Sunday, August 18, 2013

Cleveland Park Bar & Grill Food Review

CP Burger with Fries

Before Cleveland Park Bar & Grill came along back in 2005, the doors at 3421 Connecticut Avenue, NW were forever revolving. Every year it seemed, one restaurant would close and another would open. I think it's safe to call CPB&G a neighborhood fixture now... a place where many go to watch all the big games (and the little ones too.) They even have the essence of cool... a big rooftop deck, complete with a bar and more TVs. In other words... a sports enthusiast's paradise.

I'm all for ambiance, but DC Outlook lives and dies by the food... at least when it comes to burgers and pizzas; but rest assured, if being social is your thing... few places rival the cozy confines of Cleveland Park Bar & Grill. I probably haven't been back to CPB&G since early winter; so it made sense to pay a late Sunday night visit before football season starts (and the place turns into a zoo.) I flipped a coin (heads for burger, tails for pizza) and heads won. I ordered carryout over the phone, and agreed to pick it up in about 15 minutes.

You know it's the middle of August when CPB&G isn't crowded. The lower level was darn near empty, so making my way to the end of the bar was a breeze. The bartender greeted me, and grabbed my order. The first thing I noticed was the price: Advertised as $10.50 on their website, the CP Burger actually costs $12. Not the end of the world, but I don't understand why restaurants refuse to update their menu prices. I left a $2 tip and walked away with what amounts to a $15.20 burger & fries... Not exactly the best deal in town.

To their credit however, CPB&G is generous with their portions. My styrofoam container was filled with fries atop a standard issue burger and an inordinate amount of pickles. Really. I'm pretty sure there were at least a dozen pickles... of which I kept two. The fries appeared a little overdone; but they turned out to be really nice and crispy. Quite possibly, the best in Cleveland Park. The burger was good enough, but probably began as a frozen patty a long time ago, in a galaxy (or food distributor) far, far away.

My bun was a little soggy, but it held up to the true half-pounder it was assigned to protect. I asked for MEDIUM, and most of it was. Some edges were well done, some not... I'm guessing the griller took a few extra turns flipping it. It lacked a lot of flavor (specifically salt & pepper) but adequately took care of my appetite (9:00 is a late dinner in my book.) That's a fancy way of saying average, but I'm not complaining (especially given the surprise excellence of the fries.)

Bottom line, CPB&G is a nice little big sports bar with decent food and enthusiastic crowds. It's nice to know it's there... even if I only pop in once or twice a year.

Atmosphere: B- (Nice and quiet for a change... Normally loud and busy)
Burger: C (I like my burgers handmade and juicy. Evidently CPB&G doesn't)
Fries: B (Surprise. Surprise. Perfect amount of crispiness. Toss some salt on 'em, and we're good to go.)
Service: B- (The female bartenders are a lot more friendly, but no complaints.)
Value: D ($15+ and no soda? Too pricey.)
Overall: C+ (Typical neighborhood sports bar, offering decent food and better company.)