Primrose

Recently, no restaurant has enchanted us like Primrose. In fact, we have had dinner there once a month for the last three months. That is a lot for us – we aren’t restaurant critics who can use the company credit card to eat. We also aren’t “influencers” who demand free meals in return for Instagram posts – we pay for every meal ourselves. At Primrose, it’s the smart service, beautiful design and superlative food that keeps us coming back for more.

Primrose in Brookland, DC

The interior decor at Primrose is beautiful, maybe one of the most Instagrammable restaurants in DC. I don’t mean that in a negative way, either. It is both whimsical and comfortable. The best way to take it all in is by sitting at the bar with a glass of wine or two (or hey, a bottle). Co-owner Sebastian Zutant is a winemaker himself, and you can try some of his wines under the Lightwell Survey label or go for the well-curated list of wines from (exclusively) France and Virginia.

Wine at the bar at Primrose in Brookland, DC

With a baby on the way, we appreciate the fact that Primrose also has the fanciest and most complete changing table we have ever seen in a restaurant bathroom. There are also plenty of booster seats and high chairs.

All of this would not matter if the food weren’t good. Luckily, Primrose’s food manages to outshine the décor. If it’s on the menu when you visit, a bracing bowl of gazpacho is a great way to start a meal.

Gazpacho at Primrose in Brookland, DC

Spring had certainly sprung at our most recent visit. We made a meal out of quintessential spring vegetables, including a tartine with fava bean crème fraiche topped with more fava beans, chives and microgreens. It made for an outstanding starter. Same thing goes for the outstanding simplicity of globe radishes, green tops intact, sea salt and whipped butter. Tre Bien!

Spring vegetable tartine at Primrose in Brookland, DC

For a medium plate, Spring brought a sublime bowl of plump ricotta gnocchi, chanterelle crème, peanuts and giant chunks of chanterelles. It was all topped with roasted spring onions for an extra kiss of Spring.

Ricotta gnocchi at Primrose in Brookland, DC

You can easily make a meal out of small and medium plates at Primrose. But if you did that, you would be missing out on the best roast chicken in DC. Every single bit of this brined bird is flavorful and tender, even the white meat. The chicken gets served with a date jus and cashew gremolata for some nice crunch and texture. It also comes with sides of thick cut fries and a side salad. If you don’t want the whole chicken, Primrose also serves a half portion as an entrée.

Roast chicken at Primrose in Brookland, DC

Even with all these great options, you would be wise to end your meal with the chocolate pot de crème. Trust us on this one.

Chocolate pot de creme at Primrose in Brookland, DC

Best Bite
Paul: Roast Chicken
Marnay: Ricotta Gnocchi

Address
Primrose: 3000 12th St, NE Washington, DC 20017
Closest Metro: Brookland

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Menomale

On an unseasonably warm Friday night, we dined at Menomale in Brookland. We sat on the restaurant’s sidewalk patio, which can be enclosed but was open on this mild night.
When we first got to the restaurant, we noticed that Ettore, the owner, was there. We watched him the whole time through the window while we sat on the patio. He was so focused, so methodical–we could tell that we were in good hands. Menomale, like Pizzeria Orso, has a VPN certification. For what it’s worth, Menomale got their’s about 2 years before Pizzeria Orso. It takes a strong determination to keep up with all the requirements that come along with making DOC pizzas.

On this warm night, I started the meal out with a Sonoma Anvil Bourbon Cider. The bourbon flavor was interesting, but I found the drink too sweet for my liking. Marnay had a Goose Island Sofie, a saison. Marnay liked it, but wished that it had a little stronger flavor. Neither of us had the Sofie before, and it was a little mild for a Saison.

We were hungry (!), so we started the meal with Prosciutto di Parma e Melone. The prosciutto did not appear to be made in-house, but that did not mean it wasn’t delicious. The salty, nutty meat went perfectly with the slightly cold, sweet cantaloupe. Prosciutto di Parma gets its nutty flavor from the Parmigiano Reggiano whey that is in the pigs’ diets. The dish was served with arugula, grapes and strawberries.

You can’t go to Meomale and not get pizza, so we shared the d’Ettore, or chef’s special. The pizza has fior di latte (cows’ milk mozzarella), cherry tomatoes, arugula, prosciutto di Parma, grana Padano and extra-virgin olive oil. Even though the pizza has a lot going on, it still tasted like one pizza. I can’t say that there was one topping that overpowered the rest. I think that part of this can be attributed to the soft crust on a Neapolitan pizza. New York style pizzas, for example, have lots crust and cheese and are filled with grease whereas Neapolitan pizzas taste cleaner and prevent the toppings from getting lost. Neapolitan pizzas are also healthier than traditional New York pizzas, for the same reasons.

While we were finishing our meal on the patio, it started to pour! Luckily, some employees came and rolled down the windows before we started to get wet. While the rain was unexpected (we didn’t even bother to bring umbrellas), it did not put a damper on our experience. Menomale is a great Neapolitan pizzeria and a very good restaurant overall.

Address
Menomale: 2711 12th St NE, Washington, DC 20018
Closest Metro: either Brookland or Rhode Island Avenue