If the floor-to-ceiling windows with views of Washington Circle are not enough to lure you to District Commons, perhaps chef-owner Jeff Tunks’s menu will do the trick. Described as a “21st-century take on the traditional American tavern,” District Commons highlights Tunks’s way with classic cuisine, albeit with mouthwatering and innovative twists. Brickpressed chicken provides a little uniqueness to the old standard; roasted duck is served with a kicked-up sorghum-chili glaze; the District Commons Burger actually consists of barbecue braised Pineland Farms short ribs with a sweet slaw—all part of Tunks’s cleverly conceived interpretations of standard fare. He has even included a “pig board,” with a revolving lineup of the chef’s favorite domestic hams, many from local purveyors.
Another stunner is the seasonal flatbread, baked daily in the kitchen’s hearth oven and topped with items like lamb sausage and roasted eggplant, Tennessee country prosciutto, or smoked bacon and Vidalia onions. For a fun, latenight dinner, we suggest the get-it-while-it-lasts staff meal (a steal at $12): A dinner bell rings at 10 PM, and the “family” meal is served. Each night has a different special—Monday night it is Nana Sue’s meatloaf; Thursday is TenPenh Night, featuring dishes from the much-beloved but shuttered Foggy Bottom eatery—but it is the camaraderie and convivial atmosphere that has fans returning again and again. More than anything, this overall style and vibe has earned District Commons the distinction as the city’s new must-try. Plush seating, luxe décor touches, cozy lounge banquettes, a stainless steel raw bar, and an open view to the bustling kitchen, where, as is the way with chef Tunks, the real magic happens—there is nothing common about any of it. 2200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 202-587-8277
June 19, 2017