Sometimes D.C.’s best food can be found hidden in a back alley, at a Korean eatery that still sports outdoor murals of former French bistros, and upstairs in a haven for Balkan food lovers. What’s important is you take the time to discover them and don’t just focus on the places that get all the media buzz. This week’s menus offer something different and even include a discount or two.
Ambar, Bayou Bakery, Brasserie Beck, and Chef Geoff’s
If your summer vacation splurge meant sticking to a few austerity measures at home, it’s time to learn the ABCs of living well on less. We suggest you take advantage of the half price wine specials at Ambar, Bayou Bakery (both locations), Brasserie Beck, and Chef Geoff’s. Every Monday at Ambar you may sample wine from Croatia, Bosnia, and other tasty parts of the Balkans; Bayou’s specials are available every Thursday, while Tuesdays are the day to get select bottles for half price at Brasserie Beck. And at all of Chef Geoff’s places it’s always Wine Wednesday with half off prices.
Finding a Korean restaurant that serves authentic, appetizing food in a fun atmosphere with fab service is right under your nose at Bul in Adam’s Morgan. The name, which means fire in Korean, perfectly describes the kind of food cooked with fire people associate with comfort food in Korea. Dig into two parts of the menu for your first visit, but be sure to start with one of the best things you’ll ever eat: the seafood pancake. Then you will know what paradise is like and can begin exploring the small bites and fried section of the menu.
Burger Tap & Shake
It’s football season and for a lot of gridiron fans, that means it’s time for a big meaty burger at Burger Tap & Shake. Their handmade patties and thick creamy shakes will sustain you through a full day of sideline snack cravings. This month’s burger is the Are You Ready for Some Football and it may come on a bun but is definitely a riff on classic Buffalo wings. It’s only $8 bucks and is made with a char grilled chicken patty topped with crumbled blue cheese, a slaw made with ranch dressing, carrots and celery, and Frank’s Louisiana Hot Sauce. Cool your mouth down with a lemon pistachio shake and you’ll feel like you scored a touchdown.
Pitmasters Back Alley BBQ
The quiet Spring Valley neighborhood isn’t exactly a hotbed of culinary originality, but savvy cue hounds know to follow the smoke to the alley behind Wagshal’s for some killer barbecue with all the fixings. No dining goes on here, but you can’t just show up. Order online or call and just pick up your order and head home. The man behind Pitmaster’s Back Alley BBQ is Brian Fuchs and his menu includes classics like Mason Dixon fried okra, collards, mac and cheese, and all sorts of meats, St. Louis ribs, and things smoked and barbecued with sauces too.