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CommonWealth, 14th & Irving Streets NW


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I just saw this on Tom's chat:

"Washington, DC: I saw Jamie Leeds heading into CommonWealth this morning. There's a menu up in the window and I hope it's not long before the place opens!

Tom Sietsema: You only have to wait seven days: The chef's gastropub (1400 Irving St. NW) is expected to open Aug. 6 for dinner.

The menu I've seen promises lots of British-sounding plates. We're talking frog in a puff, scotch eggs, fish & chips, bangers and mash and treacle tart."

Isn't this the restaurant that Antonio Burrell's working with? Either way, I'm looking forward to checking it out :lol:

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Dammit, already have plans for the 6th and 7th. Going to have to wait a few more days to get my long-awaited Burrell food fix.
We're thinking of stopping by on August 14 -- our one free night between NYC and WVa :lol: Maybe we'll see you there!
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I lucked into a seat at Jamie Leeds' new CommonWealth restaurant for their soft opening on Sunday night. I really enjoyed myself.

You can read the full story and see some interior pics here (Don said it was okay to link):

http://www.brightestyoungthings.com/food/t...tropub-preview/

There were a couple tidbits that I didn't include in the article...

- The kitchen is small and semi-open, with a large glass window that lets you openly gawk at everything going on. Watching Jamie Leeds expedite service was instructive -- she is clearly a force in the kitchen.

- The large outdoor space looks like a great spot for a pint.

- "Frogs in a Puff" is a pastry-wrapped lamb sausage, their take on pigs in a blanket. That is just one of a handful of menu items that were unknown to me, and did not include any explanation.

- I also (over)heard that they are ordering whole animals and doing butchering on-site, but I really don't have much in the way of details.

Alex

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I lucked into a seat at Jamie Leeds' new CommonWealth restaurant for their soft opening on Sunday night. I really enjoyed myself.

I drove by on Sunday afternoon and saw lots of activity inside but didn't stop to see what was up. I'm really looking forward to checking this place out in the next couple of weeks.

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Seat for 1 at the bar, with 2 great bartenders. Felt like fried food and ended up ordering Scottish Eggs ($7) and Bucket of chips (w/o sauce - $5). Ordered a UK pint of Stonewall Dry Cider on tap, which ended up being WAY more than I should really handle. But I was committed to finishing the pint. Felt like I ordered hangover food before I drank or became drunk!

Scottish eggs comes with 3 sauces: spicy mayo, honey mustard and a garlic, olive oil, something green herb sauce. Additionally, there are condiments that include malt vinegar, and a spicy mustard, along with a relish that I wasn't brave enough to try. 1 order comes with 6 halves or 3 eggs in this great "holder" of eggs and sauce. I love the eggs right out of the fryer, as it's breaded and fried. But after it cools down ever so slightly, the breading tasted a bit heavy. I ended up peeling some of my breading off. I also am being a poor writer, as I forgot what the breading consisted of, after being told.

The chips were more like steak fries cut, and actually tasted like such, but it was thick and hearty and starchy and FRIED! But it could be better. Was too full to try the dessert, but the Lemon Trifle dessert looked good (neighbor had some).

They're still in first days mode, even though tonight had a pretty light crowd. But the bartenders were saying that they ran out of some on tap and in the bottles/cans.

I LOVE the coppertop bar. It's very pretty and shiny (yes, girly words, but hey...).

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Late dinner at the newly opened CommonWealth Sunday night. I think we're going to like this place.

The menu is very diverse, lot's of interesting things to choose from, heavy on meats (though there were a few vegetarian items) and traditional English pub food. My wife and I opted toward the unusual (or at least, things that aren't that aren't typically found on bar menus around DC!) -- roasted bone marrow with parsley and shallot salad, a sweetbread appetizer, steak and oyster pie, bangers and mash. The bone marrow was wonderful, rich and meaty, served with toasted bread and a little pile of sea salt you could drizzle over each bite. Probably my favorite of the night was the steak and oyster pie, more of a stew than a self contained pie, served under a crisp, light cap of puff pastry. The stew was ... I think unctuous is the best word, and full of flavor. Oysters tasted very, very fresh.

Lemon trifle dessert was very tasty, but you have to like tart.

