For those of us who have lived in the area for some time now, we know that the Foggy Bottom neighborhood has not exactly been grounds for great dining options. Lots of small places aimed at college students, but it never provided great reason for foodies to venture over in that direction unless we were forced to for reasons related to the hospital or the Kennedy Center. And I actually had the pleasure (can you sense my sarcasm?) of working in the Watergate building for four long years and I can tell you that it offered zero lunch options for those of us stranded out there. So, I find it amazing to now see this new vibrant "mini city" filled with countless options such as Whole Foods, Roti, Sweetgreen, Circa, Devon and Blakely, Burger Tap and Shake, and District Commons. What a great way to revive the neighborhood and really put Foggy Bottom back on the map. I met a friend for drinks last night at the bar at District Commons and was wowed by the size of the restaurant. It's large and open, the kitchen is mainly visible to the diners, and the bar area includes multiple different seating options for those just looking for a light snack or quick cocktail. My friend Jenn and I were immediately impressed with the service as the waiter was very knowledgeable about wines and recommended a buttery Chardonnay that we both loved. We were off to a good start, and the restaurant was bustling with many professionals, students, and tourists. A great mix.
The menu offers craveable American classics including a raw bar, flatbreads, a burger made of shortribs, vegetable pot pie, shrimp and grits, steaks, and crab cakes. But, the one thing that really jumped out at me was the three different preparations of mussels: red, white, and blue. All three have interesting ingredients, but we decided to split the white mussels which were made with house Lemoncello, oven cured tomatoes, and lemon thyme cream. They were served in a beautiful white cast iron Le Creuset dish and as soon as the lid was removed the aroma was hard to resist. The mussels were huge in size and the sauce was so creamy and worked beautifully with the sweetness of the tomatoes. We were also served a homemade loaf of bread with the mussels which was piping hot and was perfect for soaking up the sauce.
The entire experience at District Commons was a great one. Excellent service, friendly and helpful staff, delicious food, great wine, and a really comfortable and pleasant space for spending time with friends, family, or even colleagues. Chef and Owner Jeff Tunks was walking around the restaurant and checking in with guests which is always a great sign. I have high hopes for District Commons and I plan to be back very soon... in fact, that shortrib burger is definitely calling my name.