Thursday, June 7, 2012
Alexandria, VA 22314
Work and some other commitments have kept me busy this past week so I haven't been able to write much less go find a good place to eat. I had some free time today and decided to take a bit of a long lunch to try out Columbia Firehouse which is part of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group. So, far I've been to Tallula, Rustico, The Evening Star and Vermilion. Columbia Firehouse, I think, is a slightly more casual take than the others but still very much in the same family with its take on simple, casual comfort food.
I know I should have varied my choices away from fried foods but I had to order the Soft Shell Crab sandwich next. In my defense, the dish came with fries which were pretty good but still run-of-the-mill so I only had a few. The crab was pan fried so the breading was rather thin and light. I've already espoused my love for Old Bay when I went to the Hideaway so when I bit into the sandwich and tasted the Old Bay mayo, I became a fan. What I liked best about the sandwich was that it was so simple. All it had was breading, lettuce, tomato and Old Bay mayo. This allowed the richness of the crab to come through in every bite.
I don have to mention that I also tried out their sparkling pomegranate lemonade. I enjoyed the cool crispiness of the drink and was an appropriate beverage to be sipping outside on a patio. The only drawback was that it was pretty pink which doesn't always evoke masculinity. Nonetheless, I enjoyed it greatly and it really complemented the meal.
When I decided to go to Columbia Firehouse, I was looking for a straightforward, simple and comforting meal for a beautiful spring day. What I found was a well crafted and well rounded meal that goes over and above what the menu promises. All the food may not be cutting edge and Columbia Firehouse may not be a mecca for new techniques but the food is a pleasant surprise for anyone that may expect simple bar fare when they visit. I've enjoyed most of my experiences at all of NRG's restaurants but I think this was first one that really made me want to go back again.