Each of the members of the staff we interacted with were warm and welcoming and really seemed invested in the whole enterprise. A very good sign. We're really looking forward to many return trips to try everything else on the menu.

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worth visiting. definitely a first for the neighborhood. Some (OK) food pics here:

http://www.endlesssimmer.com/2008/08/11/br...e-commonwealth/

I considered eating pig, nose to tail last night: Trotters, belly, ears with heirloom tomatoes. . but I wasn't up for head cheese, so I switched it out for duck sausage. I thought the menu is exciting. And, for having been open a week, the service was terrific. I"m happy the place had a crowd through ten on a Sunday. . .
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Does anyone know if they will be open tonight (i.e., on a Monday night)? Alternatively, does anyone have a phone # for Commonwealth. None is listed on their site yet. Thanks for any assistance!
From our DCist post:

CommonWealth is open for limited hours on weekdays for about one month. It will be closed on Mondays, and open Tuesday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., and on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to midnight. When the restaurant is up and running at full speed later in September, the hours should switch to 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every weekday.

CommonWealth

1400 Irving St. NW

202-265-1400

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We tried this place out late night last night - so just beers and the "pub menu". I thought the beer selection was pretty good and the fry basket was delicious! My husband loved his Scotch Eggs - said they were worth the "heart attack". We'll be back for sure to try out dinner.

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Well this place certainly has opened with a flurry of activity. Friday evening found this place packed to the gills. Despite that we were able to snag a two-top outside for an enjoyable evening. We started with the Potted Pork, Frog in a Puff, and the Scotch Eggs. The pork and eggs were the best of the two, but I would hardly call the Scotch Eggs heart attack inducing. They only have a thin layer of sausage and were not greasy at all. The three sauces that some with them were all very good.

Still feeling a bit hungry we had the black pudding and pork belly. The black pudding, crisped on the sides like a fried piece of scrapple, was disappointingly bland. The pork belly was a hit, thick and flavorful.

The Victory Prima Pils on cask was terrific.

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We've been twice for dinner and it's a great addition to the neighborhood. It's not the best value in town and some things on the menu are not as good as you want them to be, but it's a nice place to stop for a beer and snacks. I've had the cider and Boddington's on tap (US pint 6.50, British pint 8), both fine, especially on a summer evening outside (decent and inviting outdoor seating area, great for people-watching). The piccalilli is good, as are the complimentary pickled vegetables (nice touch). The heirloom tomato salad with pig's ear is fantastic. Though I was initially skeptical, the combination of fresh tomatoes in a shallot and parsley vinaigrette with crunchy and meaty bits of pig ear (no sign of ear, just porky goodness) mixed in, was truly delicious. I've also had a watercress salad with green apples, surrey ham and a poached egg on top. This salad was ok -- too much water from that poached egg made it into the salad, creating a soupy watered down dressing. The Cornish pasty has good flavor (meat, carrot and potato filling), served on mashed potatoes (with no gravy so it was a bit bland) and a little dollop of green minty sauce. For the price, i was expecting more. Considering that you can get a similarly sized empanada with more interesting filling for much less, the pasty did not impress. The Welsh rarebit was a thick piece of toast with the yummy beer cheese mixture on top. Again, small for the price. The chicken pot pie is also small for the price (better and bigger can be had elsewhere). The burger is good, and the fish and chips are great with an almost tempura-like batter. The mushy peas are surprisingly good if you like peas. of the desserts, we've had the sticky toffee pudding. Ok, on the dry side, could've used more drenching in toffee sauce and more whipped cream. Busy but not totally packed each time we've been there for weeknite dinners. Service is cheerful, friendly and responsive.

