Local. Organic. Fresh. Sustainable. Delicious.
One of the new gastro-pubs in DC set up another shop in the old Houston’s space on Rockville Pike! Againn Gastropub (pronounced “aguinn”, meaning ‘together’ or ‘with us’ in gaelic) opened its doors six weeks ago, and is a welcome addition to the suburban foodscape. Touting traditional pub fare inspired by fresh, local ingredients – they really hit the mark.
I have visited the establishment twice so far – eating a delicious, relaxed dinner in the dining room the first time, and more recently, meeting friends in the bar for lunch and drinks. Both experiences were memorable, and the food was incredible both times. Every dish is done right… Made from scratch with the previously noted organic, sustainable and local ingredients.
Today, the bar area beckoned… We selected from the extensive beer menu on which seasonal drafts and interesting craft beers mingle with international heavy-hitters to complete a well-rounded beer list. *It should be noted that a lovely selection of pre-prohibition era cocktails and wines by the glass or bottle are available as well*. Our bartender for the day was Fabian – knowledgeable and passionate about good spirits – he is on a mission to make sure we all expand our drink (beer/wine/cocktail) horizons – pushing you if need be to try new versions things you already like.
Waiting for friends we slow-played lunch… starting with Crispy Brussel Sprouts and Spinach and Artichoke dip. The crispy sprouts were my favorite – crispy leaves (almost charred in places) encase perfectly cooked Brussel Sprouts and are tossed with what tastes like lemon, salt and pepper. The dish is served with a lightly curried mayonnaise that is the perfect complement to the dish. I enjoyed the creamy spinach and artichoke dip as well, but the Brussel Sprouts are a standout. (I NEVER though I would say that!)
Lunch entrée orders included the Pan-Crisped Ham and Cheese Sarine (sandwich), a wonderful lamb based Shepherd’s Pie, a craft burger (featuring grass-fed beef), and a (daily special) sandwich piled with home-made pastrami.
The hot Ham and Cheese sandwich is made with brown bread, house made ham, and jasper hill cave-aged cheddar cheese. It is served with a homemade pickle and nicely fried “chips” (fries!). The cheese really makes this sandwich, seeping out of the bread and frying to a crisp on the bread, while still maintaining a melty-gooey texture in the sandwich itself. The fries and pickle round out the meal nicely, but be careful – the pickle is spicy-hot! The Shepherd’s Pie was served bubbling away in its own dish, with a gold and crispy mashed potato crust hiding a treasure trove of tender ground lamb underneath. (I was thankful to have been able to sneak a bite or two of this amazing dish!).
The home-made pastrami sandwich was served on grilled brown bread with arugula, thinly shaved red onions and rustic mustard, and the grass-fed beef burger was beautifully cooked and served on a soft brioche bun. I have it on good authority that both dishes were wonderfully executed and I can attest to the fact that they were well received.
I would be remiss if I neglected to note the sumptuous potted pork or steamed mussel appetizers I enjoyed during my first visit. Likewise, the extensive Scotch selection can not be overlooked. There is also the fact that special menus for Brunch and Sunday Roast are in the works.
Againn Gastropub is the place I would want to own. Honest and delicious food served in a warm and relaxed environment. It is a place that I intend to visit over and over again (no pun intended!) Be aware that menus will change with the seasons, but you are sure to find interesting selections every time you visit.http://againntavern.com/
12256 Rockville Pike Rockville, MD 20852