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drinx: sinx.

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I was taken to DRINX last night. This is the new bar (restaurant?!!?) at 601 F St. NW, which is attached to the MCI.

The drinks were ok.

Food (which is 25% off until today I think) is... not so much.

There were some free potato "balls" for happy hour, which were like mashed potato with a fried layer outside. They were ok for free.

We ordered the calamari, which was pretty terrible. It was very salty, we left most of it uneaten. A friend ordered the crab dip, which was too rich, with a layer of truffle oil on top and not enough crab.

We didn't order them, but yes, there were mini-burgers on the menu!


FYI: from the weekly dish from 8/17:


Wednesday, August 17, 2005; Page F05

DRINX, ANYONE?: Beginning with lunch on Monday, the lights are back on at what used to be Nick & Stef's Steakhouse in MCI Center . Its replacement, a notion from the New York-based Restaurant Associates , is simply named drinx (601 F St. NW; 202-661-5040).

The long-vacant space has been recast as a more casual place to eat and drink -- look for fried calamari, hamburgers and fruit punch on the menu -- but with enough twists to make those familiar restaurant staples interesting. The calamari will wear a coat of Parmesan cheese, for instance, while the burger will sneak in heirloom tomatoes. As for the punch "Martiniquese," the drink is glammed up with passion fruit and sweet spices.

Brian McPherson , who previously cooked at Butterfield 9 and New Heights in Washington, has been hired to prepare the American bill of fare, which will also include baby back ribs, crab cakes and oven-baked black grouper -- "simple food done right," the 27-year-old chef promises. "Nothing too extreme."

The 118-seat dining room follows suit. It's stylish with gold walls and rust-colored fabrics and offers the now-ubiquitous view of cooks at work, thanks to a glass-wrapped kitchen. Six plasma-screen TVs in the lounge and bar will help keep sports fans abreast of the action in the arena next door, while a private dining room captures a view of the MCI practice courts.

Given the newcomer's name, you can expect cocktails; bartenders will shake and stir more than 25 choices, ranging from a signature martini (made with sherry) to the "bee's knees" (Tanqueray #10 swirled with honey and lemon juice).

We'll drink to all that.

Lunch entrees $14-$27; dinner entrees $18.50-$29

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My brother was unable to join me for dinner last night so after a few minutes of dithering between similarly packed restaurants, I wandered into the ridiculously named Drinx for a gin & tonic and some snax (sorry, couldn't resist). Not sure what Tom's criteria is for "stylish" but to this eye it has all the charm of a hotel lobby. The bar is seriously huge.

The bartenders know how to mix a drink, and said drinks are very reasonable if you catch them during happy hour. The miniburgers were a very good rendition of this played out genre. Plump little beef morsels, perfectly medium rare and served with bacon and faintly smoky barbecue sauce on tiny brioche buns. Fries on the side were cut thin, crispy and hot. The regular menu had some more interesting sounding choices but fast and relatively inexpensive was what I was looking for. Two drinks, burgers and >20% tip was $27.00.

So, not a place I would go out of my way for, but if you're going to an event at MCI it's got competent bar food and a nice beer selection. And the entrance from the restaurant directly into the arena is mightly handy.

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Wizards game.  Drinking before AND after, not sure where yet.  Could be IndeBleu (short rib samosas!) or Rosa Mexicano (guacamole and a beer).

Whatever you do, don't be lazy like me and stay inside at drinx. Was there last night during the Caps game and was sorely disappointed, even with the cheesburger.

Edited by bilrus
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I saw the mini-burgers being served after I had ordered my full-size burger between the first and second periods of last nights' Caps game. Maybe they were better than the one I ended up with?

My seat looking at the grill let me see that (at least during the game) the burgers appear to be pre-grilled to a certain point and then finished on the grill to order. My cheesburger came with "buttermilk battered onion rings" that would have been better on top of a gloppy Thanksgiving green bean casserole and a cloying tomato compote that provided most of the overwhelming flavor on the sandwich. The caesar salad tasted mostly of mayonnaise.

I must say though that the service was lightning fast - something to be appreciated when trying to get back in to the game. And when you want to get the meal over as qucikly as possible.

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Not so impressed with drinx. :huh: I went there with three friends for a quick bite after one drink at the oh-so-crowded (and generally unappealing, IMO) 7th Street Clyde's. We had a hard time agreeing on a place, and I recalled that another crew of people we know were having happy hour at drinx. Me and my stupid mouth.

When we were seated in the dining room, we were one of maybe five occupied tables. Eek. Not a great sign. I didn't feel all that hungry so I focused on the appetizer section of the menu. We decided to share the goat cheese and artichoke dip, served with pita, which was pretty good. It arrived looking like a small crock of onion soup with its pleasantly golden crust. We made short work of it due to its size so your own party of four or more may want to order two.

For my "main" I had the chicken won-ton spring roll or whatever its nonsense name was. I looked at the web site, but unfortunately there isn't even the hint of a menu there. Bizarre. The crust was overwhelmingly flour-y, and the filling wasn't all that tasty either. There were slivers of carrot and skinny, skinny green peppers as well as cabbage and...corn? That was weird. I didn't even finish one of the two rolls. Yuck. Just bad flavors and textures overall.

What I should have ordered: the miniburgers. I took a bite of my friend's and they were delicious, as were the fries that came with. I thought I wasn't hungry enough to tackle three miniburgers, but that was a major error on my part.

Our server was very pleasant and never disappeared for too long. Kudos to her. The space, to me, is already starting to look slightly neglected. Very modern in its design, it just felt sloppy in some respects.

After dinner, I moseyed over to the bar to join my other friends where I could not, for the life of me, explain to the bartender that I wanted a glass of the verdejo. This wine is listed on the wines by the glass menu and I had enjoyed it at our table in the dining room, but he just wasn't getting it so I told him "anything white and not chardonnay." :lol: Wine by the glass probably isn't your best value at drinx (I believe prices start at $8 and go into double-digits which isn't cool at a place like this) but I wanted wine, damn it.

My bottom line is that I will only return to drinx out of desperation - every other place in the area will have to be full to capacity before I'll consider it an option.

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I am working in the Labor Department and it is located in a quite dead zone (3rd and D st.) for good restaurants. Probably Bistro Bis, Le Paradou, Capital Grille and Charlie Palmer's are the best one near us. My company provides a lunch quarterly basis so my project manager asked me where to go with 30 people. We tried District Chophouse & Brewery but they only accept 20 people for regular table and can provide a private room with surcharge. The second try was Charlie Palmer's but they don't accept more than 20 people either. We have been in the Capital Brewery before so skipped it. The third try was Drinx.

They simply accepted us. So there was a lunch today. I had appetizer portion of Jumbo lump crabcake.

The taste was saltier than I expected but texture was fine. One of my colleague swallowed 10 oz. burger and he liked it. The vice president of my company liked his chicken and avocado club sandwich. It was pretty successful for a group lunch.

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Charlie Palmer's doesn't accept more than 20, or doesn't accept more than 20 without a surcharge? My GF's company's holiday dinner is being held at Charlie Palmer (I'm pretty sure...) and they usually have a group of about 40-50 including the SOs.
I was told that they don't accept more than 20 people. The manager didn't mention surcharge.

Maybe they have another option for holidays...

I would have suggested Rasika. Drinx...bah. Not so good.
I thought about Rasika, too but I didn't want to use my preference for the company lunch. Also there were some issues I didn't mention on the board.
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