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We've been twice for dinner and it's a great addition to the neighborhood. It's not the best value in town and some things on the menu are not as good as you want them to be, but it's a nice place to stop for a beer and snacks. I've had the cider and Boddington's on tap (US pint 6.50, British pint 8), both fine, especially on a summer evening outside (decent and inviting outdoor seating area, great for people-watching). The piccalilli is good, as are the complimentary pickled vegetables (nice touch). The heirloom tomato salad with pig's ear is fantastic. Though I was initially skeptical, the combination of fresh tomatoes in a shallot and parsley vinaigrette with crunchy and meaty bits of pig ear (no sign of ear, just porky goodness) mixed in, was truly delicious. I've also had a watercress salad with green apples, surrey ham and a poached egg on top. This salad was ok -- too much water from that poached egg made it into the salad, creating a soupy watered down dressing. The Cornish pasty has good flavor (meat, carrot and potato filling), served on mashed potatoes (with no gravy so it was a bit bland) and a little dollop of green minty sauce. For the price, i was expecting more. Considering that you can get a similarly sized empanada with more interesting filling for much less, the pasty did not impress. The Welsh rarebit was a thick piece of toast with the yummy beer cheese mixture on top. Again, small for the price. The chicken pot pie is also small for the price (better and bigger can be had elsewhere). The burger is good, and the fish and chips are great with an almost tempura-like batter. The mushy peas are surprisingly good if you like peas. of the desserts, we've had the sticky toffee pudding. Ok, on the dry side, could've used more drenching in toffee sauce and more whipped cream. Busy but not totally packed each time we've been there for weeknite dinners. Service is cheerful, friendly and responsive.
Not to be argumentative as I have not had it here, but where can you get a better chicken pot pie? I do enjoy that dish when done well.
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My maturated inclination is to be a prick, and not to give any benefit of any doubt to anything.

After a dim sum orgy at Hollywood East Cafe on the Boulevard today, I was feeling blimpish, oversalted, and in need of a starvation fast.

"Ding! Ding! Ding!" said the guilt alarm. It's Sunday night. You haven't been to CommonWealth. There's going to be PARKING! If not now, then when?

Off I went.

Oh yes, heavy British food sounded lovely to me. Just what I wanted. Blood pudding. Scotch eggs. Charcuterie. Bangers and mash. I was giving this meal the finger in my mind while driving to the restaurant.

I walked in, took a seat at the bar, and within seconds, was greeted by a friendly face.

The place was packed but not overflowing. Vibrant, but not aggressive. Looking around, there's a certain ease to the whole environment. People were enjoying themselves and having a good time.

Disappointed by the absence of cask ale (they ran out Friday night), I consoled myself with a draft. I ordered the heirloom tomato salad, and the Butcher Breakfast.

While I was sipping my beer, Antonio came out to say hello.

"Was the Butcher Breakfast a good call?" I asked him.

He nodded his head. "It has all the components - I just made a fresh black pudding today." Poached eggs, Surrey ham, 'streaky' bacon, black pudding, pork and beans. It was a really well-executed, satisfying plate of food that I'd encourage everyone to order. The tomato salad was enormous, enough for two people, and the tomatoes themselves were very good.

Jamie was there tonight, toiling in the kitchen. Sandy, in charge of operations, looked completely relaxed - this, despite the entire staff surely being exhausted.

After an hour, a couple of beers, and a thoroughly enjoyable meal, I walked out of the restaurant in a great mood.

"Feeling bloated, Don?" Yep.

"Care?" Nope.

"Going to care tomorrow?" Maybe.

"Impressive opening?" YES!

Cheers, and congratulations to the entire staff at CommonWealth.

Scott Cheggs

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My wife and I went last night to check out the "Sunday Roast" with two of our friends. This was only the second weekend, and they're already firing on all cylinders as far as the Roast offerings go.

Three options:

Pork Shoulder

Lamb leg stuffed with merguez

Roast Beef

We opted for the lamb and it came out juicy and tender with nice chunks of sausage and a slightly thickened glace that was rich and salty. The succotash had plenty of fresh seasonal veggies, but it and the roasted potatoes were definitely overshadowed by the entree.

The Scotch Eggs, as others have attested, are terrific - though I'd suggest they're better on their own than dipped in any of the accompanying sauces.

Definitely worth making plans with friends for a fun, family-style Sunday dinner.

Chef Leeds also pointed out their new brunch menu (additional egg dishes and pancakes to go with their full regular menu) - may have to check it out soon.

Biggest complaint: Not a lot of creativity in the British brews available on tap. Plenty of bottles available, but it's not quite the same, is it?

Good times all around.

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I. Love. This. Place.

