Thursday, July 22, 2010

Laughing Man Tavern

This is one of those posts that we never intended to write. I was going to write about the cool new place in downtown called Funxion, but they were closed on Saturday at lunch time. Thanks to Yelp for having the wrong hours and to Funxion for having one of the most dysfunxional websites of all time. So, picture us standing on F Street near 13th on a blazing hot Saturday in need of a lunch spot. Food court? Blah. Teaism? A favorite, but too far in this heat.

We started walking when I remembered a newish bar/grill next to my nail salon on G Street. B looked at me like he was going to melt so I hustled him inside the Laughing Man Tavern without really knowing anything about it.

The first thing we noticed is that the space is much bigger than it appears from the street. It has a downstairs area and large main floor with bar and lots of tables. Also, I don't know who this scary looking guy is. He is probably laughing at us for walking around DC on a day that feels like an armpit.

The menu looked like a pretty typical bar menu with a couple of added flourishes. We decided to start with the self-proclaimed "house specialty" crab mac and cheese. I was thrown off by the fact that it was served on a big rectangular plate making it look a bit messy. The taste didn't make up for the sloppy presentation. The cheese was too runny and it was so crabby that it tasted kind of like eating the water out of a tin of canned crab. I've never done that but if I had, this is what it would have tasted like. Anyway, what I'm saying is that you should save your nickels and your waistline, and skip this dish.

B went the typical bar food route and ordered a burger and ended up with a pretty typical bar burger. The Andes Burger featured wild mushrooms, brown sugar-bourbon mustard sauce, and melted gruyere cheese. It was a really big burger and the ingredients were fresh but nothing too special about this one.

I won the prize with the thai chicken flatbread. While the flatbread appeared to be a store-bought pita, the flavors were really outstanding. It was drizzled in a sweet and spicy chili sauce and topped with giant chicken pieces, peanuts, green onions, and a wasabi soy reduction. I had to chase the peanuts all over my plate because they kept falling off, but it was well worth the effort.

For some reason the flatbreads are served with a giant side of fries. The fries looked really awesome (they were those crispity ones that looked like they'd been fried 4 times) but they were just kind of "eh."

While I'd probably go back to Laughing Man any time of the day to eat the thai chicken flatbread, I recommend you check it out during Happy Hour. It goes until 8pm, which is perfect for those of us who can never manage to get out of work before normal Happy Hour ends. I also hear that they have Law Firm Appreciation Night just in case you don't encounter enough lawyers in DC already.

Second Thoughts from B

The last thing you want to do on a hot and sticky summer day in Washington is stand hungrily outside a closed restaurant. As I stood there, any ability to reason or problem solve was overwhelmed by my longing for food and air conditioning, not necessarily in that order. Thankfully, my better half who enjoys heat more than I do (the tables are turned in the winter) was still able to function.

The point is that the Laughing Man Tavern will always hold a special place in my heart. As for a special place in my stomach, that's a different story. J told you about the mac and cheese and my run of the mill burger. All ok. Solid bar food, perfectly acceptable if you're in the area, nothing to freak out about. The thai chicken flatbread though, was outstanding and when you're in a bar, any food that can be described that way is noteworthy. It also explains the great mystery of the Laughing Man Tavern because clearly the thai chicken flatbread is what the fine gentleman on the logo is so happy about.
The Laughing Man Tavern on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

Love your blog! Question - what's the name of the nail salon you mentioned? I've been trying to find one. Got a review on it? :)

J said...

Thanks for reading! The nail salon I mentioned is Natural Nails. No review of it because I only write about stuff that B and I do together and, well, he doesn't get his nails done :)

Here is the Yelp page:

I'm not in love with the place but it is one of the few downtown nail places. It is located in a basement beneath a copy store so it can be hard to find. The plus side: they always have room to fit in a manicure/pedicure without an appointment and they tend to be very friendly. The minus: service is inconsistent and they're closed on Sundays. It also will run you about $50 for manicure/pedicure. They also put your foot on a wrapped roll of paper towels while they're scrubbing the bottom of your feet. It is kind of weird but I'm used to it. Definitely not a classy spa feel but they do have the spa massage chairs.

However, a new place just opened on 7th Street near M across from the Mt. Vernon Square metro station (Red Sun Nails and Spa) and I liked it better than Natural Nails. It was brighter and newer and a bit cheaper. There was quite a crowd when I went so might be best to call them before (202-589-0428). They are open til 7:30 on weekdays and open both Saturday and Sunday.

If you're closer to Capitol Hill you can try Capitol Nails on Massachusetts near Union Station. I haven't been but my friend Alix says it's good and they are open on Sundays.

Anonymous said...

J - thanks for the great and information nail info. I live in penn qtr and I don't like golden nails...kind of scary. I will try our your suggestions. Thanks again!