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MichaelBDC

Sixth Engine, American Pub in a Nineteenth-Century Firehouse - 4th Street and Massachusetts Avenue in Mount Vernon Triangle - Closed

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Being new to donrockwell.com I decided to look around and see what I could find about the places in my neighborhood.  I was a little surprised that there were not any posts about Sixth Engine even though they've been open for over three years now.  Perhaps that's because it wallows in mediocrity.  Don't get me wrong, they've always had a consistently good brunch and well cooked burgers.  The problem for me is that much of the rest of the menu has always been a little 'heavy handed' when it comes to ingredients and sauces.  Thankfully, the chef who opened the place, Paul Madrid, has left and things are starting to get better.  Additions like the arugula salad and roasted cauliflower with "Ling Sauce", which is very much a sweeter General Tso's sauce, have injected life back into the menu.  Hopefully they will continue down this path. 
 
The bar program, on the other hand, came flying out of the gate and hasn't lost its momentum.   Draft beers rotate regularly to highlight the best of the season and the bartenders take pride in not only making the drinks, but also the ingredients, creating custom shrubs and tonics to use in their creations.  While I realize the latter can be found at craft cocktail bars all over the city, it's surprising to find in a place that has the vibe of a glorified TGI Fridays.
 
The layout is more on par with the food than the bar program.  Do not  go there if you're looking for a quiet evening.  The bar bleeds into the downstairs dining area and with TVs in both, it can quickly become a situation where you have to yell at the person across the table from you in order for them to hear you easily.  The beautiful upstairs dining room has exposed brick walls and hardwood floors that echo all of the activity in the kitchen that adjoins it.  Surprisingly the outdoor patio is the least noisy of the three even with the traffic on Mass Ave just a few feet away.   There are a plethora of tables and the service is good.  The sun us really the only enemy.  During happy hour you're fine and in the shade while the sun scorches Philos' patio across the street.  During brunch though you are in the sun's crosshairs and it will roast you at your table even with umbrellas in place to help prevent that.
 
At the end of the day Sixth Engine is a nice place to get a drink and maybe have something to eat if it speaks to you.  Otherwise, have a few drinks and walk around the corner to Wise Guy Pizza and score a slice of pie.

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Indeed, Paul was at Town Tavern and maybe even The Dubliner as the partners own all three.  I think he's gone from all of them as the story I heard about his departure was that he moved to some 'remote location'.

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Kyle Bailey is at Sixth Engine now?  Even though this place is a couple blocks from work, I only went once, in part because it's not open weekday lunches.  But now I have to make a point to hit it up for happy hour once in awhile. See Washingtonian.

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It's time to say goodbye to an old friend. You have been there for us many times, Sixth Engine, when we needed you for brunch.  Whether it be after a run or after rolling out of bed hungover, you were always EatRunEat and my go to spot in the neighborhood. But things have changed, my old friend.  The service is still excellent, but what you used to execute so well now seems like an after thought. Gone are the days when your bacon was thick and thought was put into the omelette specials. Now your omelette of the day seems more like last night's left overs thrown into an egg wrapper.  The tortillas in your tostada used to be crispy and now they are soggy and inedible. Your only saving grace may be the tasso ham , fried egg and cheese the sandwich. The pretzel bun is great and the flavors blend nicely.  Unfortunately, the one sandwich alone is not enough to keep us coming back.  Thank you for all of the great brunches in the past and maybe we'll check in with you somewhere down the line to see if things have changed. We wish you the best

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Despite the farewell note above from @MichaelBDC, we have still been stopping by Sixth Engine for drinks. The staff has been talking up the new menu items that Kyle Bailey have added and given Kyle Bailey's work at Birch and Barley, I was really intrigued by the changes, but had never had an opportunity to sample the new additions. That changed Tuesday night after @MichaelBDC and I went for a nice three miles run and stopped by the Engine for a celebratory drink. I was very hungry, didn't want to wait to get home to reheat dinner, and took the opportunity to order the Herbed Ricotta Agnolotti with roasted corn, crispy eggplant, and marinated tomato. Maybe it was the deep hunger but I enjoyed the dish a lot despite it being a touch too salty. I was worried the corn and tomato were out of season but they both tasted fresh. My only nit is that the agnolotti was shaped a little odd and was awkward to fork and eat. With that, I will add the pastas to the list of things I would order from Sixth Engine's dinner menu in addition to the burger.

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Don,

I heard from an employee that Sixth Engine's last day will be tomorrow.  They were not sure if someone else is going to take over the lease and keep the existing name and concept or if they are going to close for a few months and open with something new.  Please feel free to share.

Well, I'm sharing, but it's too late (I suspect this is already on the internet) - Sixth Engine closed last Wednesday. And thanks to the kind member who sent me that note - I apologize to any member who has sent me PMs lately ... I've been deluged with things, and probably have 100-or-more PMs that are unread. If anything is important, and I haven't replied, please poke and prod me!

(Don't forget: This website has a phone number ... (202) 630-DINE - get it? 6:30 is when the rush hour restrictions end at the parking meters.)

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On 2/2/2019 at 12:58 PM, DonRocks said:

Well, I'm sharing, but it's too late (I suspect this is already on the internet) - Sixth Engine closed last Wednesday. And thanks to the kind member who sent me that note - I apologize to any member who has sent me PMs lately ... I've been deluged with things, and probably have 100-or-more PMs that are unread. If anything is important, and I haven't replied, please poke and prod me!

(Don't forget: This website has a phone number ... (202) 630-DINE - get it? 6:30 is when the rush hour restrictions end at the parking meters.)

Went here a couple of times over the past several years but honestly had not been in....two or three years? Too focused on other places and since I don't live in DC proper, making it there (often in conjunction for otherwise being nearby for other things - it was not really a destination IMO) was not a priority.

Still, the thing I remember most about the place was really excellent potato chips the first time went there.

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