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Logan Circle -- Restaurant Hotspot?


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Actually, the vanilla cream with fish is very hip, see the French Laundry and Eve. The banana part kind of pushes it over the top, though.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Some friends of mine called yesterday, inviting me to join them for dinner. At Merkado. "What do I do?" I asked myself, desiring to hang out with said friends, but not insult them by suggesting another venue. I thought of the trainwreck of a menu that had been discussed here. I had a flashback to the word "ConFusion." But in the end I kept my mouth shut. Good thing - turns out my friends know someone in the ownership group.

And it wasn't a bad experience in the end. I liked most of what I ate. It's not fancy food, but the space is pretty nice. And if you're gay (I am not, thus I received not one lingering glance!! :hmmm: ), it's a hopping, cruise-y scene, even on a Sunday night.

After one glass of wine at the bar, our table for four was ready. Not sure if my friends' knowing anyone there sped things up or not. The place was very busy.

We were greeted promptly by our friendly. I cringed inwardly as she described the "Asian food with Latin influences...or vice versa" but gave her points for enthusiasm. She let us know about some menu changes and comparing the menu online to the one we saw, there have definitely been some edits (overall, the overwhelming menu has been scaled back from what I can tell - a good thing).

What we ate:

Complimentary corn chips and salsa (good salsa, not spicy but full of flavor)

Cuban Pork Quesadilla w/ Pepper Jack & Spicy Piquillo Salsa 8.00

Rice & Beans 4.00

Charred Asparagus 4.00

I wasn't tremendously hungry so I ordered an appetizer plus two sides (for sharing). The preparation was a little different than I expected in that the quesadilla was sitting in a vast ocean of sauce. Fortunately it was an inoffensive sauce; there was just a ton of it. I would have liked to have been able to pay more attention to the nice stewed/shredded pork inside - if I were to order this again, I'd definitely request that they go light on the sauce or put it on the side.

The rice and beans were...interesting and I think I liked it. Arriving looking like a bowl of Chinese-style fried rice, there were three kinds of beans (navy, black and pinto) mixed in with the rice. It was a little dry - I was wishing one of the many accoutremants on the table (hot sauce, ponzu sauce, separate grinders for "Hawaiian" sea salt" and pepper) were soy sauce and a little moisture would have helped.

The asparagus was awesome - some butter, a hint of vinaigrette and random flecks of salt.

My friends' dishes:

Grilled Squid Stuffed w/ Crabmeat & Shrimp in Coconut Curry 8.75

She raved, loving the dish and eating every bite.

"Asopao" – Puerto Rican Paella For 1 - 17.50 or For 2 - 33.00

Seafood, Chorizo, Pork & Chicken w/ Rice & Beans & Siracha Crema

He also was quite happy, but every once in awhile, he'd pull out a random hunk of seafood and say "what is this?"

Steak Frite Nuevo Latino" - Skirt Steak in Mojo w/ Boniato Fries & Xuxu Slaw 17.50

Great textured beef. Instead of boniato fries, though, the steak was served with fried chunks of plaintain.

For dessert we had tres leches with sour berry compote. It was ok, but I wasn't oohing and ahing over it the way I have been for some recent desserts (see Tabard Inn, see Colorado Kitchen).

The bottom line: I won't be adding Merkado to my list of favorites anytime soon, but I won't dissuade the curious from checking it out either.

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  • 1 month later...
Heading to a play in the Logan Circle vicinity tonight.  Where to dine beforehand?

I have already been to Merkado (duh, see above) and I ate at Logan Tavern way back when.  Rice is an option.  What should we consider?

As a Logan resident, I believe that Rice is the only option if you want something good close by the Studio Theater.


Ristorante Tosca

Washington, DC

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Ate at Rice last Saturday before a performance at Studio (Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants -- incredible show!) and were happy with it. The cashew chicken was really excellent and my companion seemed to enjoy the beef rolls (especially the sauce they came with.) I agree that the portions are on the smaller side, but it was a nice meal and very convenient to the theater.

Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

Pop culture commentary at Intrepid Media

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We had a surprisingly good meal at Logan Tavern before seeing [all of the naked men in] Take Me Out. I thought we'd have a drink there and then have food at Rice, but when I arrived, my friend had already scored an outdoor table, menus and wine so...there we were.

Nothing fancy, but it was good. I had the pork loin and my friend had the bonless fried chicken. Both come with a complimentary mixed green salad. Liked it all. Inexpensive too - I think it was $65 including entrees, three glasses of wine, tax and tip. The service was pleasantly speedy without feeling rushed.

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