Instincts should tell you that when your waiter activates the in-table tap and says, “Have fun,” you’re in for a great time. We had actually meant to head back to Redline since our short stop in during the District Oktoberfest beer tour last year. Unfortunately at the time it was getting late, and the place was PACKED (another good sign). So, we grabbed our Goose Island beer, downed it as quickly as possible, and headed onto our next stop. Since then we’ve wistfully glanced over at the gastro lounge every time we walked by on our way to somewhere else in Chinatown. We felt the beckoning, and the feeling must have been mutual because we found ourselves invited in to check out the place recently.
There’s something, almost to the point of necessity, dictating that for a great bar experience, whether you go just for their DJ, sports screenings, or are out bar hopping, good food is an absolute must. There is nothing more disappointing in our opinions than realizing you’re hungry with a liquored up stomach, and eating atrocious bar food at what is typically an outrageous price. Redline is not that sort of place. Redline isn’t even close to being a disappointment.
Redline, D.C.’s newest luxury gastropub is located steps away from the Verizon Center and Gallery Place/Chinatown metro station making it easy to find and a bustling joint on game nights. For sports enthusiasts Redline boasts a massive HD projection screen, HD Broadcast Television, over 33 plasma screen TVs, a 22 ft. ticker with customizing capabilities, and two “Vegas-style sportsbook” electronic boards. In addition to all of the multi-media awesomeness Redline offers two premium booths, the largest of which faces the projection screen and can hold close to two dozen people. However, it’s the pay-by-the-ounce in-table taps that make this place kind of wonderful. Nearly each table hosts two different taps ranging from Bud Light, Shock Top, Stella Artois, Goose Island, and Yuengling.
However, it’s Chef Fabrice Reymond’s unique twists on the more classic American dishes that will keep bringing us back. We were surprised to find duck, lamb, and even alligator on the menu. Of course our stomachs immediately started screaming, “Alligator! Get the alligator!” And, after trying a total of nine dishes, we couldn’t believe we hadn’t managed to eat our way through even half of the menu. That doesn’t even include our Shock Top and Peach Collins indulgences from the extensive bar menu. Choosing a list of our favorites is nearly impossible. EVERYTHING was great, however these are what we think your first choices should be, especially if you’re coming in for the first time:
- We’re not sure what it is, but we typically have bad luck with sliders. Then there’s the fact that everyone and their mother seems to be turning everything that’s perfectly fine in its full-size form into a slider, and after you’ve devoured them you’re still hungry. However, the Trio Slider (beef slider, tuna slider & bbq pulled pork slider) impressed us. We liked that there was variety on the plate; beef, pork, and fish, and that the size of the sliders were generous making for the perfect appetizer to share, or eat as a small meal by yourself.
- It might not look like it, but the Lamb Lollipops (grilled marinated rack of lamb, spiced puff pastry, garnish of frisee salad, cranberry port wine reduction) are tender enough that a butter knife is able to easily cut through the meat. Granted when we’re not caring about our manners we’d be picking them up with our hands. Lollipops are “finger food”, right? We liked the simplicity of the seasoning and the wine reduction, and the puff pastry was an interesting touch.
- We had never tried alligator before Redline. It was described to us as “tastes like chicken, but smells like fish”. Their Gator Three Ways (pan seared alligator bites with spicy chili sauce, applewood smoked bbq, tangy dijon mustard) were not only beautiful in presentation, but cooked well, and satisfied our alligator curiosity. We might have gone with a little less sause, but we have to say the applewood smoked bbq, and tangy dijon mustard were our favorites out of the three.
- You know those bite sized foods that are awesome because they’re easy to eat, hit the spot, and you could ravage them 10 at a time? The Lobster & Shrimp Beignet (medley of lobster & shrimp bites fried in a tempura batter, served with a French cognac cocktail sauce) are that sort of food. Pop one in your mouth, and you can’t eat it fast enough to get to the next one. Then there’s the cocktail sauce… Oh. My. Gosh. The entire thing dish; texture, flavor, visual appeal – SO good. It was one of those dishes we didn’t want to share with our companions. *Must eat all the beignets!*
- On the entree part of the menu you’ll find the Duck Cajun Style (cajun marinated duck breast with mashed sweet potato, steamed baby bok choy, and vermouth tomato sauce). We’re not so sure about the bok choy, but we have a difficult time passing up anything that includes sweet potato whether it’s fried, baked, or mashed. When we put our order in we were even asked how we wanted the duck cooked and were surprised we even had an option of rare, medium, or well done. We loved the portion size, and it was all we could do to not force our stomach to handle more food after the bazillion smaller plates we tried first.
We’re thrilled that we had the opportunity to come back to Redline and see what they’re all about. The smaller size compared to some other surrounding gastro pubs was a nice change of pace. The music wasn’t causing our ear drums to bleed and allowed for conversation to flow freely. The seating was exceptionally comfortable, and we thought the table height to seat ratio, while a small detail, was spot on. And, if you’re up for a quieter time, head to Redline when the Verizon Center is hosting a sporting event on a week day. By 8pm on a Tuesday we were the only ones in there.
707 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
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