Matchbox Review - What a fun place for dinner!
I rarely post here unless I have a darn good reason. Basic laziness I guess. Sometimes a restaurant is just so darn great that I'm compelled to check in, so... here goes. We came into town from the burbs - us from Silver Spring and our couple friend from Columbia to eat here. We sometimes wonder whether it's worth the hassle of driving all the way down to downtown DC to eat. Last night, there was no question that it was.
This was our first trip to Matchbox. After hearing about the yummy burgers, salads and pizza's, we were psyched to try it. This restaurant is always listed right up there for burgers and pizza when someone declares a "best of list for DC" so we were excited to try it.
We got a spot just 1 short block away from the restaurant around 605pm on Saturday night and were pleased as punch. When we got out of our car, a spot directly in front of the restaurant opened up and stayed that way for about 5 minutes. So much for tough parking in Chinatown. We got inside and were expecting an interminable wait, but were seated immediately. So far so good on all accounts. We got the last booth on the 2nd floor right next to the kitchen so we got to see all the pizza's, mini burgers and salads coming out before we ordered. We knew exactly what we wanted by the time our waittress had come.
We started with 2 delicious salads - one with goat cheese covered bread slices and one with pear and candied walnuts. I was in greens heaven. Next came the infamous mini burgers - we ordered 9 of them and they were absolutely scrumptious, and almost as good as the ones from Jackies of Silver Spring. The mozzarella cheese should have been cheddar in my book, but the rolls and hamburger flavor were delicious. The onion rings that were served with them were habit forming. I could have gone home at this point very happy.
Then came our 1/2 roasted red peppper - 1/2 pepperoni pizza for us 2 guys and a portobello mushroom pizza for the 2 ladies. The pepperoni was expecially good and flavorful. The crust was a bit thin to hold all that topping, but no complaints here. Our waittress was fantastic, spirited, funny, always there with more water (either her or our busboy) and offered good tips on what to order.
For dessert she recommended the chocolate chip bread pudding and it was very good. Not as good as the bread pudding at Oya (the place right around the corner) or Nick's Chophouse (in Rockville), but a nice version. The chocolate cake with ice cream was just ok. The ice cream had melted alot by the time it got to us (one of my pet peeves) and the cake was decent but nothing earth shattering, terrific.
What made Matchbox an out of this world experience for me was the ambiance, the light, the people, the location, the buzz (kept looking for Jenna Bush - she was supposedly here a few nights earlier according to the Washington Post article I'd read that week :o), the oversize and very comfortable booths, and the cool tables with the matchbooks encased in them. The restaurant had that "X Factor" that's hard to explain. When we left, there was a 40 minute wait and tons of people hanging outside.
I had already planned a trip back there after simply looking at the menu before ordering - I liked the feel of the place that much.
On top of everything else, 4 of us ate for $86 plus tip. Not bad for a Saturday night out in DC where we all came home stuffed. One of us even came home with a doggie bag of leftover pizza and 1 mini burger to boot.
I'm not sure why some folks don't like the food here, but to each his own. We sure enjoyed it and look forward to returning. It was alot more fun with the 4 of us than if it was just 2 people, for the variety of items we got to try.
Silver Spring MD
I agree!! Matchbox is an impressive, little surprise in the heart of Chinatown! And yummy pizzas (Fresh Portabella & Spicy Meatball are my two faves) ! And don't forget the famous mini-burgers too! Topped with crispy shredded onion straws and a pickle. You'll see them on just about every table. Glad they expanded the place too, which makes the usual 40 minute wait go by faster!
Thanks for the 411 on the meatball pizza. They were "calling to me" as they went by in great quanitities throughout the evening. Seems like lots of people were ordering them, vs most pizza places where they're not that popular. They said they get the rolls custom baked from a local bakery for them and a couple of other restaurants. Guess I won't be buying those rolls at Giant anytime soon... I would have loved to serve mini burgers like that at our BBQ party in August but where would you get great rolls like those? I don't have the patience to custom bake them myself.