We headed here for dinner after our dessert at Hello Cupcake. We circled the block a bit, not realizing that there's a parking garage right across the street. We saw Antonio after we sat, and it was just great to see him so happy :lol: He gave us some advice on the meal, some of which we took (and all of which was correct!). We started with the charcuterie, which he makes all in house. I wasn't feeling as adventurous as others may, so I stuck with some of the "regular" options -- pork belly (mmmmm), garlic sausage (mmmmm), and duck sausage (MMMMMMM), along with a couple of cheeses. I had the Twisted Thistle (beer) to begin with, and Tripewriter had a cask-conditioned IPA. I then had the tomato salad with pig ear -- enormous, as Don mentioned, and with at least four or five different varieties of tomato. It was great -- room temperature, with a nice citrusy dressing. I might go as far as to say that perhaps there was a little too much pork for me (?!?), but maybe I was just enjoying the tomatoes that much more. Tripewriter had the watercress salad with the ham and egg on it -- the egg was perfectly cooked for him, exploding its oozing yolk all over everything. I rounded out the meal with some apps -- the Scotch eggs and the chips. The eggs were, as discussed above, much lighter than you'd think, and I really liked the spicy aioli. I also liked the chips -- big, honking pieces of good potato, cooked to perfection. I had the gravy and cheese on the side, and both Tripewriter and I agreed that they were real stars, tasting of, surprise, real meat gravy and real cheese. Tripewriter had the veal kidneys, and he and I both thought they were delicious. We had a Bluebird with this portion of the meal. Our server, Matt B, was outstanding as well -- informed, interesting, and interested.

We rolled out of there very happy -- the most fun evening we've had in a while! I know that we won't be able to go back nearly as much as we would like, but I also know that I am (though still stuffed) eagerly anticipating the next time we get to sample Antonio's cooking in a truly pleasant atmosphere.

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I've been a couple of times and have enjoyed the fish & chips and Scotch eggs, the Yorkshire pudding and frogs in a puff, and the sticky toffee pudding. I wasn't as crazy about the vegetable tikka masala or the chicken pot pie. I like the convivial atmosphere and helpful and friendly service. The decor is more open and airy than you'd expect from the theme, which is good in August, though once drearier weather hits I might prefer a cozier publike feel to go along with my battered, fried, and mushy foods. The other night I tried the lemon-stuffed fried olives, which should be mandatory nibbles at all bars. They reminded me of the fried stuffed olives that Fabio Trabocchi made at a cooking demo/book signing I went to at Casa Italiana, though Fabio's were stuffed with a mixture that included nearly 20 ingredients, including four different kinds of meat. I haven't tried out his recipe, but would be happy to make a habit of ordering the lemon-stuffed ones at CommonWealth to whet my appetite while I choose between bangers and mash and bubble and squeak.

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We had a Bluebird with this portion of the meal. Our server, Matt B, was outstanding as well -- informed, interesting, and interested.

If only the beverage people were as informed as your server. I have no doubt they'll eventually get the beer program right, but I think they need to find someone beyond the amateur level. Perhaps they wouldn't put on their signs "Constantine's Bluebird Bitter" when every bottle and case (and English beer lover) knows it's Coniston's, a former (and deserved) supreme champion beer of Britain. And I admit that this information came secondhand from a friend, but I thoroughly believe him when he tells me they didn't know a cask of real ale needs to sit and not move so it can settle and "drop" as they call it. If you're investing in a perishable product like cask conditioned ale, I would think you'd want to know how to treat that product. Then there are the beer prices. I think the cask prices are on par for both the US and UK pints. But why would a pub pushing English beers charge $4 for a bottle of Bud and $10 for a bottle of Riggwelter (one of the finest Yorkshire ales around)? Riggwelter retails for $4/bottle at Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck). What's with the 2.5x markup on the English ales they want to be known for yet they only charge $4 for a Bud? Sorry, Bud-swillers, but you losers should be subsidizing the rest of us who want to drink real beer.

Aside from my bitching about the beer program (and I do think that in time they can straighten it out if their beer program employees study a little bit) I found the table service to be attentive and on target and the food to be rather good. The sweetbreads were delicious but the shrimp that came with them were overcooked and, frankly, did nothing to enhance the dish. Drop the shrimp and give me more of that sweet bread.

