2761 Washington Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201
CUISINE Modern American, Bar/Pub Grub, Wine Bar
PRICE Under $12
HOURS Open for dinner and late-night dining daily, brunch Saturday and Sunday.
NVM AWARDS Best Bargain Restaurant 2007
Best Bargain Restaurant 2008
NEARBY METRO None
SPECIAL FEATURESAccepts Credit Cards
By Warren Rojas
Pork belly at every turn. Cartoon brunches. And dozens of wines for the sampling (in 3-, 6- or 10-ounce pours, no less).
If EatBar just carved out some sleeping quarters, I’d move in already.
The relaxed pub to Tallula’s slightly tonier dining room, EatBar continues to captivate thanks to the culinary daring of chefs Barry Koslow and Joey Alvarez and the oenological savvy of wine director Juliana Santos.
The wine list, though pages deep, staves off exasperation by pouring selections into playful categories like “bright and racy” (sauvignon blanc), “soft and supple” (merlot) and “sweet and sticky” (desserts). The roughly four dozen, by-the-glass options cover the global basics, but also display an appreciation for out-of-the-way finds (Australian Rhone clones, Italian dolcetta, Austrian zweigelt, Spanish mourvedre).
The 2008 Stadt Krems Gruner Veltliner charges out of the glass with grapefruit and citrus, but quickly mellows into a nice, easygoing white.
The 2008 Hacienda Araucano Carmenere offers no such retreat, proving unrepentantly musky but appropriately bold—its bright red fruit tempered with a slight gaminess (an acquired taste, to be sure, but right up my alley).
The 2005 Quinta de Roriz Prazo de Roriz Duoro attempts a more delicate balancing act, providing a rush of red fruit up front and a dry, inky finish at the end of each gulp (well played).
The menu, meanwhile, seems to turn on gourmet snacks, seasonal mains and wine-craving charcuterie.
Grilled squid, aioli-dabbed chickpeas and sundried tomatoes pull off an expectation-shattering textural swap (the squid hardened from smoke, the tender beans cushioned further by the creamy sauce, the desiccated fruit conveying garden freshness) that’s as alluring to behold as it is to consume.
Moist and meaty polpette sink into a sea of preternaturally creamy polenta bolstered by robust tomato ragout.
The house version of chicken and waffles summons well-executed bird—the golden thighs deliver a carefully coaxed crunch around the edges, but delicious moistness right down the middle—lain to rest atop a malted waffle (the ultimate gravy mop), all accompanied by garlic-infused kale, buttery homemade gravy (the bonus onion is fantastic) and a side of maple syrup (enhances the sweet, but is actually unnecessary).
It’s a rollercoaster of a meal, all right, and a ride I hope to revisit very soon.
Luckily, the odds appear to be (short) stacked in my favor.
While devouring said chicken, a chatty barkeep offered a theory as to why the kitchen crew has suddenly taken to weaving homespun waffles into various signature offerings and their new theme brunches—while procuring their new waffles irons, the EatBar team got roped into buying gallons and gallons of waffle mix, too.(May 2008)
By Warren Rojas
Relish bacon wrapped-figs ($5) awash in frothy mascarpone (the sweet! the salty! the sheer ecstasy!). Savor homemade pastrami ($12) bearing a peppery crust, succulent meat (tugs back with each pull of your fork) and ethereally whipped potatoes. Enjoy an ice cream sandwich ($7) split into golden quarters studded with butterscotch chips, vanilla ice cream and drops of chocolate sauce.(June/July 2007)
By Warren Rojas
The gourmet hot dog plate produces a meaty maverick that puts standard ballpark snacks to shame. Succulent frank is a good two inches around with slightly blistered skin, and is accompanied by homemade ketchup and mustard (scorching) and twice-cooked fries (fantastic).