Rod Stewart is a Storm Trooper
The Airedale opened in Columbia Heights this summer and is such a breath of fresh air! Literally - they have a beautiful patio on the main floor and two patios upstairs, for dining al fresco in the front or just hanging out at community tables for some beers and bites in the back. I checked it out for happy hour and ended up staying for dinner. Keep reading to find out why!
Following a long week, I sat at the bar and promptly ordered a Tito's dirty martini - despite the expansive beer list - I needed something a little stronger. The sun was just about to set and the bartender shook up the perfect cocktail. I perused the menu and was transported back in time to my trip to Paris in 2013 - an uncomplicated menu with variety and unique eats.
My first thought? One of each, please! My friend joined me and we basically did just that for the happy hour noshes. Happy hour is Tues-Fri from 4-7pm and it's $1 off EVERYTHING. House-made pickles and charcuterie - the duck prosciutto is sinful - decadent cheeses and a mushroom tartine whet our appetites for our first round of ordering.
I am addicted to pickles, and these house-made brined beauties packed some punch. The pickles were a perfect combination of a sour dill and a sweet bread-and-butter pickle: starts off mild and slightly sweet, and then kicks you with some sour and a hint of heat at the end. Super addicting.
The charcuterie plate was mastered with accoutrements of a honey drizzle, course grain mustard and corn nuts! A fun change-up to the oh-so-trendy marcona almonds. The food speaks for itself at The Airedale - no ribbons and bows, no frills. The mushroom tartine might not look like much, but once you bite into it fireworks go off in your mouth. It was just perfect. Savory umami from the mushrooms and caramelized red onion, with a fatty fruity bite from the ripe avocado and some tang from the balsamic drizzle, what more could you ask for?
I really love that the chef presents the food in the easiest way possible for me to get it into my mouth without much hassle (yes I am posting this photo of me devouring a bratwurst because it shows how hangry I was even though I look like Quasimodo). After all, the flavor is what I remember most, not how fancy the plate looks.
Following happy hour, we moved upstairs to hang out at the other bar with fabulous bartender Kareem. He pointed us in the direction of the bratwurst, the croque madame and some damn good frites. All keeping up with the "flavor first" mentality, the sandwich and brat were all sorts of decadence without any nonsense. From perfectly cooked runny egg toppers, to pretzel buns and beer cheese - our happy-hour-turned-into-dinner was fantastic. The portion sizes are great for sharing or even eating your way through almost the entire menu, like we did.
One regret: we forgot to try the Old Overholt soft-serve!! But you bet your airedale I'll be back for more!
Three Hangry Stars for The Airedale
*Most photos courtesy of Robin Dienel