But back to the beer. No one else in town to my knowledge is offering more than one option for a cask conditioned ale and I'm thrilled about that. I hope they can keep both engines operating and I hope we can see some great variety of beers, both local and UK, featured. The Victory IPA was a good pint but the stout was just far too sickeningly sweet for my taste. (Did anyone really think I wouldn't find reason to be critical about the beer program? :lol: ) I hope they can find a source for a great session ale. We need more around here.

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As always, I over-estimate the amount of food that three people can eat on a Wednesday night out. After eating at CommonWealth, we are beginning to feel our muffin tops expand a little more. We started with a lot of sides: Headcheese, Scotch Eggs, Bucket Of Chips, Jacket Potatoes, Mushy Peas With Mint, and Green Bean Casserole. Our entrees were: Smoked Tofu Shepherd’s Pie, Chicken Pot Pie, and Fish ‘n Chips. These were all very savory and comfortable. We were happy.

Our service was excellent. The courses were timely and our glasses were always filled. We only had one quirk. Our server was friendly and eerie. Imagine that you had this wonderful meal and everything was timed perfectly and this guy walks up to you while you are talking with your friends. You unintentionally ignore him. He says, “Don’t worry about my hands, I’m not rubbing them because I’m sinister. I’m rubbing them because I just put on lotion. They are moist.” The words, “moist” (!!!!!!!) and “hands,” concurrently being said while our dessert was place on our table is the only outstanding memory that I have of this place now. We nervously laughed.

Wait… Moist?

Moist.

Please keep in mind that our service was excellent but that remark was so weird.

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Perhaps they wouldn't put on their signs "Constantine's Bluebird Bitter" when every bottle and case (and English beer lover) knows it's Coniston's, a former (and deserved) supreme champion beer of Britain...

It might be because I wasn't paying a lot of attention, but I would like to think that my editor's eye would have caught it if they had the wrong name up for the Bluebird, and I don't remember it being wrong. But, I'm 100% behind you on the session beer...something that would last, say, from 11 am to 11 pm? :lol: (hic)

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We wandered in tonight and, for the uninitiated, it's like a whole new language. We were expecting football on the telly when, in fact, they were playing soccer. The sweetbreads I ordered, whilst additictively tasty in a mustard sauce, actually were not bread at all, but apparently some obscure bit of calf or maybe hedgehog. The "frog in a puff" was not in fact made with frog, but with lamb and it's my understanding that the pigs ears in the pig's ear salad are actually goat shanks or something of the sort. Two nations divided by a common language and all that.

At fourteen dollours ninepence, the marrow salad, which yielded maybe 10 CCs of actual molten goodness plus parsley, made one feel as though the Artful Dodger were in charge of the menu pricing, or perhaps that we were getting a taste of pre-Thatcherite rationing. The deep fried olives were, however, the ideal post-modern bar snack. A Goldfish™ for the aughts.

The beers, whose prices reflect the brutal stomping the pound is administering the dollar these days had quaint olde countrie names like Full Butt and Blubird Bitter (note to self: write essay juxtaposing Bluebird Bitter with Bluebird of Happiness. Have Crescentfresh spellcheck) so, of course, we passed them up for some good old Budweiser, brewed in the Commonwealth of Busch Gardens by Belgians.

Kidding. The soccer football hooligans behind the bar threatened to kneecap us if we drank Bud and offered us numerous tastes of obscure beers, including the aforementioned Full Butt, some other anonymous "porter" (so called because in the waterfront saloons of Bristol, it was traditionally pulled from the left, or "port" side of the bar) that tasted better than the Full Butt but didn't have as cool a name, so we forgot it. We enjoyed the St. Pete's Ale, the Bluebird and current cask thingie and have paid Ferment Everything to write tasting notes that will make us appear sophisticated yet down-to-earth, which we will post as soon as he e-mails them to us.

Cheers.

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But why would a pub pushing English beers charge $4 for a bottle of Bud and $10 for a bottle of Riggwelter (one of the finest Yorkshire ales around)? Riggwelter retails for $4/bottle at Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck). What's with the 2.5x markup on the English ales they want to be known for yet they only charge $4 for a Bud? Sorry, Bud-swillers, but you losers should be subsidizing the rest of us who want to drink real beer.

FWIW, Riggwelter is $10 at Rustico as well (as are most of the 16.9oz English bottles we carry). I don't really deal with the ins and outs of pricing or subsidizing, just a point of comparison. Maybe WF takes a lower margin on it in order to move the product quicker? Or maybe the distribution overhead is lower in DC? (not sure what WF location you're talking about).

