Friday, August 7, 2009

Room 11 is Ready to Open its Doors

Room 11 held a preview night Thursday evening and The Heights Life checked out the new spot at 11th and Lamont streets. The wine and dessert bar opens to the public on Monday, August 10.

As the photos illustrate, the place is quite small. I don't know if I have ever been in such an intimate bar in DC. The owners -- Dan Searing, Paul Ruppert, Nick Pimentel, and Ben Gilligan -- are extremely enthusiastic about their new business and are glad to be part of the Columbia Heights community.

In the slide show below you can see its choice menu of meats and cheeses, paninis, small bites and desserts, as well as a solid selection of wines, beers, and cocktails. It's great to see Paisley Fig's awesome goat cheese cheesecake on the menu.

I chatted with Ben Gilligan about preparing the menu. He is really proud of the salami selection, all U.S. purveyors, and he noted that Room 11 is on the waiting list for Seattle's famed Salumi. The cheese selection will focus on local farms and will be available not only on the cheese plate but incorporated into the rotating panini choices, as well. In fact, the words "wine and grilled cheese" were actually used when describing the initial spark behind the menu. Keeping in mind the limited space, all menu items are designed to be eaten with a fork at most. No steaks here.

Some people may know bar manager Dan Searing from his days at Temperance Hall or Warehouse Theatre's Punch Club series. In this video he previews what you can expect from Room 11's bar, with a unique, seasonal selection of wines and equally impressive cocktails among its highlights. And I was especially excited to hear that Punch Club will be revived once the place is up and running. Happy hours specials have not been announced yet but they are in the works.

So about that space? That's what Paul Ruppert and Nick Pimentel share in their videos below. Paul notes that they will be adding heat lamps in the cooler months so patrons can enjoy the outdoor patio. And Nick talks about the pine tile flooring and the gothic bathrooms. Five words: vampire bats and venus fly-traps.


Brandon Green said...

I've seen a few previews of Room 11 online today--really looking forward to checking out this welcome addition to Washington, DC.

alec said...

i went with some friends last night for their soft open. the food was unbelievably good and the menu was very well-chosen; we tried a bit of everything, from roasted corn gazpacho, a meat and cheese plate (the grilled halloumi was a standout), and several paninis, which were all excellent. the drinks were phenomenal (i'd suggest having the chocolate julep... no, i'd suggest having several), inventive, and very reasonably priced. and, of course, the service was personable and responsive.

is there anything i didn't like about this place? no. honestly, i was really impressed with the thought that went into the food and drinks. They could have phoned it in, since i think they'll pack folks in without too much trouble, but they really did an excellent job.