Like most people, I was excited to try out Sixth Engine, with a lot of the appeal coming from its setting: a historic firehouse house built in 1855 and the oldest in Washington, DC. Located north of Chinatown in the Mount Vernon Square neighborhood, Sixth Engine serves modern American cuisine and comes to us from the team behind Capitol Hill’s The Dubliner Irish Pub.
I went there last week and even though it was freezing outside, the place was packed. Owner Gavin Coleman and team did a great job with the decor, though I wish the second floor didn’t feel so separate from the first: think doors, steps, and more doors. The industrial feel was appreciated albeit expected, and the furnishings and fixtures added to that historic appeal.
The food different story. Before I get to the negatives, the wine menu was uninspired and pricey, so I went for a regular cocktail instead and everything I tried was pretty good, so maybe the trick is to treat Sixth Engine more like a bar. The menu had many different options — it isn’t often that you see spaetzle on the same menu as a linguine. The prices were average (still on the high side) for the neighborhood, though more than worth it if the food turned out to be stellar. Unfortunately, that was far from the case.