More From North Country – Robyn Visits Brightwood Bistro

You know the feeling you get when you put on last year’s fall jacket and find $20 in the pocket? Or come across a toll booth operator who is actually friendly? Nothing beats being pleasantly surprised, exactly the feeling you with recently-opened Brightwood Bistro, a gem of a restaurant on a still emerging intersection.

I made sure to go during their happy hour, which offers select appetizers, cocktails and other drinks half off from 5 -7pm. Its modern atmosphere (think low-hanging lights and cool blue tones) makes it stand out from the restaurant’s neighbors with names like YUM YUMS CHINESE and CASH QUICK. I quickly ordered from the beaming bartender who was both chatty and adorably forgetful. She insisted I try her specialty cocktail, the orange creamsicle, and turned away to make it before I had a chance to explain that as a finicky-eater kid, I would rather eat broccoli than those disgusting, sickly-sweet popsicles. And I hated broccoli. They do have a long list of cocktails that are just too cute for their own good – I feel like I heard a tray of pink fluffy martinis giggle with each other while being carted off to the dining room. The food is comfort food, and tends to be on the adventurous side. I was curious to try the Buffalo Fried Frog Legs but was immediately vetoed from parties present. The Rittenhouse wings, with plum sauce, are tangy and delicious, the plate of tomato and garlic mussels had a broth to die for, and the garlic fries were gone in seconds – mainly due to the fact that I have had a love affair with fries since I was a kid. A kid who hated creamsicles, and an adult who still has her full Orange Creamsicle drink in front of her and a watchful bartender. Out of politeness I gagged the sugary-milky thing down and told her it was the best creamsicle I’ve ever had. She beamed even more (I didn’t think that was possible), and offered to make another one….and I asked for the check. While I support, and highly recommend Brightwood Bistro, I’m not about to sacrifice my martini tastebuds for them.

Brightwood Bistro
5832 Georgia Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20011

Any fans of Brightwood Bistro out there?

20 Comment

  • I’d recommend trying the dinner menu, asides the bar food.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    youdontknowme threats, even in jest, will not be tolerated.

  • Apologies. I love the Bistro for special meals. I was offended at the characterization of the neighborhood though, especially when compared to Petworth or Colombia Heights of all places, which are equally as shady. We all have blight, and all have check cashers and bums urinating and such. Petworth has the ghetto Wendy’s… I could go on.

  • nicest tollbooth operator ever:

    Lola Transue in Delaware. Met her around 1988.

  • i’m also slightly offended by the description of the neighborhood. i encourage people to walk around the side streets of brightwood and lower Takoma. Most of the architecture is beautiful, the people are friendly, the streets are quiet at night. If you look at the crime reports we have some of the lowest crime rates around (As long as you’re a few blocks away from Georgia). Brightwood is a great neighborhood and Brightwood Bistro is a fantastic restaurant. Couple that with Peaches Kitchen and the soon to be Julie’s Empanadas and we have some nice places in North Country.

  • “coal mine of a neighborhood”? that’s not nice! It sounds to me that you’ve never ventured off Georgia Avenue. If you walked a few blocks off the ‘nue you’d be surprised at how nice some of the homes are.

  • perhaps “coal mine of an intersection” would be more accurate? because, honestly, it’s an unattractive little crossroads — unlike most of brightwood.

  • In no way is Brightwood “a coal mine of a neighborhood”. Sure, things on the ‘Nue can be rough, and that intersection with Missouri isn’t the most pleasing around, but if you had ever ventured into the actual Brightwood neighborhood itself, you’d realize how mistaken you are with that unfair (if not unseemly) characterization.

    My wife and I are relatively recent additions to the neighborhood, having moved there just over a year ago. We were pleasantly surprised to find this wonderful area which is definitely one of the best-kept secrets in this city.

    After all, we live on a block where Harry Wardman and other leading architects of the day – including Clarence Harding, designer of the Woodward and Lothrop Department Store; Charles Dillon; and George T. Santmyers – designed and built attractive, affordable homes back in the late 1930’s. In fact, the homes Wardman built on Sheridan Street were among the last projects he completed before his death. Download the Brightwood Heritage Trail Booklet (pdf)

    Brightwood is a stable neighborhood filled with many long-time residents. It is not a coal mine.

    The ‘Nue may have fallen on rough times, but it is coming back. I remember what Columbia Heights was like when I first moved back to DC (before it got turned into – UGH! – a Virginia suburb) and I’m sure that over the next few years Brightwood (and the ‘Nue) will be recognized as a revitalized, vibrant area that doesn’t look like a mall.

  • Hmmmmm. I am trying to understand ( and I think, think,mind you-I do to some degree)
    the mind set which expresses frustration over a less than classically “good” ( and Lord knows this means different things to different people) neighborhood when, I assume, said author knew this when he or she moved in.
    I am not saying get out. I am just baffled…. With this economy, I wouldnt expect the -ah-Capitol Hill-like transformation you may or may not have lusted for right away.

    PS. 15 dollar burgers? Lord, I am getting old!

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Brightwood is a beautiful neighborhood. The description was an exaggeration that I have edited because the jist of this post is that brightwood bistro is a great place and folks should check it out. They deserve their props. And I’m excited to check out the brightwood heritage trail!

  • I still, for the life of me, can’t figure out why people still choose to wait in line at a toll booth operated by a person instead of using EZPass. Every time I zoom by the massive toll line backups in MD and DE, I am completely bewildered.

  • I thought this place closed down. The sign’s down, no?

  • I wish them the best of luck, but that location seems to be ‘cursed’ in the past several decades. Lots of bloodshed and death – I hope the new owners can shake it.

  • A friend of mine went there last night and had nothing but good things to say about the service, food, atmosphere, and overall experience. I personally look forward to checking out an eatery that I have heard about for so long and until now have had no reason nor desire to check out. That being said, I am neither offended nor overjoyed by the coal mine analogy. I grew up in the coal mining region of Southwest VA and while I still lose myself in daydreams of warm summers by the riverside and other Mayberry-esque scenes there were certainly ugly and unfortunate areas which I conveniently neither call upon nor mention when describing my hometown. I respect Robyn’s right to describe a new locale however it strikes her. It seems that within an area full of history, dilapidation, and promise she found a diamond in a coal mine and there is nothing wrong with that.

  • Just so folks down south know, on one block in Brightwood the last 4 home sales were for 1.56, 1.3, 1.5, 1 and .9 million. While that block is an outlier, the vast majority of Brightwood is pretty middle and upper middle class, has been for a while and does not need gentrification. As many have stated alot of Brightwood blight is on Georgia Ave. and actually north of Missouri, Georgia Ave may not look so hot but there are quite a few conviences and the Safeway/CVS and Payless aren’t all bad. Still, I look forward to quality development at/near the Curtis site. The dog park and the Brightwood Bistro are a good start.

  • what block is that?

  • Bring on more posts about Petworth and Brightwood! For grief’s sake, the Red Derby is now classified by the City Paper as Urban Hipster. Pretty soon, I won’t be cool enough to cross “the nue”.

  • the end of van buren

  • You New Jacks carry on. I agree with anonymous about the price of a hamburger…..

  • robyns writing is childish, my opinion thats all.

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