Here’s my problem. I get stuck in a rut when it comes to restaurants. You’d think with my profession, I’m the most adventurous person, however, as we get (ahem) older, we tend to (or so I’ve heard) gravitate toward the most comfortable and familiar. You know what I mean. ROUTINE. Gracious, after reading that word, I feel like a grandmother. Hey, I do love traveling and when you leave your home base, anything goes. It’s not like I totally lost my sense of adventure, thank you very much.Â However, where the heart is, we/you/I can’t help but shift back into … ROUTINE.
So. I stepped out of the box last night. The challenge:Â A double date with a fabulously brilliant couple who talk about travel, well, they do two huge trips a year and with their work load most likely have passports which have quadruple-lapped mine.Â On top of it, they are this cool couple. He cooks elaborate meals for parties in their homes and she is one of the most stylish people I’ve met in a long time. I could not pick a ROUTINE place. No. Not this time.
So, I did a shout out on Facebook and also to a friend in the restaurant PR game, asking for people’s favorite new restaurants which they’ve tried. The overwhelming majority said Mintwood Place in Adams Morgan. Now, I live in Arlington and I’m not adverse to getting to Adams Morgan. And seriously, after spending time in LA, we have no excuse to not get from Point A to Point Z after what they have to go through, goodness. So I called the restaurant in the afternoon of Monday. Got no answer (because they are closed Monday), but I did go online and went through their web booking process via CityEats and easily got a 645 pm or 830pm ressie for 4. We chose the former.
It being August, Jason and I got there early (due to the No Traffic Gods) and walked into a rather empty (615pm) setting, but the hostess and maitre d’ were more than welcoming and almost expectant.Â It was a nice feeling. We went to the bar and perused the menu. Inquiring a mixologist of some of the drink menu’s entertaining names is important.Â You never know what’s what unless you see Pimm’s Cup (that’s been their most popular this summer) or some other super familiar ingredients, but sometime reading a cocktail menu looks like a version of a Julia Child menu gone rogue.Â So ask for help in making the decision. If it’s not too busy, the mixologists and bartenders enjoy guiding you.Â I chose the Smokin at the Bayou first and later the Farmer Pimm.Â But, note.Â I asked for opinion from the servers.
By 645 when we sat down, the place had picked up and even the outdoor patio was starting to see its fair share of action.Â It was after all, a rare mild August evening in DC.Â We sat in a booth, the lighting was natural sunlight but over time, it became a homey yellow hued light, playing nicely off of the white washed walls.Â Farmy, natural, let’s pretend we aren’t in Adams Morgan for just an hour or two-comes to mind.Â Our server was cheery without being overbearing and was helpful in answering questions.Â Believe me, when you get two couples engaged in deep conversation, it’s not easy to pry them apart so you can 1) take their orders and 2) ask them if they want dessert.
The menu is broken into Nibbles, Starters, Main, Sides and Sweets.Â My three table mates chose the bacon cheeseburger with fries, after we went for three cheeses with no blue cheese first and I decided on the salmon.Â The salmon was cooked to perfection (all though I never heard her ask me how I wanted it done, I would have said, how the chef suggests) and the broth, poured over the vegetables into the bowl is light, not salty, giving the fish an extra moistness. My friends enjoyed the burgers by the looks of the empty plates, however I don’t think even though Obama ordered it, that this is the place to go for a burger.Â There are much more interesting items on the menu (pork, chicken, bolognese, dorade, mackrel, risotto).Â It’s not cheap (burger is $16 and my salmon $25) however the atmosphere, energy, intimacy, service and tasting appeal is worth it. We didn’t go for Sweets much to our server’s chagrin and there wasn’t a lot of alcoholic intake it being a school night and all.Â The overall experience was pleasant and lowkey.
When we left every table was full including the outside. The bar, not so much. Which tells you this.Â People come for the FOOD.Â Enjoy Mintwood Place.
1813 Columbia Rd. NW
Sunday 5:30pm – 9:30pm
Tuesday – Thursday 5:30pm – 10:30pm
Friday & Saturday 5:30pm – 11:30pm
Saturday & Sunday Brunch 10:30am – 2:30pm (closed Monday)
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a leading source of information for the “who, what, when, and where” of Washington, DC’s elite social, professional, and philanthropic scene, which she founded in November of 2006. In 2012 she launched Pacific Punch, based in Los Angeles. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, Virginia and when she’s not out on the town, she’s reading or writing while sipping fine wine, or traveling the country and the world ISO adventures, beauty, fun, food, style, libations, music, and the good life. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.