Monday, December 01, 2008

Axis Bar and Grill

Location: 1340 U Street NW, between 13th and 14th Streets, near the U Street Metro station.

A small, quietish bar and lounge with decent appetizers and good service. We arrived around 9:30 and were able to secure a bunch of the tables on the upper level. This was key to my enjoyment; I don't like standing around in a crowd. We were able to talk without shouting most of the night, which is also very important to me in a bar. The music was forgettable, but that's forgivable. The atmosphere was a touch classier than your average U street hole, welcoming and not pretentious.

The waitress was cute but a bit too sassy, shushing my friend (whose birthday we were celebrating). She was friendly, though, and, though she seemed busy with the floor below, she made sure to take care of us at our table. She even refilled my water glass multiple times without my asking. And she was knowledgeable about the alcohol; she gave one friend a list of her favorite drinks and how they tasted different from each other. He was pleased with her recommendations.

I had the calamari, a slider (mini-burger) and a bit of the spinach & artichoke dip. The dip was too hot for us hungry fools, burning us as we swallowed it down, but it was all right; the only complaint would be the small amount of toast we received with it. The calamari was above average: the squid was soft and evidently "flash-fried" as the menu suggested, leaving a texture other than the normal deep-fried-tire variety. The sauce was creamy and a bit hard to place--slightly spicy and a little tart. The sliders were excellent and gone in 60 seconds. The meat was flavorful and juicy. The bun was a bit like fat pieces of an Italian baguette--plain, airy, much wider than the mini-burger--but it fit the flavorful contents.

The appetizers were priced appropriately (6-9 dollars) but were not incredibly generous. The entrees looked good but a bit pricey. With Car Bombs costing $10 each, and with us ordering 24 of those through the night, there was no need to consider anything past appetizers.

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