My Brother’s Place

Written by on October 24, 2011 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

( – Capitol Hill neighborhood, Washington, DC

How I heard of this place: A friend of mine had just arrived in DC from Bellingham, Washington, and we wanted to spend the evening sharing dinner and catching up during her short stay in the area. Our first three ideas were poo-pooed away by the concierge at her hotel, the Phoenix Park, for being too far away. Instead, he recommended Charlie Palmer Steakhouse. We were hoping to spend less than the $30 minimum per head at CP, but walked the four blocks, anyway. After seeing an $81 appetizer (the first on the menu), we opted out, and looked at our smarty-pants phones for a new eating destination. We happened to stumble upon My Brother’s Place, a hole-in-the-wall bar/pub next to a Bar & Grill and a Japanese sushi house at the end of a dead end street near the Capitol building.

Type of cuisine: The pub version of everything from Shrimp & Grits to wings, nachos, spinach & artichoke dip, as well as sandwiches, including a turkey wrap, grilled cheese, a garden burger, a crab cake sandwich, sliders and a pesto chicken panini. Not to mention the pizzas, calzones, grilled salmon, meatloaf, pasta and beer battered fish & chips.

Ambiance: Closer to the sidewalk, an outdoor patio, covered in tarp-like, see-through plastic walls hosted a handful of diners which we decided were employees rather than paying patrons enticing passerby. inside, a dark room with a multitude of neon lights promoting in-house beer and other such alcoholic beverages, the latticed ceiling is barely noticeable. Television screens are placed in two of the four corners of the insanely rectangular space, with one directly behind the bartender, showing football games and the news. Dark, wooden tables and chairs as well as dark green faux-leather booth seating is made available to us, while two, lone men sit at the bar in wooden, backed stools – a taller version of the chairs at each table. One man enjoyed a mountain of tater tots on his plate while the other played a version of the game Zuma on one of the Play Nakid touch-screen monitors. The facade of walls brick, with wooden frames above the booth benches and a white, framed doorway maintained the dark and dismal decor of this sparsely populated joint.

What I ordered: Being Monday, we were able to enjoy 1/2 off appetizers and among the four of us decided on the Nachos Grande (originally $7.50), tortilla chips served with melted cheese, refried beans, jalapenos, black olives, pico de gayo, guacamole and sour cream, and the Spinach & Artichoke Dip ($7.95 prior to discount), served with tortilla chips and a sprinkle of pico de gallo.

Nachos Grande & Spinach-Artichoke Dip

Our dining companions each enjoyed a bottomless Coke (2.50) and a Diet Coke ($2.50) with their meals. For our main entrees, Chris chose the Cajun Penne Pasta ($9.95), with chicken (for an additional $3.50) almost immediately. His dish included penne pasta sauteed with a powder seasoning of Creole spice, diced tomatoes and sliced mushrooms.

Chicken Penne Pasta

Seated next to Chris, our new friend selected the French Dip sandwich ($9.95), thinly sliced roast beef, served warm with melted Swiss cheese, au-jus and horseradish sauce, served with a pile of tater tots!

French Dip with Taters

My long-time friend and dining companion seated next to me enjoyed a Cobb Salad ($9.50 for the full portion), including a blend of leaf and iceberg lettuces, topped with a sliced, hard-boiled egg, bacon strips, bleu cheese, tomatoes and cucumbers, served with ranch dressing.

Cobb Salad

I went with a Calzone ($9.95) because it was also served with a Greek salad and Pomodoro sauce. The Pep & Saus (pepperoni & sausage) came served with ricotta and mozzarella cheese blend, served in a glass dish with three small concave areas for each: marinara sauce, very oily pesto and a dusting of red pepper flakes.

Calzone Minus Greek Salad

I realize now, however, that my Greek salad was never offered, and I have a feeling it would have been the highlight of my meal.

What I loved: My favorite part of the food this evening was the spinach & artichoke dip. Next, the nachos. The pasta and calzone, both of which I tried, left much to be desired – by way of flavor, texture, stuff inside and size.

Why I loved it: It was a simple, convenient location for us to dine; quiet due to lack of patrons, and no one asked us to leave before we were ready.

Cost: Low to average ($9.95 – $18.95 per dinner entree)

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