Putting LeDroit Park on the Map
If you follow any sort of DC chatter, i.e. blogs, Facebook, newspapers, etc., you have probably heard the buzz about The Royal. I decided to hop on the trendy train and check it out on it's first ever Friday service.
Ever since The Royal has been on my radar, I keep hearing that it's in LeDroit Park. "What the heck is LeDroit Park?" has been my response ever since. Well, it's a two-block neighborhood and will probably become known for this small, neighborhood bar in no time.
As you walk in, you'll notice that it has limited seating and a very active open kitchen. There is no host/hostess -- this left me and my two friends confused for a few minutes as we walked aimlessly around the small space and up into it's four-table loft area. However, we were able to get a seat at the bar and were excited to try some of the Fancy Cocktails.
Sadly we did have to wait almost 15 minutes for cocktails, even with having a seat at the bar. Granted, it was their first weekend open to the public, but I was left anxious and confused. When my libation finally arrived, I was very happy with my cocktail choice: Passion of the Spice, a mix of milagro blanco, jalapeño, passion fruit and lime. The spice was NICE, leaving a nice tingle in the back of my throat with a zing of lime at the end.
The second cocktail I tried: Ashes to Ashes lists el dorado 8yr, guava, mole, ancho, and mezcal as the ingredients. I asked the bartender to describe it and he responded "it's earthy." I was not convinced - and the drink was pink and tasted like water and guava... the opposite of earthy. Stick to the Passion of the Spice.
Food was tasty. The South American cuisine came out quickly and was a perfect place to try lots of Colombian inspired small plates. My favorites were the grilled avocado with red quinoa, lentils, and house vinaigrette; and the grilled squid - perfectly charred and tender - this is how squid should be served, branch out of your fried calamari comfort zone. The stuffed arepa did not impress me, it was a little too dense and the filling needed seasoning and tang.
Everything else was great, and I would definitely come back for a sip and a bite. The atmosphere is inviting with a warm glow from the kitchen and a no frills attitude (aka no servers or hosts). If you're capable of ordering at the bar and enjoying a laid back atmosphere with small plates and creative cocktails, The Royal is the place for you!