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The Commodore Public House & Kitchen (Formerly Veranda), Logan Circle

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Veranda is being promoted as a "Mediterranean" neighborhood place with Greek and Italian food opening soon on the east side of Logan Circle. Their minimal website shows the on-going renovation process and there is a cute computer-generated image of what they hope the small patio will look like when it is open.

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Stopped by on Sunday for brunch. Definitely wanted to like the place, as from the outside it appeared like it could be a perfectly charming neighborhood restaurant. The place remained about half full most of the time we were there, and looked to be populated by a fair cross section of locals. The gentleman who served us (one of the brothers?) was very nice and attentive, even if it did take a while for our food to be served.

However, two problems stood out. The first was that the entire dining room next to kitchen (the bar is the front room, farther back is the small dining room) smelled of the kitchen grill. I think they need to invest in a better grill hood. When we stood up to leave, I could see a fair haze of smoke hovering over the entire room. My jacket retained the distinctive smell of grilled meat and cheese (cheeseburgers seemed to be the most commonly ordered item while we were there).

Second, my burger was completely mediocre. Ordered medium, it came out well-done. The bun was dry and tasteless, as were the lettuce, tomato and raw onion toppings. No mayo, no mustard. I had to resort to ketchup to coax any flavor out of it. Not what I expected for $9. As a $5 burger at a cheap diner, sure, but this was a disappointment.

Why did I not complain at the time, then? Well, I was pretty much starving after waiting about 40 minutes, and didn't want to wait another ten or more minutes. And (most of) the fries were pretty good. Plus the chances are fairly remote we will be back in that specific area any time in the future. I'm trying to get better at taking the advice of the restauranteurs on this board and speaking up when less-than-satisfied, but sometimes my (likely flawed) calculus tells me that it is not worth the effort.

If we lived in the area, I would likely want to try it again, perhaps for dinner. The immediate neighborhood seems to be calling out for a decent restaurant. But we are unlikely to skip over all of the other options along 14th St. for Veranda any time soon. Sorry I can't give a more positive report.

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Since I'm leaving DC, I've started making the rounds to my normal haunts, making sure to hit all my favorite places one last time. However, I've also resolved to try a few new places that I've been meaning to try for a while. Veranda is one of these. I live two blocks away from Veranda, and until tonight I had never been (for shame!).

Ayinger Brau-Weiss

Saganaki ($8) - Fried Kefalograviera cheese flambeed (barstool-side!) in Metaxa

Lukaniko ($8) - Greek sausage with Giant white Beans in tomato sauce

The Ayinger is nice, and one of a few tasty but unadventurous beers by the bottle. Three taps provided nothing else of interest.

post-1464-1236040158_thumb.jpg The Saganaki was stunningly good. Nice crispy cheese, with a squeeze of lemon complementing the Metaxa-flavor. Really, really delicious, even as fried cheese goes.

post-1464-1236040179_thumb.jpg The Lukaniko was less impressive, but still very tasty.

If I wasn't leaving town, I'd make it a point to stop by here more often. Totally great neighborhood spot.

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I went about a month ago.  I brought my dog and sat on the patio.  The staff was EXCEPTIONALLY friendly to my pup, bringing him water and treats and pets, and the food was good.  The drinks menu leaned more toward beer and mixed drinks than cocktails.  My only gripe is that there really isn't a single even half-healthy item on the menu; it's almost entirely fried chicken and burgers. Makes it difficult to come by often.

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