First Look: District Kitchen


Photo Courtesy Tricia Barba

After driving right by it and then almost walking past it, I finally made it into District Kitchen. It’s not really as bright in the dark as the picture makes it appear to be. Open just almost two weeks, the Woodley  Park restaurant has almost mastered its customer service skills, and it’s a great addition to the neighborhood.

On the inside, District Kitchen looks rustic, simple, yet open. It reminded me of almost a Sonoma/Graffiato hybrid, but with more space to move around. The restaurant only sits about 70, but it feels like there’s more room and not like you’re sitting so cramped in. And, don’t expect to hear others’ conversations…not because it’s quiet or because there’s great noise absorption, but because it’s so loud you won’t be able to distinguish who is saying what. Still, I liked the ambiance…cool and neighborhood-centered.

As more restaurants are doing these days, the menu is printed on card stock and divided into: Snacks, Small Plates, Salad & Produce, and Mains. There aren’t too many choices, so you won’t be overwhelmed by an almost unmanageable selection.

Courtesy Tricia Barba

District Kitchen comes to us from former Mendocino Grille Chef Drew Trautman and Jawad Saadaoui of Redwood. Unsurprisingly, they’re doing a rotating, seasonal menu. I started with the Fuscilli, labeled “Cincinnati-style.” It was the star of the meal. I always enjoy this type of pasta cut, and the lamb chili was fantastic, even boasting a surprisingly, slightly sweet flavor.

Courtesy Tricia Barba

Now for the other appetizer I tried: the Bouchot Mussels were underwhelming. The club fries they were served with were so flavorless that even dipping them in the mussels’ broth didn’t help. The mussels were too small, and the best part of the dish was the apple pieces.

Courtesy Tricia Barba

The scallops were fantastic, albeit a bit small. Everything tasted good, if just visually uninteresting. While the scallops were rich in flavor and seared perfectly, the greens were a bit boring.

Courtesy Tricia Barba

The market steak was also great, though I only had a few bites. I again wasn’t too impressed with the presentation, though I am getting more accustomed to the minimalist look. The steak was cooked medium, as ordered, and the sauce in a bottle on the side was a great touch. I also absolutely loved the greens.

Courtesy Tricia Barba

The Apple Buckle Dessert was delicious and warm, with a large scoop of pistachio ice cream on top. Need I say more?

Tip: District Kitchen is currently closed on Mondays, so don’t try to reserve then.

District Kitchen is located at 2606 Connecticut Ave NW. The closest metro station is Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan (Red Line). For more information, call 202-238-9408.

Tricia is a native Washingtonian, born and raised in Columbia Heights. She loves DC so much that she was only able to leave the city for one year after college and immediately came running back. Tricia works in PR during the day, and spends her nights trying out new restaurants in DC with friends or watching The Good Wife, Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice. Tricia recently decided to eat her way though all of Zagat’s 2011 restaurants until she realized she would be old and broke by the time she finished. Follow her on Twitter and email her at Tricia (at)

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