I’ve hit Againn twice in the past month for some delicious , locally-sourced, gastropub food. What makes it so endearing to me is the simple pub-fare food, classed-up, and somehow made lighter than one would typically expect of such eats.
Thus far all the dishes I’ve had at Againn (a Gaelic word meaning “with us“) have been excellent. I’ll mention the details here.
- Baked Camembert Cheese – “Studded with garlic and rosemary, tomato chutney, garlic croutes.” Really garlicky (especially the croutes, although there is plenty in the cheese). I’m a fan of baked Brie, and Camembert has its similarities. The tomato chutney went well with the rosemary and garlic flavors, adding tang and a mellowing out of the saltiness.
- Salmon Fishcakes – “Lemongrass, chili, coriander, marinated cucumbers, sweet chili dip.” As one would imagine from the description, there’s a hint of Thai in the taste…not a bad fusion, although not the typical UK pub grub flavors.
- Oysters – Add a half or full dozen of the daily selection of oysters Againn has up for offer. They came out with a half lemon (with a cloth filter to catch the pulp and seeds) and a tasty shallot vinegar.
- Pork Belly and Crackling – “House made black pudding, apple mash, red wine jus.” I’ve tried this twice, and every bit of the dish has been delicious. The pork belly was tender and succulent, and the black pudding and apple mash were flavorful even without the jus. The crackling was crunchy and went well with the rest of the entree. If you’re a pork fan, get this one.
- Grilled Lamb Rump – “Potato gratin, red wine sauce.” Againn serves the lamb medium, although it appeared closer to medium rare to me. I actually asked for medium rare, so this was great. Keep it in mind if you prefer yours more cooked. The red wine sauce went very well with the meat, and the gratin side was savory (I’m definitely a fan of the sides here – they’re not something that everyone gets right).
- Cheesecake (special) – Againn was testing a new cheesecake recipe when I was visiting. Baked cheesecake with an Oreo crust, topped with melted Mascarpone, and served with a berry sauce. The Mascarpone could have had a little more sweetness, although it worked as a nice contrast with the taste of the rest of the dessert.
- Sticky Toffee Pudding – served with vanilla ice cream. Sweet and tasty…a good pub dessert. I’d get this again.
- Strawberry Eton Mess – “Pimm’s marinated strawberries, crushed meringue, whipped cream.” I didn’t get this, but it sounded so good that I want it in the near future.
- God of War – “Makers Mark bourbon, cherry herring, sweet vermouth, Peychauds bitters, house-made blood orange bitters.”
- Pimm’s Cup No. 13 – “Pimm’s No. 1, choice of any spirit, english cucumber, mint, lemon, ginger syrup, Angostura bitters, ginger beer.”
- Lady Macbeth – “Choice of vodka or gin, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, lemon, eggwhites.”
These were all good…they’re going up on my list for in-house mixology.
If you’re a scotch fan, Againn has something for you. Besides having an extensive scotch list, scotch lockers, and listed scotch flights, Againn will let you do your own custom flights. I tried one with Islay scotches…all nice and peaty.
Againn has lower reviews on some sites than I would have expected. As with any restaurants, I’d encourage folks to check places out for themselves before taking a restaurant off your list based on poor reviews – especially when the number of reviewers is low. Keep Againn on your list.
–AGAINN 1099 New York Ave NW Washington, D.C. 20001 (202) 639-9830 http://www.againndc.com Book on OpenTable