This week I was invited to the opening of Roofers Union (in the space formerly occupied by The Reef) in Adams Morgan where I sampled my share of snacks and imbibed more than a cocktail or two. I was able to drag my boyfriend along for the very cold half-hour walk from Foggy Bottom with the promise of beer and hopefully good food.
Well, the walk was well worth it. The loft-like restaurant has two levels, which both have bars and seating areas. With a great view of 18th street, the upstairs of the restaurant is where you want to be. The table arrangements, walls, and décor are sleek yet rustic and overall, it is was nice enough to make me question rather I was cool or cosmopolitan enough be there.
The Roofers Union’s overall menu, headed by Chef Meek-Bradley, offers classic tavern options with some surprising twists. Think corn dogs, Italian sausages, and pretzel rolls (without the Dijon mustard from a bottle). All the dishes feel like sophisticated versions of comfort food.
When we finally got to the restaurant, we were both pretty hungry and decided to go straight to the good stuff. And by good stuff, I mean their Fried Chicken Thigh Sandwich, which consists of a Sriracha-honey glazed fried chicken, lettuce, and mayo served on ciabatta. Perhaps it was my low blood sugar from the walk, or the amount of PB&J sandwiches I’m used to eating for dinner, but this is hands down my favorite item on the menu. The Sriracha gives it an unexpected but Asian flare that totally makes the dish. It’s crispy and light, with a hint of sweetness. Order it if you want to be happy.
We tried the Andouille Corndog with their homemade version of Cheese Whiz as a dipping sauce. This is a fun treat that works well with the feeling the place. It’s rustic but still makes you feel like you’re eating something gourmet and goes great with a beer. We also tried the Chicken Sausage served with mushrooms on a handmade pretzel roll., which is an item they served very often throughout the evening. While the chicken sausage is full of flavor, the pretzel roll is the best part. Their pretzel rolls put the theme park version to shame.
Our two favorite dishes were snack items: cauliflower garnished with mint and pine nuts, and artichoke dip. These healthier snacks made me feel better about my jeans size and were a nice break from the heavier (meat) dishes served during the event.
Last but certainly not least, lets talk about drinks. I tried a few beers and wines. I’m not a wine expert but it seemed to get the job done. As far as cocktails, my favorite was the “China girl” which had a lighter citrus flavor. The ingredients had St. George Terrior gin, Zirbenz Pine liquor, Mandarin shrub, lemon juice, and rosemary sprig topped with a bit of champagne. While this may sound like another alcohol to put you to sleep, it’s actually a pretty sip worthy accompaniment to my chicken sausage.
Other drinks were stronger. My boyfriend went straight for the “Punch up at a Wedding” cocktail that practically made his eyes blur. It contains Bigallet Viriana China China Amer, Lairds Apple Brandy Bonded, House Grenadine, soda, and lemon juice. Don’t let the pink exterior of this cocktail fool you. This drink is strong. Really strong. If you want to start your night quickly, don’t shy away from it. Trust me. It’ll get you there. But if you plan on drinking too much that night, I’d opt for something with bit more mixer.
(1) We wrote about one of Chef Meek-Bradley’s dishes in this article about the Lamb Jam.
(2) Welcome to DCFüd, Mary! She is a George Washington University student, and a new addition to our team of writers. Mary will submit her bio for your reading pleasure relatively soon.