I have never been a fan of restaurants within hotels. To me, the concept itself separates locals from visitors, and keeps tourists from actually exploring the places that they are in. Nage Bistro is unfortunately in this category, tucked beside the Courtside Marriot right off of Thomas Circle. I wandered around (and around and around) the circle trying to find the restaurant. Perhaps that is more of a testament of my terrible sense of direction, but I digress.
After I battled through the standard restaurant-within-a-hotel-questions (“ Welcome! Can I help you check in? Oh you aren’t staying with us? Just eating? Right this way…) I was greeted by a cozy and intimate setting, much different than the florescent light lobby that I was in mere seconds ago. Reclaimed wood with actual moss accents on the walls, I was seated in a comfortable booth facing the open bar. I was surprised at how there was a constant steady stream of people coming in and out of the restaurant. Perhaps I had this whole restaurant within in a hotel thing pegged all wrong?
As I waited, I ordered myself the Farenheight 451, which consisted of cucumber, ginger and lemongrass, orange juice, and jalapeno vodka. Disclaimer: This Has a KICK. But… I liked the kick and the weird combination of sweet spiciness. However I can easily see that this drink may not be to everyone’s liking. If you like spicy and are feeling adventurous, then perhaps this fiery ode to Ray Bradbury is for you.
Nage’s motto is “A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe”, and the mastermind who is behind putting the motto to the food is Dwanye Motley. He told me that his goal was for me to be “full”, “well fed”, and have a serious case of the “itis” – that drowsy sleepy feeling you get after eating a great meal. Well then, challenge accepted.
Nage Bistro is debuting “Gourmet Burger Night” on Monday nights when guests can stop by and enjoy a rotating selection of made-to-order burgers that change weekly. Lucky for me, I was able to sample the first set of 3 gourmet burgers; the Lamb Burger, the Turkey Burger, and the Waygu Double Cheese Burger.
I was first served the Turkey Burger, with goat cheese, sautéed onions and sun dried tomato aioli. Maybe it is because I love traditional eight-ounce burgers, however the turkey burger itself was extremely dry and without flavor. Even with the great sun dried aioli sauce slathered on top, the turkey burgers’ dryness came through bite after bite. We chowed down on the Nage Frites in hopes that this was not a prelude of what the other burgers would hold.
The Lamb Burger with feta cheese and red onion aioli came paired with the Nage Bistro’s Ghost Chili Fries. Holy. Moly. Was that a burger packed with juiciness that left our napkins on our laps splattered with grease stains. One word that comes to mind is succulent, which was useful since the Ghost Chili fries were so spicy that I consumed a glass of water per fry. Much like a child that won’t listen, I kept eating these tortuously spicy fries. I say order this burger-fry combo with a pitcher of water on the side…or two. Play it safe.
The final burger was the Waygu Double Cheese Burger, with bits of bacon in the burger meat itself, gruyere cheese, white onions, pickles, and a side of garlic Parmesan fries. I can wholeheartedly blame this burger and fries for the food induced sleep I had after this meal. Motley succeeded in giving me the “itis”. The real gem of this burger, which was hard to decipher between the bits of bacon and oozy cheese, were the pickles. The pickles added a burst of freshness in the midst of the otherwise thick richness of everything else. The garlic parmesan fries are not too shabby as well, although a bit on the greasier side for my liking.
Last but not least, we found comfort in a classic American dessert, the CampFire Sundae. Smoked vanilla ice cream, marshmallow ice cream, chocolate sauce, graham crackers, and fire toasted marshmallows. It is probably the best 8 dollars you will spend on a dessert. I scooped every last bit of sweetness, mostly asking myself why my marshmallows never ever taste like this.
I600 Rhode Island Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
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