If you enjoy the dining experience at Matchbox’s Capitol Hill and Chinatown locales, then the newly opened Rockville location will be to your liking as well. Situated a 5 minute walk from the Twinbrook Metro Station on the Red Line, along Rockville Pike, this latest addition to the Matchbox franchise is vast.
Despite a seating capacity of about 300 seats inside and an additional 130 outside, the restaurant stays close to its architectural roots with open fire pits on the patios, straw textured walls, brushed metal, brick facades and wooden beams from two old barn doors. Matchbox also features two hand-built pizza ovens from master artisan, Pat Manly, that greet diners at the reception area and two full bars with counter tops carved from an old tree to previously stood on the property. The layout, design components and varied lighting provide both group/family friendly settings and intimate spots for couples.
The menu at the Rockville locale doesn’t differ from the offerings at the DC restaurants, but there is more of an emphasis on Matchbox’s little known and little explored entree selection. While most of us tout the mini burgers served on brioche buns (I’m a fan of the mozzarella topped version) and wood-fired pizzas (especially the coppa italian ham & arugula) on my recent dining experience, I was pleasantly shocked by the delicacy and flavor profiles of the entrees.
When choosing from the 8 standard entrees, I suggest the tender braised beef short ribs with bacon-gorgonzola brussels sprouts and a rich red wine sauce. Another good choice is the rockfish, which is lightly wrapped in crab and served with a mustard cream and pinoli nut sauce. While this dish may sound over top, all the flavors from the fish, seafood, dairy and nuts blends perfectly together. If the entree special happens to be the porkbelly, then look no further because you’ve hit the jackpot. The belly is cooked to perfection and has the ultimate portion of fat to meat. Served simply with a pouched egg, creamy risotto and parsley topper, this entree should make its way on to the main menu.
The drink offering doesn’t disappoint either. One dozen micro brews on tap like heavy seas small craft warning uber pils, smutty nose old brown dog ale, and ayinger brau-weisse, beer lovers will not be complaining. For cocktail lovers, the matchbox punch with Matchbox’s rum and vodka infusions, is fruity, but not overly alcoholic or acidic.
All in all, Matchbox’s newest location is a great score for Rockville and the surrounding area’s restaurant scene.