The IFA Likes: Bar Pilar

by Amanda Mattos

Every so often, Ezra and I will get together for dinner and catch up on each other’s lives (IMs and big group gatherings don’t always cut it). More often than not, we do so at Bar Pilar. A cozy neighborhood spot, famed for its former bartender, Bar Pilar is a gem. Yes, the cocktails and beer selections are welcoming, but what really shines is the food. Mostly snacks and small plates, with some entrees, and cheese and charcuterie selections, there are a few mainstays (and thank goodness, because when you’re craving their white anchovies on grilled toast, there’s just no substitute), but the menu changes seasonally.

Last night Ezra tried a dish so nice he ordered it twice. Seriously. We got a selection of small plates (grilled heirloom zucchini, their always amazing oil roasted marcona almonds, the aforementioned anchovies) and each got a bowl of the sweet corn soup, a seasonal addition neither of us had tried before. Holy. Cow. This soup was just wonderful — perfectly balanced serrano chili (we think), corn and cilantro, blended creamy smooth, and finished with some finely grated parmesan. The corn wasn’t even the standout flavor, but it brought the other elements together beautifully and finished off each spoonful. Really — this soup is worth making a trip. Ezra was so impressed that he ordered a 2nd bowl after finishing his first. Two big, big thumbs up. Hopefully we’ll make it back there again before sweet summer corn comes off the menu.

8 responses to “The IFA Likes: Bar Pilar

  1. I love Bar Pilar. I am there three times a week. I am in the tank for this bar. That being said, once Adam left, the draft beer selection went south.

    Of their six taps, I think four make my mouth cry. The Peak Organic is a weak, stale sock-tasting IPA, the Duck Rabbit Amber is just bland malty mediocrity and Magic Hat #9 is, well, fuck that noise.

    Brooklyn Lager is unremarkable, but fine, and the de rigeur Allagash White has grown tired, but it’s definitely drinkable.

    Yeah, there’s one more I forgot, but it’s nothing I’m sure it’s nothing that could redeem the draft beer list for me.

    /end bitter rant

  2. Yeah, what is with the horribleness of Peak Organic beers? Their nut brown is one of few beers I have ever sent back not because it had gone bad but because it simply WAS bad (I offered to pay for it anyway since it was my fault for ordering the damn stuff, but my extremely gracious bartender did not make me do so).

    Magic Hat may not be your style of beer, and it’s certainly not a particularly interesting beer (especially in this city–we have a lot of it on tap), but it’s not an offensive beer per se.

    I agree the tap selection is wanting, but this is a problem with DC in general, not just Bar Pilar. At least they have Allagash, which I could drink bucketfuls of in the summer (along with Oberon). I’ll just switch to whiskey when I go there in the winter, I guess.

    On the up side, did you see the beer list at the redone Pizzeria Paradiso?? Pretty sweet.

    http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/youngandhungry/2009/09/01/drool-list-pizzeria-paradiso-at-dupont-circle/

  3. But why drink beer there at all when their Paloma is so, so delicious?

  4. Eh, #9 is fine in the sun on a blazing hot day, but it’s sweet with no body and. Ultimately, at a place that serves such wonderful and varied food, they need a better selection of more robust beers.

    I love the new Pizzeria Paradiso. The 5-7 half-price draft happy hour on Tuesday and Wednesday is going to see a lot of me.

    Also, Birch & Barley / Churchkey opens in a month. It’s Beerpocalpyse 2k9.

  5. Yum. I like to get the anchovies there, but I’ll try the soup next time.

  6. I really, really like the grilled anchovies at Pilar.

  7. I don’t believe anything about Churchkey any more. It’s SO close to my house and they just keep building up my hopes about opening and then dashing them! Also, last time I peered in the space (weekish ago?) it seemed like it had a ways to go.

  8. Oh yeah! I’m here like once a week, and really the food is spectacular, I don’t know why it’s not more crowded during the week. It gets really packed past 9 pm on a weekend night, but if you go early you’re in for some good eats. It does bum me out though that often when I return something I really liked on the menu is gone. But then there are other just as good options to be had.

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