Restaurant Review Double Header: Rustico and ChurchKey

Saturday, December 19th, 2009 by adam

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It’s Saturday.  You’ve been lazy, sleeping in, sitting around, reading, surfing the net, watching some tv.  It’s 7pm and you haven’t thought about dinner.  What do you do?  Pick up your best friends Matt and Marisa, drive half way across DC to Rustico, eat dinner, drink beer, drive half way across DC again to ChurchKey, eat dessert, and drink more beer.  Of course :)

Rustico

Located in a neighborhood away from downtown Alexandria proper, Rustico seems to attract a mostly neighborhood crowd.  After calling about reservations / call ahead, we were told call ahead only until 9:30pm, which I like b/c it gives everyone an equal chance.  After all, I don’t know where I want to eat hours, days, or even weeks in advance.  At least not always :)  During the drive to Rustico, we called ahead and put in our names.  After arriving, and waiting a bit longer then anticipated, we’re guessing the folks get a table a Rustico and stay for the night, or at least take their time.  After getting a booth by the window in the main dining room, we dug through their extensive and unique beer menu and I spontaneously ordered a “bucked of ranch tossed fries”.  Indeed, the fries were actually tossed in ranch, a first for me.  While quite yummie at first, the fries eventually were overtaken by the the ranch, becoming a bit soggy.  Not to worry though, because we had already ordered our meals.  I ordered duck confit pizza with duck cracklings, Brie, shallots, greens, and reduced balsamic vinegar, and Val ordered a burger with shallot aioli and fries.  Matt and Marisa had already eaten, so they ordered a salad and squash soup respectively.  The food was good, but not amazing.  But the quantities where large and the prices reasonable, but I wouldn’t drive for an hour to go there again; well maybe I would, just for the beer.  Segway, ChurchKey…

Ranch Tossed Fries

Ranch Tossed Fries @ Rustico

Duck Confit Pizza with Duck Cracklings

Duck Confit Pizza @ Rustico

Burger with Shallot Aioli and Fries

Burger @ Rustico

Rustico on Urbanspoon

ChurchKey

ChurchKey is located near Logan Circle in Washington, DC.  Although it only recently opened, Val and I had already been there once before.  Val and I (and Matt and Marisa) love beer, and ChurchKey is all about beer.  Owned by the same folks as Rustico, ChurchKey has a big, unique, and constantly chancing selection of beers from around the word.  It’s like Brickskeller, but with class.  P.S. I did love Brickskeller, but its been going down hill.  And ChurckKey has better food, and the same servers as Brickskeller (more on that in a bit).  ChurchKey also servers its beer in the correct glass (over 15 styles) and at the right temperature (one of four).  While this may sound like overkill, all the attention to quality products and quality serving pays off.  I was really able to taste all the flavors in the beer and appreciate it more since its served well.  When we asked our waitress about her favorite beers, she named one, two, three, …, eight.  She kept going and going.  It’s good to see that level of interest.  In fact, so far we’ve seen at least 2 servers who previously worked at Brickskeller working at ChurchKey.  Unlike our last visit, we were able to find a table pretty quickly, right by the front window.  We order 2 rounds of beer and some dessert since we had already eaten at Rustico.  Val and I split an oatmeal cookie sandwich filled with a cream cheese filling, while Matt and Marisa split an old fashioned ice cream sundae, complete with banana – both of which were very tasty.  All in all, it was a yummie evening, filled with good company.  And who else has gone to both Rustico and Churchkey in the same night?

Front Side of ChurchKey

ChurchKey

Old Fashioned Sundae and Oatmeal Cookie Sandwich

Desserts @ ChurchKey

Birch & Barley on Urbanspoon

-Adam and Val

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2 Comments

  • No way could you have walked away from Rustico without having tried their awesome/famous dessert the “Guinness Cupcake”… and you call yourself a beer enthusiast. Shame on you. My husband’s family and I love to go there and get one of everything on the menu and we have yet to be disappointed by anything (tho the pizza is not my favorite).

    They may have moved the famous cupcake off the main menu and across the street to their bakery but if you happen to be in Alexandria again, stop in and try one, they are fantastic.

  • We did an entire other bar for dessert :)

    Guinness Cupcakes are awesome – next time one of us gets “flour” as the secret ingredient, we should make those…

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