Summer on H Street
It’s summer on H Street NE, and there’s plenty to do. Whether you want to seek out new places or simply lounge outdoors with a cool beer, the following are solid bets to fill your long summer days and nights.
Sally’s Middle Name & Akae Open on H Street NE
Sally’s Middle Name (http://sallysmiddlename.com, 1320 H Street NE) recently opened its doors and it’s already drawing crowds. Sally’s menu consists entirely of small plates that can be easily shared among tablemates. The focus is fresh and local ingredients, meaning the menu is driven by season and availability. The menu changes daily and is written on the wall (and posted on their website) rather than printed up and distributed to diners in the typical fashion.
The selections I enjoyed were simple yet well prepared and flavorful. Because the menu changes so frequently it’s best to arrive with an open mind. Among the dishes I tried were the smoked duck with mint and nouc cham ($12), sautéed asparagus with garlic and lemon ($5), and corned beef with sauerkraut, arugula, and bread ($9). The corned beef and the asparagus proved themselves the standouts, but I would order any of those plates if I saw them on the menu again. Menu items generally range from around $4 for a plate of mixed housemade pickles, to $15 for grilled swordfish with chipotle cherry caramel.
Owner Aphra Adkins told me they will always have at least a couple (likely more based on the menus I’ve seen) of vegan plates available. Adkins put it this way “One of our goals is to make sure that we are able to accommodate as many dietary restrictions as possible – while maintaining a menu that reflects the culinary creativity of the kitchen.”
The restaurant now serves beer and wine. During my visit I enjoyed a blueberry shrub and a ginger limeade, both of which were refreshing on a hot night. Sally’s dessert menu includes a rotating selection of housemade ice creams. Recent flavors include mint, Szechuan peppercorn, lemon almond, and blueberry.
Sally’s is closed on Tuesdays, but serves dinner the other six days (5:30 P.M. to 10:30 P.M. Sunday-Thursday and 5:30 P.M. to 11:00 P.M. Friday and Saturday). They recently launched brunch service that runs from 10:30 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. and is served Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. They have plenty of highchairs to accommodate younger diners. Please note that Sally’s employs an 18% service change on all checks (shared among non-owner staff from both front and back of the house) in lieu of tips.
Sally’s isn’t the only new addition to that building. The second floor is occupied by the newly opened lifestyle boutique Akae (http://www.akaedc.com, 1320 H Street NE Suite B). Aphra Adkins is a clothing designer and her collection is exclusively sold and carried at the boutique. You’ll also find a variety of home goods in stock.
Bardo Brew-Pub Offers Fun in the Sun and Fido’s Invited
Bardo Brew-Pub’s (http://www.bardodc.com, 1200 Bladensburg Road NE) making quite the name for itself. Recently included in Time Out’s list of the 22 Best Beer Gardens in America, Bardo currently offers 14 different brews on tap for your quaffing pleasure. These range from the Tatonka Oak Aged Stout and the Black IPA Dry Hopped, to the decidedly more summery Marion Berry Ale and the Ginger Lager. You can also order their White Lightnin’ Barley Wine or even a gruit (a very old style of beer that uses a mixture of herbs in place of hops).
Aside from their beverage offerings, Bardo is also popular for their extremely dog friendly attitude. As long as your dog is well-behaved, he or she is welcome to join the fun. There’s generally an impromptu pack to join, and resident canine, Bardawg, is always around. Humans in an active mood can play cornhole, while those looking to relax can simply soak up some rays at one of the picnic tables. Bardo doesn’t serve food, but there are sometimes food trucks about, and the bartender has menus for local restaurants that will deliver.
Krampus in July Tiki Party at Little Miss Whiskey’s
You may well be familiar with the annual Krampusnacht festivities and parade that take place along the H Street Corridor each December. For the uninitiated, Krampus is a horned Alpine goat-man beast who roams the land seeking out naughty children he might spirit away. During the parade, costumed revelers take to the street to delight onlookers of all ages. If you have ever wondered what Krampus does in the off-season, we now have an answer. He attends tiki parties like the one that will take place July 16th at Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar (http://www.littlemisswhiskeys.com, 1104 H Street NE).
IMM Thai Brings New Flavors to H Street NE
IMM Thai (http://www.immthai.com/dc, 1360 H Street NE) is running an abbreviated menu during its soft opening, but it looks promising. For years area residents have puzzled over the H Street NE Corridor’s conspicuous lack of a dedicated Thai restaurant. If you craved Japanese, Mexican, Taiwanese, Belgian, Pakistani, Korean, Cambodian, or even British food you were in luck. Not so for those pining for a full menu of Thai cuisine.
That’s all changed with the opening of IMM Thai. Now you can get you kaprow chicken or green curry tofu right down the street. This is the second location for IMM Thai, which has served food in Annandale for years. Entrées at their new location range in price from $13-19, with appetizers falling between $7 and $10.
For more on what’s abuzz on, and around, H Street NE, you can visit my blog http://frozentropics.blogspot.com. You can send me tips or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.