I hear it all the time from chefs in the business and friends alike: “DC needs more casual, neighborhood places.” You know, the type of place that you can walk in, grab a table and get a good, decently priced meal. The kind of place where you can become a regular. Well, Mintwood Place might just fit the bill.
The newest restaurant to hit Adams Morgan comes from Saied Azali, the owner of the next-door and popular, Perry’s. The warm light from the coils of exposed bulbs, wood paneling and antique tin ceiling make for a cozy and hip atmosphere. Just walking by the place and seeing that glow pour out onto the street is enough to make you want to go inside. There’s a decent-sized stretch of bar next to the bright, open kitchen (bonus design points for the cool old sink knobs which serve as purse/coat hooks under the bar) with a few high-top tables that you can eat at if you haven’t managed to snag a reservation. By the way things look with buzz getting around town about this place, you will most definitely want a reservation.
Opened in late January, executive chef Cedric Maupillier (who previously was at Central with Michel Richard and worked with Fabio Trabocchi of Fiola back in his Maestro days) and his team serve up an eclectic menu with a noticeable French influence with dishes such as the cassoulet or the hanger steak and frites with bordelaise sauce. But then you’ll also find dishes such as the tagliatelle bolognese, a whole dorade with braised fennel or the lamb tongue moussaka. This is not to say the menu isn’t focused; rather, there’s something to please every diner in the crowd. And every dish is executed quite exceptionally.
Hanger steak and frites at Mintwood
courtesy of bonappetitfoodie
Escargot hush puppies at Mintwood
courtesy of bonappetitfoodie
For starters, I think I found my new favorite cocktail: Mintwood’s Woodrow Wilson, a blend of gin, elderflower, hum liqueur and cava. The hum liqueur makes this drink with a little spice from ginger, and a pleasant floral taste from hibiscus that goes well with the elderflower in the mix. If bourbon is more of your thing, opt for their lone ranger cocktail.
Moving on from drinks, don’t pass up on the escargot hush puppies. The escargot are tender (to the less adventurous eaters, I’m going to sound like a mother for a minute, but if I never told you what they were you’d never know what you were eating) and the hush puppies are perfectly fried and still moist on the inside. I’d also recommend going with the tender octopus that had nicely grilled edges for a little crunch and carmelization, or the steak tartare topped with pleasantly salty fried potatoes.
I’ll fess up and admit that I front-loaded my meal at Mintwood the first time I went, and so I split an entree with my friend. The hanger steak frites was cooked a textbook medium rare, and the bordelaise sauce was so rich that I found myself scooping up every last bit of it with the fries. The brussels sprouts side dish lets the bacon flavor shine through and the sprouts are fork tender.
Mintwood’s website indicates that brunch is in the works. Also, based on the plates I saw moving about the restaurant the cassoulet looked gorgeous in it’s cast-iron pot, as did the heaping plate of tagliatelle and the large burger draped in melted cheese. Mintwood is a welcome addition to the Adams Morgan neighborhood and a spot I’ll be looking forward to going back to time and time again.
Mintwood Place is located at 1813 Columbia Rd. NW, Washington, DC 20009. They’re open Sunday through Saturday. You can make reservations by calling 202-234-6732 or online through CityEats.