18 Apr 2012

First Bite: Boundary Road

Guest contributor Micky is a Capitol Hill resident and foodie who writes restaurant reviews of the DC area and beyond.   This post also appeared on her blog What Micky Eats…

Boundary Road, along H St NE, has garnered a lot of attention recently with a visit by POTUS in early March 2012. Serving seasonal American cuisine, Boundary Road’s Chef/Owner, Brad Walker, is a veteran of Central Michel Richard, Proof, Cashion’s Eat Place, and Fiola. His experience shines through in the menu and influx of happy customers.  Closest Metro is Union Station.

Online reservations are only offered via Urbanspoon and are necessary if you don’t want to wait long for a table.  Otherwise there is a nice expansive bar in the middle of the room that is a great alternative to meet up with friends for drinks before eating dinner.  The soaring brick walls of a long-ago barber shop and a repurposed box spring for a steely chandelier are unique aspects of the interior. In the back of the long dining room, a big exposed window shows the workings of the kitchen.

Our server, Jason, was relaxed and gave us the appropriate amount of time to peruse the menu.  Keith ordered a beer to start, while I ordered I’m Thinking About Getting a Vespa.  True to its Italophile name, it is a glamorous drink featuring Italian aperitifs (Cocchi Americano and Aperol), blood orange juice and sparkling wine.  It was very bright and reminded me more of a brunch beverage, but would also be perfect for the approaching warmer months.  For starters, we shared the small portion of the pierogis.  Chef Walker got the idea from his mother-in-law in Pennsylvania, lightening her tradition by using quark (curd cheese) instead of sour cream inside the boiled dumplings, which are served over heat-softened onions.  Being very familiar with these Polish treats, our expectations were slightly higher than average.  Although they had great flavor, like other reviewers, we also felt the pierogis were more like a savory ravioli.  The wrappers were just way too thin than traditional pierogis.  Nevertheless, we easily polished them off while waiting for our main courses to arrive.  And wait we did – enough for me to notice, but not enough of a bother to flag down our server or anything, since we were not in a rush and were enjoying our own conversation.

I ordered the halibut, which was served over a Spanish stew that featured octopus, mussels, and one lonely clam.  The sauce was more watery than I expected, yet had flavor and substance from the potatoes and celery.  Two pieces of charred bread came with and I messily soaked up the broth with the bread.  Our server noticed and offered to bring a few more pieces of bread, which I happily accepted.  For some reason the char and the slight salty butter on the bread gave that extra needed seasoning to the stew.  Keith ordered  the same main dish as Mr. & Mrs. Obama and found the meat to be cooked at a nice medium-rare temp with interesting flavor from the chestnut and the charon sauce.  Even though I ate all the bread with my meal, I was still wanting of something more so we ordered the house made zeppoles for dessert along with a side of one of their gelatos.  The little donuts were so light and airy.  The cinnamon sugar coating gave just the right amount of sweetness to end the meal.  The vanilla bourbon gelato was sinfully creamy and flavorful – Keith practically licked the bowl clean – and was the perfect compliment to the warm donuts. Overall, the service at Boundary Road is attentive but still laid back and unobtrusive.  The food is slightly rustic with quality seasonal ingredients.  I look forward to seeing new items on the menu and would come back in the future to try them.

Total Rating: 3.95
Food: 4, Price: 3.5, Service: 4, Ambiance: 4, Accessibility: 5

What I ate:

Quark and Black Pepper Pierogi
Paprika Dusted Flounder
over a Spanish fisherman’s stew
with Vanilla Bourbon Gelato

Plus Keith ate:

Grilled Hanger Steak
with chestnut puree, served over spicy kale,
with a “sauce charon,” similar to a Bearnaise

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