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Evolve, Lounge and Restaurant in the Former Rocky's Space on Columbia Road in Adams Morgan - Closed

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Last Saturday I ckecked out the newest addition to the Adams Morgan dining scene. The space formerly occupied by Rocky's and a two forgettable restaurants since has been reinvented as Evolve. The sign on the door promises "small plates - cool drinks" but that was not evident on my first visit.

The menu is an excercise in brevity - salad, soup, chicken sandwich, french fries, fried calamari, lamb burger. Not really the meze I was expecting. The wine and beer programs are... a work in progress, I hope (the Corona I drank was the best of all options.) My lamb burger arrived medium well and with a well sized portion of crispy fries. It was a solid burger, overcooked for my taste but solid.

It may appear that I am not a fan of Evolve, however, I plan to return. Small independant restaurants are an important part of the cultural fabric of this and every city. I wish them well and look forward to watching this place evolve (come on, I had to make that reference.) Surely they will expand the menu, upgrade fixtures, and grow the wine and beer programs. I just hope that they can do it quickly - that location doesn't have the best track record for longevity.

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In spite of hopefully offering a "colossal crabcake" entree for an astonishing $25, Evolve is a bar, not a restaurant. There's a "strip" and I assume they mean "steak" for $16.

This is apparently the week where my friends steer the ship -- last night, I wanted to go to RTS, and got a very good sub in Guajillo; tonight I wanted Cashion's and got Evolve briefly before eventually getting Cashion's.

Our server on this delightfully mild night was sincerely sweet and well-intentioned, oddly attired (hot pants, tiny top, big boots, a large band aid on her thigh), and often absent. An older woman sitting across from our patio table would pace between the tables, smoking, walk into the restaurant, shout at someone in Spanish, come back out, smoke more, pace more, shout at someone via cell phone. I assume she is somehow affiliated with Evolve because she was there when I arrived and still there when I departed, all the while holding a plastic bag I had originally assumed was take out. Worse was the man (perhaps a bouncer there on weekends) who lingered, pacing between the front door and the patio entrance, spitting loudly pretty much every time he hit the sidewalk.

And yet, we still ordered an appetizer, feeling obligated to try something from the laminated menu. We shared a plate of warm brie, overwhelmed by preserved apricots, and asked for the check before moving next door for a delicious (and expensive) meal at Cashion's.

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