Thursday, May 21, 2015

Station Kitchen & Cocktails Food Review

Korean Caveman Pops

I've never been BIG on Happy Hour. Sure, the price is right; but I'm not much of a drinker, and 5:00 seems a bit early for dinner. Turns out, I've been going to the wrong places. Station Kitchen & Cocktails at the recently renovated Embassy Row Hotel impressed me enough, to reconsider my stance on small bites with BIG flavors. Call me a new believer... assuming one's at the right "Station."

I'm quite familiar with the hotel, since it's located mere feet away from my school bus stop many (many) moons ago: Go (Annunciation) Rebels! Needless to say, I've come a long way from brown bag lunches. How far? Try Korean Caveman Pops, Steak Tacos and Bacon Lollipops... all inside the span of an hour, and for less than $25!

Steak Tacos

Station Kitchen & Cocktails is very easy to get to... from the lobby, or its own entrance (one flight up, to the right of the hotel.) The vibe inside is super cool and relaxed. The modern design is equal parts funky (tons of color) and comfortable (a rare mix in this city) with an active bar, ample seating and chill music (i.e. Foolish by Tokimonsta.) There's also an extended Patio Terrace with even more seating, just in case the party spills outside.

Bacon Lollipops

Me? I rarely come to party (table for one, eye on the clock) but I'm always down to eat. Thankfully, SK&C has plenty to choose from. Menus are tucked inside old-fashioned, spy-like envelopes (very cool) and include all sorts of tasty options. Dishes are meant for sharing; but dining for one has its perks (more food for me!) Super server Scottie danced across the entire room, immediately making folks feel right at home & grabbing order after order (vibrant crowd, considering it wasn't even 6 yet.) I ordered a Ginger Ale and the aforementioned Korean Caveman Pops ($8) & Steak Tacos ($11.)

Cool Menu Presentation!

I was seated alongside the bar and its cozy whirlwind of activity. Folks from different corners slipped in and out with ease, instantly joining in on the fun without any of the usual happy hour pretension, I remember. It's no wonder this place is usually full. Service is quick too, as Scottie delivered my Caveman Pops in about five minutes. The term pops doesn't do this pair justice: They're absolutely HUGE, slathered in sweet chili hoisin sauce and diced chives. They're crispy too (Korean fried chicken = twice-fried) and sticky to a fault benefit. Once you get past it's crunchy, flavorful exterior, you're greeted with tons of flaky, juicy meat. They're also easy to handle, which probably explains why almost everyone orders them.

Not to be outdone, SK&C makes a pretty mean taco as well. Steak Tacos come with cheese (no problem, asking for none) and arrive simply dressed (greens, oil & red onions) yet filled with flavor. You get two (I'd love three) but there's plenty of steak on each; so odds are, you'll be just as full. Kudos for grilling the soft shells perfectly, something other places often (inexplicably) miss.

Don't dare leave without trying SK&C's ultra-affordable Bacon Lollipops, one of four $5 Bar Snacks (including Herb Fries & Pizza Bagels.) Be aware, however: These pops qualify as dessert. You get three dough balls, drenched in chocolate sauce and crushed nuts with a gently folded slice of salty bacon tucked inside. Sweet, savory and salty... all in one bite. AKA Heaven on a stick. Did I mention they only cost five bucks?

Cocktails abound (punch and wine too) so don't be surprised if you stay for an hour or two. Click here to see the full menu, including drinks. Next up, The Rooftop (Dupont Circle's only dining rooftop) which officially reopens this Sunday. Can't wait? HOT 99.5 is throwing a Memorial Day Weekend Rooftop Pool Party this Saturday, beginning at noon. Click here to purchase tickets; and make sure to take advantage of a special 20% discount on all rooms at the hotel (May 23rd only.) Looking ahead, Saturday's weather forecast calls for a high of 73° with 0% chance for rain. Let the fun/games begin!