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District Commons, very common

Went to District Commons last night after hearing about it on Eater and Chowhound. Upon entering we noticed it was loud - very loud; we couldn't even hold a conversation across the table between me and my girlfriend. Not a knock on the restaurant, but just wanted to give a heads up. They do have an extensive wine and beer list (though draft list I found to be rather "common"). We ordered the pretzel bread with mustard butter, flatbread with bacon, and the brick pressed chicken for my gf and the pork chop for me. The pretzel bread was delicious - warm soft center, with a slightly crisp and salty crust. The flatbread was ok, but nothing special. It had a very thin crust (thinner than cracker thin crust) that lacked any flavor. The bacon was smoky, porky goodness though. I was rather unimpressed with the pork chop though. Not bad, just kind of average. I liked what they tried to do with the eggplant chowchow (?), but it could have used more of it. My girlfriend didn't seem impressed with her chicken either (when asked how it was, she replied: "it's chicken". I was too full to try it). Service was good though, and I would like to try their burger (though why spend $16 when I could get a burger at their sister restaurant for $6 though?).

All in all, it was a decent meal, but was pretty ordinary. And I hate ordinary; when I go out to eat at a restaurant, I want extraordinary, unique, delicious, etc...

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  1. Spend more money.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Worldwide Diner

      Ha, what?! Are you implying that I need to go to an expensive restaurant to get a good meal? I find that utterly ridiculous. In fact, yesterday while eating at La Mexicana I realized that it's my favorite meal in DC, and it comes to usually just over $20 for the two of us - though I spend about $30 on the zipcar.

      -----
      La Mexicana
      13016 Middlebrook Rd, Germantown, MD 20874

      1. re: mdpilam

        You are exactly correct in my view- spending more money is not the solution. I completely agree with you that price has nothing to do with the total experience. In fact the last time I ate at La Lomita with a friend our bill was so small it did not meet their credit card minimum and we were perfectly thrilled with the meal. My main thing when I eat out is that I want something un-ordinary. I'm thrilled eating at a unique hole in the wall or dive joint or eating at trendy or upscale downtown places. Also DC Commons is owned by Passion Food Hospitality and in my experience their price points are usually above average. I have not been to DC Commons but based on what I am hearing it is rather bland. The Burger Tap and Shake however seems to get rave reviews so the answer may be to just eat there instead and save the money. I think this is the first time that Passion Food has gone into the plain old American category and they may have over adjusted things a little too much in the plain direction. Their other places are a little more exotic so American pub might be too out of their experience and skill set.

        1. re: mdpilam

          You want "extraordinary, unique, delicious " and you want it cheap? Does " you get what you paid for" not apply to you? There's nothing extraordinary or unique or even particularly good about La Mexicana.

          -----
          La Mexicana
          13016 Middlebrook Rd, Germantown, MD 20874

          1. re: Worldwide Diner

            I've been to plenty of high end restaurants and more than once what I've gotten for the money is taken. Price is no guarantee of anything, except perhaps, a fancy bathroom. And that's just a perhaps.

            1. re: Worldwide Diner

              I would like atleast one of the three. I don't think I said anything about cheap, but cheap and DC is an oxymoron in itself.

              1. re: Worldwide Diner

                My favorite restaurant in the area is Oohhs and Ahhs. Not dirt cheap, actually, but you could go a lifetime without eating soul food that good. Furthermore, the adage "you get what you pay for" is too simplistic since almost everyone reading Chowhound has had both good and bad meals at the same restaurant.

          2. I had a rather different experience. I checked out District Commons a few weeks ago for lunch and really enjoyed it. I also got the brick chicken and thought it was delicious. Very juicy with a nice gravy/glaze type sauce, mashed potatoes and swiss chard. It was exactly what I wanted.

            For dessert I had their interpretation of Boston Cream Pie...very, very good. All of their desserts sounded awesome.

            I think it's a great addition to the neighborhood....it's one of those places that has something to offer everyone. I'm happy it's talking distance from my apartment.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Elyssa

              "talking distance" ?

              I'm going to steal that.

              1. re: hill food

                Obviously I meant walking distance.

                1. re: Elyssa

                  I know, but I like talking distance better (or rather in addition)

              2. re: Elyssa

                I actually had a very disappointing lunch there. My coworker and I both got the crabcake sandwich - it was really more of a slider than a sandwich, and was quite mediocre. I have heard the burger there is quite good. (Tom Sistema seems to agree and says its worth the $16 even though they have burgers next door for less: http://www.washingtonpost.com/gog/res...

                )

                The service was also pretty poor and disjointed, which I understand happens at new places. However, what happened that day was somewhat absurd. The kitchen mistakenly sent out crab cakes (not in a sandwich) and sides of fries. We alerted them about the mistake and they of course took the dishes back, but left us our fries. I proceed to snack on the fries while we wait for our sandwiches - suddenly a busboy comes by and says he needs to take the fries and grabs them while I am clearly eating them. I said, well we get the fries with the sandwich too - and he just says he needs to take them, clearly confused with what he should be doing. The manager must have seen my look of disbelief and came over and asked if all was okay as he should. However, I cannot recall such an odd exchange at a restaurant and I thought the manager should have been somewhat more apologetic and say they are still working out kinks in service.

                In any case, I have enjoyed getting drinks there, but have no plans to return for food both because of the expensive, mediocre, miniscule crabcake sandwich and the very awkward service. It's close enough to work that if I hear consistently better reviews I would stop by for another lunch, but not any time soon.