Where the Wild Things Grow
1. Smoke and Barrel2471 18th St NW, Washington
2. Roofers Union2446 18th St NW, Washington
3. Kochix400 Florida Ave NW, Washington
4. Oohh’s & Aahh’s1005 U St NW, Washington
5. Boundary Stone116 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington
6. Fat Pete's Barbecue3407 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington
7. Stanton & Greene319 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington
True to its name, Smoke and Barrel is heavy on barbecue and whiskey, and yet Smoke and Barrel’s wings are a serious stand out. It's well-known for its vegan wings and “muddy” style (dry rub with sauce), but it’s the Buffalo blue wings that are really special.
Roofers Union Restaurant marries German and American tastes in a beer-focused Adams Morgan gastropub. You can’t come without ordering a trio of sausages stuffed in-house: one beer-poached brat on sauerkraut, one veal heart wiener on caraway-purple cabbage slaw, one boudin blanc with red onion confit and cranberry. You can always go more American with a bacon burger or fried chicken sandwich, though. The three-storied building is diverse: the first floor plays hosts to an affiliated wine bar called Jug & Table, the second-floor dining room boasts floor-to-ceiling windows and four-top seating, and a covered third floor rooftop is ideal for street-gazing and lapping punch bowls.
In the D.C. area, K.F.C. more likely stands for Korean Fried Chicken than the Kentucky iteration, and the sticky honey-soy battered wings are fairly ubiquitous. At Kochix, however, the standard, tasty dish is particularly worthy of note. The wings are prepared to perfection -- battered with just the right gentle touch, fried perfectly with tender, buttery white meat at the core, and topped with a balanced combination of Korean spices. Served doused in either a soy-garlic reduction, or a honey-spicy glaze, the extra-saucy brand of poultry-delicacy at this Florida Ave hole-in-the-wall will certainly win you over.
A U Street mainstay, Oohh's & Aahh's slings some of the best soul food in town. This, of course, includes fried chicken. There’s a dining room upstairs, but you’re just as likely to see people carrying aluminum-lined Styrofoam containers loaded with wings on U.
Named for the mile markers that once shaped the city, Boundary Stone encapsulates DC style with exposed brick, original tin ceilings, oak bars, and even a stained glass DC flag. The Bloomingdale American restaurant boasts a menu of snacks, appetizers, sandwiches, and entrees, with favorites including daily changing deviled eggs and the honey hot chicken with honey hot sauce, bleu cheese, lettuce, and fries. Try one of the eight drafts on tap as you slide into one of the rustic, charcoal-colored wooden booths.
Fat Pete's brings 10 types of delicious 'cue to DC (two kinds of pulled pork! Two kinds of ribs!), delivering fantastic wood-smoked flavors by the pound. 16 drafts, small-batch bourbon, and killer sides -- like stuffed hush puppies and mini marshmallow-topped candied yams -- shore up the massive meat menu.
The Green Burger at this Hill hotspot serves as the great equalizer. That’s because everyone from senators to staffers are reduced to hungry, messy toddlers when they take on the towering stack of two bacon infused patties, smoked Gouda, bacon aioli, (more!) bacon, and onion rings. Come up for air between bites to reflect on the science-defying fact that 319 Pennsylvania Ave used to be Pour House. Now it’s a cocktail bar with a classic feel of a bygone era. Erik Holzherr -- who is behind reliable watering holes like Church & State and Wisdom -- did the drinks. Try them in the first floor bistro area or the lofty, beautifully lit second floor.