Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Black Squirrel on 18th St NW

I decided to visit the BlackSquirrel by the allure of poutine and some of the best wings in the District.    As you may have surmised, I’m still on a wing kick and the potential for a regular ‘poutine place’ was a temptation I could not resist.
When I arrived, I sauntered up to the basement level bar (there are three levels to this bar that have different beer selections) and grabbed a beer menu.  I was pleased to see two beers from my home state of Michigan.  I began my evening with a New Holland Ichabod Pumpkin Ale and put in an order of wings.  The beer was delivered quickly and, along with a friendly chat with some strangers (who may have been creeped out by my continuously turning the conversation back to wings), and sports on their behind-the-bar televisions, had a very pleasant wait for my wings.
When they arrived, the pleasant spicy smell of the homemade sriracha sauce kept me from getting a decent photo.  They had an Asian spice about them and were quite crispy.  I didn’t even bother using the dipping sauce.  They were good, but the most expensive wings I’ve had in all my adventures as of yet: $8.49 or seven with no happy hour deal or daily special.  They were good, but the dollar:wing ratio was unfavorable.
After the wings, I browsed the menu again and zeroed in on a rare offering in these parts: the poutine, even though the listing of ‘poutine fries’ a bit redundant (like ATM machine, VIN number, etc).  I put in my order for this Canadian delicacy and sipped on a Bell’s Amber Ale (another fine Michigan beer).  When the ‘poutine fries’ arrived, they looked appetizing, but something was amiss.  Gravy-check, fries-check, cheese sauce –hold the phone.  This wasn't poutine.  Poutine does not have cheese sauce.  Proper poutine has tasty nuggets of cheese curds that give it the unique flavor and texture.  To be fair, this ‘cheesy fries’ dish was the best cheesy fries I’ve ever had (crispy bits of bacon, savory cheese sauce, and chopped scallions), but I was excited for poutine.
Now I was at the stage trying to gauge if I was still up to eating or time to call in my tab.  I browsed the menu to see if there was anything I couldn’t help but order when I saw the Cheese-Stuffed Bacon Burger.  I just imagined the sizzling beef patty stuffed with a creamy brie, topped off with amazing slices of pork belly.  Then I saw the price –another hold the phone moment: $14.99.  This sounded like it might have been the best burger on all the earth, but it’s just against my religion to pay that much for a burger.  They have a half-off burger deal on Thursdays, but it doesn't apply to this gem, only the classic and veggie burgers.  I called in my tab.

Will I be back?  Well, I don’t know.  I was impressed with the selection of beers on tap, but unimpressed with the lack of happy hour beer specials.  However, Tuesday is all you can eat southern fried drumstick night, which I may check out.

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