Restaurant 3 Bar & Grill

Written by on May 4, 2012 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

( – Clarendon neighborhood, Arlington, Virginia

How I heard of this place: Nearly one year ago, at our bacon-themed engagement party, my new friend Alyssa (now knowing our love for bacon) recommended a place called Restaurant 3. Each time we walked by the restaurant in Clarendon, we would make a note to come back and try it. Time and again, our mental notes went unheeded. That is, until we were ready to enjoy our first meal with our new friends, Pete & Ariana!

Type of cuisine: A place that purchases organic bacon, smokes it in-house and serves it, thick-cut, in almost every dish is our type of restaurant! The Creole-style, Southern fare with an upscale pub feel truly appeals to almost any crowd, including families with small children. “We came up with the name “3” for a number of reasons. This was the 3rd restaurant in our family but most importantly because we provide the 3 essential ingredients for a great night out? Good Food, Good Drink, and Good Times. Our chef, Brian Robinson, cooks from his heart. He prepares comfortable food, done right. Simple with lots of flavor, the core of his menu is influenced by Brian’s grandfather, John “Dickey” Robinson, who went to culinary school in New Orleans, and introduced him the to the joy of Soulful Southern cooking. Early on, the most valuable lesson Brian learned was to “use the freshest ingredients that you can find.” Whether its his fish being flown in daily from Hawaii or working with local purveyors, Brian holds true to that lesson. We developed this restaurant around the 1909 Brunswick-Balke-Collender bar that you see when you first enter the building. It is truly an American masterpiece. The authentic piece was purchased in the small town of Russell, Kansas by owner, Greg Cahill. We offer 70 different beers and over 25 wines by the glass from around the World.”

Ambiance: We walked in, through the corner doors of Restaurant 3, under the neon 3 overhead, and found that we were entering a bright space, lit with natural lighting through the large windows. Thick, boxy shelves held bottles of alcohol on glass, reflecting more light. Two, young men stand at the hosts podium, in front of a circular mirror, with another large 3 printed over it. The large bar, with seating at the bar, itself, and on raised stools at high tables throughout the long space to our right hosts the majority of patrons at this happy hour time (6:30p.m.). Arched ceiling above, in burnt umber with white beams, lights cascading from ceiling and large windows facing out create a bright and lively feel to the interior of the bar. The red, hexagonal-tiles on the floor give a whimsical feel to the otherwise simple and sleek bar space. We made our way to the waiting area and enjoyed the cushioned booth-like seating until the rest of our party arrived. Overhead, Tiffany’s-esque light covers dimmed the ceiling lighting, giving a pink glow to the ceiling, itself. Once our entire party had arrived, we were escorted through the doors to the right of the host podium and into a square space, relatively small, but very open. The pale yellow walls sparsely decorated with black and white photographs of kichen-scapes (a carton of two-dozen eggs, a wall-hanging knife track, a stack of dinner plates etc.) and track lighting give way to a second, smaller back room, separated by doors, with blinds against the windows. Four rounded, booths with cushioned seating and additional chairs opposite created the inner seating area for the room, surrounded by tables and chairs against three of the four walls (the fourth leading to the kitchen.

What I ordered: On this first visit, and only days before my husband decided he wanted to start a strictly vegetarian diet (at home), we knew we had to go all out!

Bread Basket

After downing the mini cornbread muffins and rustic seed bread with whipped butter for the table, we placed our orders. Chris started with a glass of Sprite ($2.50), which he enjoyed with our two appetizers: Bleu Cheese Chips ($10), thick-cut potato, homemade potato chips topped with Port Reyes Bleu crumbles in a cream sauce and a generous sprinkling of thick-cut chunks of house-cured bacon,

Potato Chips

as well as the Bacon on a Stick! ($6), four skewered, thick cuts of house-cured and smoked bacon topped with a maple and brown sugar marinade.

Bacon on a Stick

To even it out, we also shared the Spinach Salad ($8), with eggs, bacon (of course), red onion, goat cheese, and a warm bacon vinaigrette.

Spinach Salad

One of our dining companions selected the Wedge salad ($8) to start, iceberg lettuce, house-cured bacon, tomato, and Point Reyes bleu cheese.

Wedge Salad

For our main entrees, our smallest dining companion (3-year old, Nora) went with the Mac ‘n Cheese (off of the children’s menu), baked in its own small dish, penne pasta heaped with melted cheesey goodness.

Kids Mac 'n Cheese

I ordered the special of the day: Blackened Rockfish ($22), served over red beans and rice, topped with a fresh crawfish salsa.

Fish & Crawfish Salsa

Chris and Ariana both chose the Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf ($19 each) served with mushroom gravy covered mashed potatoes and two fried onion straws.

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf

Pete went with the 3’s Burger ($12), ground beef mixed with Andouille sausage, caramelized onion, house-cured bacon and cheddar cheese, served with French fries.

Burger & Stuff

And Todd, our last adult dining compaion, went with the Smoked Chicken Salad ($14) with pulled smoked chicken, roasted apples, and mesclun, tossed in a cider vinaigrette.

Smoked Chicken Salad

Pete and Chris could not turn down dessert after seeing the menu, and I, of course, had to help them eat their desserts! Pete went with the Pecan Pie ($6), a densely pecan-aplenty pie, with a thin crust and little gooeyness, served with vanilla bean ice cream and topped with caramel.

Pecan Pie

Chris chose the Bacon Studded Waffle ($8) topped with maple bacon ice cream.

Bacon Studded Waffle

What I loved: I most enjoyed the Bleu Cheese Chips, pungent, greasy, salty and hearty. The meatloaf was thick and delicious, especially in combination with the chunky mashed potatoes and gravy.

Meatloaf Part 2

My own dish, the Rockfish, light and flavorful, was the perfect meal when paired with the rich, decadent appetizers we enjoyed.

Why I loved it: Our server was very friendly and knowledgable, had great suggestions from the menu and did everything he could (and more) to make our visit enjoyable and ensure the quality and freshness of the food at our table.

Cost: Average to high ($16-$26 per dinner entree)

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