(this can be moved to a "pricing beer/alcohol" thread if an editor so desires. might be an interesting topic to discuss, if it hasn't already been done)

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We enjoyed the St. Pete's Ale, the Bluebird and current cask thingie and have paid Ferment Everything to write tasting notes that will make us appear sophisticated yet down-to-earth, which we will post as soon as he e-mails them to us.

I should really read the entire thread before replying next time.

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Went to Commonwealth this past Friday with some co-workers. We shared the scotch eggs, welsh rarebit and a bucket o' chips. The scotch eggs and wesl rarebit were very very tasty. The chips were only okay - they were a little too soggy and wilted for my tastes. For thick cut (steak fries), I prefer a nice crispy outside with a fluffy innard. Your tastes may vary.

For my entre, I ordered the beef and pork pasty. The filling was very nice and the dough cooked beautifully. The mashed potatoes on the side were great, in fact, I wish there were more on the plate. The only knock I have on the pasty is that the filling could be a little wetter. It was kind of like a meat loaf inside and I think a gravy or sauce over top (though not traditional) would have made the dish sing. It also didn't help that I tried a bite of the fish from the fish and chips and thought it was delicious!

To drink I had a cask Hop Devil and an English pint of the Bellhaven Twisted Thistle. Both were excellent beers and really hit the spot.

Overall, I was more than happy with our outing to Commonwealth and will be looking forward to getting up there again.

Cheers!

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The chips were only okay - they were a little too soggy and wilted for my tastes. For thick cut (steak fries), I prefer a nice crispy outside with a fluffy innard. Your tastes may vary.
FWIW, this is the complete opposite of our chip experience here -- ours were thick potato wedges that were hot and crispy with great potato-y insides. We're going back Sept. 3 with friends -- I'll let you know where on the spectrum those chips land...

We had a great meal here tonight. We started with sweetbreads and pork belly with a fruit sauce -- loved the sauce and the pork! Others at my table -- including a sweetbread virgin! -- preferred the sweetbreads. We then had the butcher board, with pork belly, duck sausage (still my favorite), garlic sausage, and two cheeses. Tripewriter thought that the blue cheese went especially well with the fried olives that we also had -- yum. We followed this feast with fried oysters, which Tripewriter dubbed light and fresh, though the ham, egg, and cress made it a hearty dish overall; bangers and mash, which our friend loved (and finished), and which I may have next time -- great sausage!; and rabbit with curried peaches and very nice lentils, which I'll be finishing tomorrow. We were too stuffed for dessert, though tempted by several options. I had the beer flight and enjoyed it quite a bit, though I think I'll stick with a pint of one type next time round. Tripewriter had a cocktail and said it was "beautiful," made with fresh-squeezed red grapefruit.

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Made it out to a very crowded (especially for 10 PM) Commonwealth on Saturday night. First off, I know it's a pub, but I was kind of shocked by the noise level. I was 3 feet away from my wife across the table and we had to yell to hear each other for the first half hour we were there and the place started to clear out. I don't think the issue was necessarily the people in the bar, but moreso the music, which was blaring out of the speaker above our table (so much so that the people sitting next to us got up to ask that it be turned down). That aside, the ambiance was great, this neighborhood needed a place like this.

We started with the Scotch Eggs and the Crab on Toast. Both were excellent, although they were heavy enough to be meals by themselves. I wanted to take home a quart of the spicy mayo they serve the eggs, that stuff could make anything taste great.

For our entrees, she went with the Fish and Chips and I got the Butcher's Breakfast. The fish and chips were definitely very good (chips were great when dipped in spicy mayo), but I think we have been spoiled by Eamonn's to the point that we can't have fish and chips anywhere without being slightly disappointed by them being inferior to the ones in Alexandria. Not a criticism of this plate, just our opinion. The butcher's breakfast was nice, very different than anything I have had in this area, but was a bit much after the heavy apps.

The highlight of the night for me was the Bluebird Bitter. While I agree that it was a bit much at $8 for the bottle, it was the perfect accompaniment for my food and just a flat out great beer. I think the next time we head here we will try to park ourselves at the bar to try more UK beers and maybe just get apps, as they were more than enough food for just the two of us.

