Monday, June 24, 2013

Room 11

I guess it should be no surprise I've had more than a few meals up in the Columbia Heights region - there's been a lot of growth and development recently (so I've been told). Add Room 11 to the list of places that always finds a crowd and a nice place to enjoy the glass of wine or beer outside on their patio. There were a few highlights from our meal, and a few things that were just ok. I really like the vibe of the place with the patio on the corner that feels like a front yard of suburban house right on the corner watching the cars and people go by. I didn't love that they extend the patio along the side of the building next to the sidewalk because the tables are against the wall and feels very cramped. Maybe it's ok for just a drink but it was an awkward dinner setting - especially on the cheap feeling metal wire chair and tables without any barrier to the sidewalk. It worked out, would have preferred the patio. Inside is cool and small with a long bar that encompasses two rooms. I enjoyed the menu layout - just one nice list of food to choose. No gimmicks, no breaks, no directions, just food and prices with plenty of variety (and very open/transparent about vegetarian/vegan options). 

We started with the heirloom tomato panzanella and the cauliflower salad - of the many salad choices available. The tomatoes were nice but we were sort of expecting cheese (maybe because panzanella sounds like mozzarella ) and the dish definitely needed salt to bring out the flavors. But summer refreshing none the less. The cauliflower was 'charred' and served with garlic and tahini dressing. Again, I don't think I was expecting whole heads of cauliflower blacked (more like roasted and sliced) - but that's my fault not theirs. I think they were slightly firmer than I would have liked but the garlic and sauce were a nice touch to round out the dish.

I've read a few places that the pork chop is a great dish to get - and watching it go past me to another table I can see how that might be the case. Next time. We went with the pinoy boy sandwich and classic grilled cheese instead. The pinoy is a big sandwich with filipino adobo chicken, jalapeno, sriracha puffed rice and asian slaw. Tasty and spicy and nice but kind of messy to eat. The best dish though was by far the grilled cheese (they didn't say which cheeses but raclette or other delish white creamy cheese possibly), with great bread, oozy cheese, shallots and a side of spicy marinara to dip. So good, best grilled cheese I've had eating out in a very long time. Definitely a must try. All of that food was washed down with some very tasty Mother Earth Kolsch - a nice compliment to the warm and humid evening. 

The food was nice overall with better sandwiches than salads and a great grilled cheese. I would be curious to try the brunch menu that others have commented on but more importantly it might be the best place to go on a nice night to have a glass or two of wine and some light fare. Maybe not worth a trek around town for, but a nice option to have. Room 11 does a nice job of combining the elements of simple, casual and elegant sophistication of what they do at nice price point. 

Room 11 on Urbanspoon

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