celery stalk and sasoned salt on the rim. Crab stuffed mushrooms were average. The showstopper: Fried Oysters Benedict. WOW. My 2 favorite things on the same plate, eggs and fried oysters with hollandaise. This dish was out of this world. The oysters were the real thing, not nasty frozen things.

English muffin and hash browns completed the dish. It's not crazy to rave about simple food like this. I'm heading back soon.

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Martins Tavern.

The first place ever to serve me a beer, me having driven down from Howard County for a Big Date and my date's boobs so big that no waiter was ever going to card her.

"Are you 18?" the grey-haired guy with glasses and green jacket asked.

"Uhhh, yes."

"Good. Because sometimes kids try to order beer, and we have to check."

Never asked to actually see the ID (which would have proved conclusively that I was NOT 18), brought the Heiniken, made me look good in front of my date (not that it helped) and earned a big tip.

Martins Tavern.

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I popped into Martin's Tavern last Sunday for a late brunch before attacking Georgetown Mall. The bartender was pleasant and quick. She made a first class Bloody Mary including celery stalk and sasoned salt on the rim. Crab stuffed mushrooms were average. The showstopper: Fried Oysters Benedict. WOW. My 2 favorite things on the same plate, eggs and fried oysters with hollandaise.

I would never have thought to put the two together but it sounds delicious.

Haven't been to Martin's Tavern in probably 10-15 years.

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One thing you can say about Welsh Rarebit back in Edwardian Wales, or Elizabethan England, or wherever it originated, is that it wasn't made with industrial cheese. You were pretty much assured of a small-batch, hand-crafted dairy product.

I didn't have that assurance tonight at Martin's Tavern, where I nervously ate my way through the dish ($9.50), billed as "a classic cheddar sauce made with Yuengling Lager and spices." Served with toast points - and Martin's does actually de-crust the toast and cut it into triangles - it was bland and inoffensive, and although it tasted okay, my thoughts on taste as an arbiter of quality are pretty well-known. Still, considering taste alone, I strongly prefer the Chili Con Queso Dip at Tippy's Taco House, or more specifically Toucan Taco in Laurel, which I know for a fact is, or used to be, made with Velveeta or a Velveeta-like product. Here, I wasn't really sure if I was eating good cheese or not, and I'm not sure I want to know.

My Buffalo Burger ($10.95) had a perfectly formed, densely packed patty, which is often a clue that it's purchased pre-pattified. You guys know exactly what it was like - served on a glistening bun, with a wilted tomato slice, a leaf of something green, thick red onion, and a decent version of frozen french fries, this sandwich pales next to the version they're serving up the street at Bourbon.

I feel like a boo-hog for dissing Martin's Tavern, which is a fourth-generation family-owned restaurant operating in the same spot for 74 years, and is actually better than most of its peers. But I'm certain there were more people here tonight than have ever frequented Palena in one evening, and the dishes are pretty much the same price. Does that add some perspective? I'm sorry, but everyone that was dining at Martin's tonight needs to head up to Cleveland Park, line up out the door, drop to their knees, and wait their turn to give Frank Ruta a hummer.

Sadly, the main reason I went to this weathered, thick-feeling bar tonight was to bring this thread up to the top. I was starving to death and really wanted to go to Pizzeria Paradiso, where I know I would have had a decent pizza. Will someone please go to Bambu to save me the trouble? Please?

And yes, I'll probably edit this before sending it over to WETA.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I didn't have that assurance tonight at Martin's Tavern, where I nervously ate my way through the dish ($9.50), billed as "a classic cheddar sauce made with Yuengling Lager and spices."

Did you meet Kevin Delaney, one of the bartenders? Rocks, I keep telling you. You have to drop my name once in a while. Especially in Georgetown.

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