Congrats Antonio and Jamie!

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Stopped in the last two Sundays in a row. The first was a solo afternoon "butcher board" meal including sweetbreads, head cheese, and stuffed trotters. Victory Hop Devil on cask. The second was a smorgasbord experience with 4 friends. We ignored the brunch menu and ordered what felt like one of everything else: chips, scotch eggs, frog in a puff, potted pork, crab on toast, duck sausage, black pudding, sweetbreads, stinky and goat cheeses, bubble/squeak, and welsh rarebit. The black pudding was the only thing that even came close to missing (maybe we let it get a little too cold?), and the rest was great. The potted pork was some of the best I've had in the city, and the bubble/squeak was the sleeper hit: fried cake of cabbage and (i think) bacon. Hop Devil was 86'd so I reluctantly had a pre-noon Victory Storm King cask.

I'm hoping they get some more momentum behind their cask program to catch up with Antonio in the kitchen...if they do, this will quickly become one of my favorite places in the city.

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Tom Sietsema's review says it's a vegetarian hell but the vegetable salad is good. But the online menu says there's a house smoked tofu shepherd's pie and a vegetable tikka masala, which sound interesting. He doesn't mention those though. Are they still on the menu and has anyone tried them?

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The tofu shepherd's pie is good but not necessarily what you'd expect if you're just looking for a vegetarian version that tastes just like the meat version. It came with a beet sauce. Yes the menu is heavy on the meat dishes (which also taste better IMO) but I thought there were some good options for vegetarians -- most of the sides (cauliflower gratin, mushy peas, bubble and squeak, green beans) appear to be vegetarian although I don't know if they're cooked with meat broths or cheese. The fried olives with lemon, Welsh rarebit and potato wedge chips are a good choice for veggie apps. On another note, their service remains superb - really friendly and accommodating, and they also take reservations.

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We had a somewhat unexpected meal here today -- lunch at 3:45 :lol: -- but ended up being very happy to be at Commonwealth, even after what it took to get us there.

We started with the lobster bisque -- delicious -- and then moved on to frogs in a puff, which were spicy and great, and the basket of chips. Tripewriter stole all the cheese sauce, but that was ok, as they gave me a little pot of the spicy sauce that normally comes with the Scotch eggs, so neener neener. I then had the chicken pot pie, and Tripewriter seized the moment and had the egg in a hole. Both were good. My pie had too many carrots for my tastes, but then, more than zero carrots is too many for my tastes. The meat was great, and it was in a lighter sauce than I had envisioned, which meant that I went home full, instead of miserably stuffed -- a good thing. For beer, Tripewriter had the Newkie Brown, and I had the ESB. Yum.

We thought that we might just stay for the rest of the day, but we were hot after being out in the yucky rain and then eating all that food, and so just came home to collapse and wonder if we'll ever eat again :)

Saw both Jamie Leeds and Antonio there -- hope I didn't get you in trouble by saying hi, Antonio, but didn't want to ignore you (and always enjoy seeing you) :P

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We had a great dinner on Friday night. This was our second time and it is quickly becoming one of my favorite restaurants at that price point. We enjoyed the pickled vegetables that are served with the bread service. I also enjoyed a nice cask ale (can't remember the name?). We started with some fried olives, which were very tasty, an excellent bar snack . I had the London Broil, which was served a perfect med. rare and came with some smooth mashed potatoes. My wife had the crisp vegetable salad which was very fresh and light. Very attentive service and a nice vibe. We are recommending it wholeheartedly to all our friends. I wish we had a place like this in our hood. Interesting food, well prepared, nice beer and wine list, and fair prices. What more can you ask for? And they apparently show EPL on Sunday during the brunch hours. Bonus.

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I don't talk alot about what we do at the restaurant very much, but I thought it might be nice to let you guys in on a little secret, we're opening on mondays starting tomorrow, and to celebrate that fact, I will be serving fried chicken on mondays only.....just thought you guys might like to know. :lol:
WHAT?!?!?!? I HAVE TO CALL TRIPEWRITER NOW!!!!!!!!

(woo hoo! we're on for 7:30 pm!)

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T-minus 15 minutes!

