Anytime a trendy rooftop bar opens in DC, it gets buzz, because let’s face it – everyone wants drinks with a view.
At this time a year ago, when Takoda opened in Shaw, it was the talk of the town, with its unique industrial decor rooftop beer garden and stunning all-around views of the District. While the restaurant boasted of their craft beer and whiskey selection, and elevated American fare, the reviews seemed to all focus on one thing: the rooftop.
And, as I came to Takoda for dinner last week, I had one thought in my head: “This is the place with that crazy rooftop, right?” Now, let me preface this by saying that a rooftop and drinks alone will not keep you afloat for a year in the DC restaurant scene (and the high-priced Shaw rent), so clearly my visit was long overdue to try out this menu.
We sat at a table on the second floor bar area, a warmly lit open space, with a few booths and a long communal table running down the middle. The place was reasonably packed, with many likely taking advantage of Takoda’s happy hour. Running Monday through Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m., they feature starters and drink specials at $4, $6 and $8 each, including house mules and heavenly rosemary parmesan tots.
I overheard the girls behind us rave about the chicken sliders, so I put in an order for those to start, as well as the roasted beet hummus, which sounded interesting. When both arrived, the sliders, with pulled chicken and a sweet and tangy cabbage slaw, were immediately devoured. The hummus was a gorgeous shade of pink, with swirls of kale pesto worthy of several photos, and the taste was equally as impressive. The waitress was kind enough to bring over a second helping of bread for us to get every last flavorful bite.
We are big whiskey fans, so for cocktails, I settled on the whisky of the month – Templeton Rye – and made it into a Manhattan, while my husband opted for the same in an Old Fashioned. Both were fantastic, and did exactly what cocktails should do, highlighted the alcohol, with simple and clean ingredients.
For entrees, which were reasonably priced at $14-$19, we settled on the chicken and sweet potato waffle, with pecans and black pepper syrup; and the grilled pork loin with cauliflower puree and roasted Brussels sprouts. Hands down, the chicken and sweet potato waffle was the winner of the night. The fried chicken was crispy, with just the right amount of breading and perfectly cooked, while the sweet potato waffle was seriously tasty, and the black pepper syrup added just the right touch of sweetness. As for the pork, the highlight of the dish was the sides, especially the Brussels sprouts with the Tasso ham.
We finished off the meal with the waitress’s recommendation, the deep-fried Oreos. Okay, let’s be honest, we didn’t need any pushing on this one, you see the deep-fried Oreos on a menu, you order them. They came hot and toasty, with a heavenly cream cheese frosting that took me back to my lone adventure at a Texas state fair.
The menu was impressive and gave you the upscale, American fare vibe Takoda seemed to be pushing. For starters, go for the chicken sliders and roasted beet hummus, paired with a whiskey from their impressive list. For entrees, order the chicken and sweet potato waffle – you’ll be in heaven. Or go for the Takoda bacon burger, which we wished we had ordered, after seeing it go by and hearing the rave reviews from the table in front. And you can’t forget dessert.
Next time at Takoda, I’ll definitely be coming for more than just the rooftop, that’s for sure.
Takoda: 715 Florida Ave, DC; 202-525-1252; www.takodadc.com