Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Sep 15, 2008 04:36 PM


Has anyone tried the new place on P St. called Commissary yet? I'm curious to see how the food and space is...seems like a great concept.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1.'ll have to let us know how it is...naming a restaurant after the military grocery store seems strange (i know the word has other meanings but that's what springs to my mind, since that's where i normally shop...)

    What is the concept exactly?

    1 Reply
    1. re: DCDOLL

      I'm going to guess it's not cheap like the commissary, or full of people vying for the job of assisting you to your car!

    2. Commissary is actually pretty cool. Ive been there for late dinner drinks and breakfast. Food is good, best part is the price.
      Nice group of diverse people dining, good ambiance.
      It's been packed since it opened, its worth checking out.

      1 Reply
      1. re: dupont81

        Looks like my Book Club will be meeting there in a few weeks, so I'll report back.

        Is it a bit like Tryst?

        Their Happy Hour deal seems good...$4 wines etc. And cheap eats.

      2. I went to The Commissary on Friday for lunch. It's lot like Tryst - laptops, lattes, and sofas. A bit dark inside, there's a nice low-key vibe, and some outdoor tables so you can watch the P Street/Whole Foods action across the street.
        I had the serrano, arugula and olivada pizza. It had a thin crispy crust, and they hadn't heated the serrano, thank goodness, but oddly the grated gruyere on it was still raw. Sort of like grated parmesean on top after it's out of the oven. I didn't mind, though, and my companion said his burger was "pretty good". They've got an option to order a plate of veggie sides, like Cafe Deluxe, which I always like as an option. One other touch I appreciated: distilled water brought to table in a bottle - none of the "tap or bottled" business. Prices seem very reasonable to me.

        1 Reply
        1. re: DC_Convert

          I think the water has to do with their goal to be "green." There is info on the website about how environmentally friendly they are aiming to be...a nice new trend.

        2. We checked out Commissary last night for drinks and dessert. It was packed and the hostess didn't seem to be doing the most efficient job at seating people quickly, but overall it was a pretty good experience. I split a slice of sweet potato pie with cream cheese frosting which was perfectly fine, nothing revelatory. I will definitely be going back to check out the breakfast/brunch options. They seem to be mixing a lot of concepts together: coffee shop, bar, bar food, cakes, breakfast, and a big American flag - they've got it all. Will have to see how it pans out on future visits.

          4 Replies
          1. re: hamster

            So what did the Washington Post say about Commissary on Oct. 29? It is no longer in the online archives, and my paper copy went out with the recycling. An editorial note on Sunday said that the review was removed...

            1. re: AndyRPatterson

              that the place wasn't good at all....

              1. re: Jeserf

                The Wash Post said that the reviewer previously had a "personal relationship" with one of the owners, which the reviewer failed to disclose. Did that result in the negative review?

                1. re: AndyRPatterson

                  Just found the article online, after all:

                  October 29, 2008 Wednesday
                  Every Edition

                  At Commissary, Cheap Eats Don't Come Good

                  BYLINE: Tom Sietsema

                  SECTION: FOOD; Pg. F03

                  LENGTH: 366 words

                  There's little at Commissary (1443 P St. NW; 202-299-0018) that will remind anyone of Merkado, the Asian-Latin restaurant that preceded it at the same address in Logan Circle.

                  Gone are the outsize painted faces on the walls, the tablecloths and the concrete bar. Taking their place at Commissary, which launched Sept. 8: lots of chalkboards and mirrors, bare surfaces and a black slate bar.

                  "We wanted to make Commissary more comfortable, more approachable" than Merkado, says David Winer, who transformed the space during a two-week makeover this summer. His casual new restaurant also finds clusters of comfortable chairs in the center of the room for lounging, breakfast served until 5 p.m. and free WiFi.

                  The restaurateur also wanted to draw a distinction between this place and his other restaurant on the same block. "We didn't want Commissary to be Logan [Tavern]," Winer says. "If you want meatloaf, you have to go to Logan. If you want a tuna melt, come here."

                  And if you want something satisfying? Commissary, for all its energy and youth, is a swell place to hang but a lackluster place to eat. The menu is packed with more options than a supermarket cereal aisle, but I'd be willing to sacrifice quantity for quality.

                  One of Commissary's top sellers is pizza, but Domino's tastes like haute cuisine compared with the flavorless pie I encountered, its cardboard crust slathered with what smacked of canned tomato paste. Juiceless and crumbly mini-burgers went back to the kitchen unfinished, as did a side of woefully greasy onion rings (which our sunny waitress graciously took off the bill).

                  The tamarind sauce on an entree of salmon was far more sweet than tart, and clam chowder appeared to originate from a can rather than from scratch.

                  When Winer tells me he and his chef created the menu starting with price points, I believe him. The food is inexpensive; unfortunately, it tastes that way, too.

                  The restaurateur says the name for his venture came from its positive association with "movie lots and military bases," although a lawyer friend rejected the idea. "Commissary," Winer said, "reminded him of visiting clients in prison."

                  We want to say it, but . . . we won't.

                  Entrees, $11-$16.

          2. I had brunch there Sunday and it was nearly inedible. Ordered the potato pancakes on the waitress's recommendation (blech, blech, blech) and a side of turkey sausage (served grey -- not browned in the least).

            1 Reply
            1. re: sweetpotater

              I had a similar experience with the potato pancake - disastrous - but on the other hand my companions all enjoyed their meals. I was thinking I would try again and just order differently. Still, a disappointing start for Commissary.