"If you finish that, I'm going to give you a medal," one of my four friends said last night at Commonwealth. The Sunday-night special of Roast Beef ($22) came on a platter large enough for all five of us, but with the exception of one piece, I managed to down the entire thing with a side order of Yorkshire Pudding ($5). That's on top of beef heart, deviled sweetbreads, Scotch eggs, etc.

"I'm taking your comment as a challenge," I said, as they looked on in horror.

This was the most food I've eaten in a long, long time, and I felt like I had swallowed a medicine ball. Even several hours later, as I lay awake at 1 AM, I thought I was going to explode.

The time stamp on my check was 10:16 PM, and that's precisely when I began my 24-hour fast. No cream or sugar in my coffee, no salt, no calories - nothing but a pot of black coffee this morning and water the rest of the day. And a workout at the gym, too.

So tonight was "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," to get my mind off my hunger - for the first time in a long time, I'm REALLY hungry!

And my day-long total fast ends in 15 minutes. Yeee-haaaaa!

Cheers,

Rocks.

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For the love of Pete, go get the chicken. We're taking a third plate home for Tripewriter's lunch tomorrow, and the car has never smelled so good. Go. Now.
Yeah the chicken was ridiculously good. (And I think I was there earlier and could not stop by to say hi.) Also yum to the corned beef with cabbage. And I was digging dipping the mashed potatoes in the jus from the corned beef.
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Made my first trip there for lunch today. The open-faced roast beef sandwich was quite good, it was at its best when the bread underneath the meat was soaked in the slightly too salty jus. The mashed potatoes could have used a little work, they were light and airy, and would have been fine with fish, but with something like roast beef they needed to have a bit more body. Also, the gravy tasted fine, but would have been better had it been a bit thicker.

The SkullSplitter Orkney Ale and the Smithwicks provided a nice way to make the pains of my morning go away.

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Only one cask on tonight, and it was back to Victory Hop Devil. They seem to have a particular affinity to Victory casks here, although the bartender told me they also had some Rogue beers on cask as well. No other breweries mentioned. Legacy Hedonism is a fantastic imperial red (or red.5 as it's only 7%) in bottle.

And yes: Beer-battered bacon. That's right.

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The VERY very good: Chicken Pot Pie. Haven't had a better one in many years.

The very good: Fish & Chips, Butcher Breakfast, scotch eggs, and Frog in a Puff.

The just ok: baked pancake. Pancake was very good, but the currants were too tart and overwhelmed everything else.

The disappointing: nothing available on cask. And the menu section that says "Pots, Pies, and Pasties", but offers no Pots or Pasties. My kids' infatuation with pasties was what drove us here today, and when our otherwise excellent server informed us that "...pasties are only a seasonal offering..." the disappointment level was high. How are pasties not a fall/winter food? And did they freeze the bread? How can bread be crusty on the outside, and cooked through, but ice cold in the center?

Since we're never in this neighborhood, this would have to be a destination place. With 2 pints, tax and tip, the bill was over $100 for lunch for 4. Food was tasty, but didn't feel like a great value.

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In no mood to cook or clean, nor contribute to the work of the fine friends who invited us to join them for Thanksgiving this year, the Mrs. and I went to Commonwealth. It blew us away. You had two choices to make. Do you want the root vegetable soup or do you want the arugula salad, and do you want the turkey or the roast beef?

We both opted for the soup which literally warmed our palates and then came the onslaught. We opted to split a turkey and a roast beef order and it came out sliced on one platter, family style. And it came in typical home-cooked Thanksgiving style.....more than one person can possibly eat. Add in a plate of mashed potatoes, a plate of sweet potatoes, a plate of green been casserole, a plate of collard greens, a plate of cornbread and sausage stuffing, a plate of oyster stuffing and, when that was all done, your choice of apple, pumpkin, or pecan pie.

Every dish was delish. The turkey and the beef were moist, the stuffings and veggies full of flavor and, as Commonwealth does, the food was mostly sourced from local producers. The only thing missing was the cranberry sauce. But, we were plenty full from what we got. And what did we pay for it all? $25 per person plus tax and tip. I don't know how they did it all for that price but I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to make my reservation for next year's Thanksgiving now if they were taking them. And I'd invite family to travel to DC just to go celebrate the meal there, too. Amazingly good meal.

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