By Priya Konings
It’s summertime and the living is easy. All you need to make your summer completely perfect is the ideal outdoor dining venue, and I have just the spot for you: Iron Gate. Once the longest operating restaurant in DC, this refurbished spot has an indoor dining room which offers a tasting menu only, and a charming outdoor patio and garden that features an a la carte menu. The tasting room may be for special occasions only, but the patio and garden, complete with sweet twinkling lights, should be on your most-visited list this summer. It is the pinnacle of food, drinks, service, ambiance, and wait…. did I mention the food?! The Mediterranean-inspired menu is a representation of how the Greek gods must have eaten at every meal, with each dish being a symphony of color, flavor, and texture, washed down by copious amounts of silky red wine.
As soon as you arrive order the sampler of their nine seasonal tastes. You will find yourself surround by little bowls of burrata and beets, bite-sized risotto balls, pickled veggies, fried green tomatoes, and pretty much everything else your heart could ever desire.
Next, get some appetizers for the table and go to town. Garlicky housemade foccacia baked with zucchini and mozzarella is a crispy and doughy slab of madness, while a trio of dips that comes with house baked crackers is quite a vision, with purple beet dip, green parsley dip, and a white tzatziki served in perfect circular portions alongside each other.
The sesame crusted feta is also awesome; the sesame seeds, honey, and feta form the perfect trifecta of crunchiness, sweetness, and tanginess. Potato and dill fritters are even better; earthy and crispy, adorned with olives and served with a silky housemade yogurt sauce.
For your main course, the pasta with crushed tomato sauce may sound simple, but it is the clear winner. Spaghetti is always the ultimate comfort food, especially when coated with fresh tomato sauce and sprinkled with cheese.
You might be stuffed by now, but dessert is a prize that cannot be turned down. Chocolate budino, which is essentially a custard or pudding, is a deep, dark well of chocolatey goodness, bejeweled with cherries and hazelnuts. The Greek donuts are legendary; crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, sweet and soaked in an orange sauce. Cookies, cannoli, sorbet and gelato are also available.
Go. Relax. Drink. And devour everything they put in front of you.