Capitol Hill’s new refurbished saloon, Beucherts (opening immenently, announcement TBA), invites denizens of the District to explore both cuisine and culture through the history of a single building. The vintage fixtures and local, farm-fresh meals harken to a different, decidedly illegal uses of the space, located at 623 Pennsylvania Ave SE, where after 1880 the saloon became a Prohibition-era speakeasy fronted with the pretense of a gramaphone and sewing shoppe. Over time, the space petered out, and fell into a state of disrepair.
However, as we found out in our First Look of the space, Chef Andrew Markert and his business partner/space designer August Paro have worked to restore the space’s historical, authentic appeal, bringing in cracked, convex, and concave subway tile walls to line the narrow space, restored wood lining the floor, acid-washed mirrors, and elegant chandeliers. Oh, and the humongous taxidermy buffalo heads? Rather than to evoke fur trappers, cowboys, soldiers, prospectors, miners, and gamblers, Mike And Ike (the names given to our new, inanimate friends) are merely in place to dial you down to the dusky, speakeasy feel of the original concept.
“Was this here before? I can’t believe a place like this exists in this spot,” you might ask yourself as you meander down the snug vintage space and into the dining area. Be sure to let your gaze linger on the Prosecco tap behind the bar before you’re ushered to your seat. What is believable is the menu, which further tucks you in to
Housemade country pate wrapped in bacon and decorated with pickled beans and a sungold jam spread and a lovely charcutrie spread are winners for starters:
For entrees we started out with a lobster dish consisting of: golden rice in a carrot puree, shallots cooked in white wine, lemon butter poached lobster, radishes, thyme, sauteed carrots, organic olive oil, and a hint of vanilla. The bedding of the dish is cooked risotto style, or creamy rice at least, since it’s purposefully a little more runny than a risotto:
Our chicken dish came with a roasted, brined gravy from the chicken carcass itself, on top of a bed of brussel sprouts, pearl onions, and a slice of bacon buttered-toast leaning on our chicken legs. This is the chicken dish “that my mom makes,” we were told by Chef Markert. I’ve got to say, it had us all comfy in the memories with our own childhood experiences with chicken dishes.
The dessert dishes were some of the most memorable of the night, perhaps because they’re the last thing we ate, but especially because our brains often leave a bookmark on the best confections. First up, your new favorite, word: Twankies, with an underswing of Southern lilt on that first syllable. These little beauties re a play, of course, on Twinkies, breaded sweets but filled with sweet vanilla cream, and drizzled with fresh-made caramel, carmalized bananas, and subtly spiked in a Barcadi 151 glaze. Glorious:
Another amazing dessert is the yin and yang of vanilla custard and a chocolate ice cream bar bisected with graham cracker crumbles.