Eating Around Town – Cashion’s Eat Place

1819 Columbia Road, NW

This edition of Eating Around Town was written by Abbey Becker. Abbey previously wrote about Boundary Stone. She lives near Eastern Market.

Since its opening in 1995, Cashion’s Eat Place (1819 Columbia Rd NW) has always done its best to cook with local ingredients, and it cooks them well. But for a restaurant that’s been around as long as Cashion’s, it’s understandable that though their menu is priced right around other mid-priced to upscale restaurants (depending on your interpretation) in the District, it’s often overlooked by diners. The proprietors themselves admit that their clientele tends to be on the older side, and that younger generations tend to bypass them for restaurants that are new to the city.

Cashion’s held a small preview dinner earlier this week to showcase the additions to their menu and the updated decor, and I was lucky enough to be included as a contributor to PoPville.

Let me say up front that while I am always up for a free meal, I’m wary of someone trying to “sell” me on how innovative the food is, how underrated they are, etc. But everything I ate was flavorful, balanced, and clearly made with care, and it’s obvious that the owners truly love what they do.

Chef John Manolatos has been at Cashion’s since the first day it opened. He had no culinary training aside from working in a deli making sandwiches, but the kitchen took him on and taught him the skills that eventually made him sous-chef. Because of the mentorship he received, he had made it a point to hire kitchen staff not based on experience or professional training, but on the enthusiasm they bring.

Justin Abad, the longtime general manager turned owner who also chooses the wine list, has worked at Cashion’s for the majority of his career. He’s an excellent host–personable, knowledgeable, and eager to please–but it’s clearly genuine. You can tell there’s nowhere he’d rather be.

Continues after the jump.

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While service is certainly important, it’s the food that’s going to keep you coming back. Cashion’s hasn’t taken anything off their menu, though it does change seasonally. Manolatos added a section to the menu called “For the Table,” which is made up of small plates with prices that are much more palatable than the $35 dorade or the $42 dry-aged rib eye. Dishes I’d recommend include crispy fingerling potatoes with garlic aioli ($7); dry-aged crispy lamb skin ($7), which may sound strange, but it’s almost like a really lamby jerky; Tuscan liver crostini with prosciutto di Parma ($9)–this doesn’t taste much like liver, but more like a warm-spiced, meaty spread topped with delicious ham; Szechuan-roasted peanuts ($4), which are ridiculously addictive; and the pork rinds with smoked paprika ($4).

If you’re looking for something more substantial, try the caramelized lamb ribs with scallions and lime ($12) or the Pennsylvania-raised goat, spit-roasted and pulled, with fresh chilies, caramelized onions, cilantro, black-eyed pea salad, grilled flat bread and tzatziki ($27). I know this last one might sound like it carries a hefty price tag if you’re more into the small plates price range, but trust me–this will be enough for two people if you’ve gotten a small plate or two in addition. I’d had goat once before and I remembered it being gamy and chewy, but this goat preparation has changed my mind. Chef Manolatos roasts the goat on a spit for five hours, until the goat is falling off the bone, and serves it with the best (and most garlicky) tzatziki I’ve ever had, pickled artichoke leaves (zesty and clean), serranos, and cilantro. I’m going back for this one for sure.

Their wine list is carefully chosen by Abad, and they’ve got a great supplier–their own wine shop, A.M. Wine Shoppe (2122 18th St NW). If there’s a wine you tried at Cashion’s and you want to pick up a bottle, walk a couple of blocks and you can bring it home. (I’ve heard they also make a great sandwich, but that’s another review.)

36 Comment

  • Chef John also just recently tied for MVP Chef of Taste of the Nation, along with Bryan Voltaggio. The guy has some serious chops. Not just pork chops, either.

  • Too bad the service is so inflexible. Try getting a different kind of bread with your eggs benedict and see what happens. Food is good but always feels like they are doing you a favor bringing your order.

    • YES! Went once and was pretty irritated. Brunch was very average and they would just not budge on some pretty basic adjustments. Ppl in my party had food restrictions, nothing crazy yet they “couldn’t do it”. Haven’t been back since.

  • I just ate there for the first time last week on a whim. We had the tasting menu, and the goat was definitely the best part the entire meal – it was amazing. The trumpet mushroom salad and tagliatelle with ragu was delicious as well. My dining companion thought that the serving sizes were too small, but I came out feeling satisfied but not stuffed, which was fine with me.

  • bfinpetworth

    Cashions is my go to place. Just had dinner there on Tuesday night as a matter of fact. My partner and I always sit at the bar, order a few dishes, and always leave feeling very very pleased with both the meal and the drinks. And the bartenders are outstanding. In fact, we are getting ready to move from the area and I commented to my partner that Cashions is one of the (few) things I would miss about living in DC.

    One of the things we like about it is the maturity the place exudes. You know you aren’t going to have to scream to be heard, you know you won’t have twenty-somethings hovering over you at the bar to get another drink, etc.. Just a calm, sophisticated, and delicious experience. We are always a bit surprised that it isn’t more crowded, but I guess in the eyes of young district residents, new is better than great.

    Bravo, Cashions!

  • Their food is not that good really. I have almost always been disappointed there.

  • Not a good place for vegetarians. Just sayin’.

    • Amen. I mean, I’ve got no issue with meat eaters and I don’t expect to take over the whole menu, but dang…it’d be nice to have maybe a handful of veg options.

  • Emmaleigh504

    I love Cashion’s! I had the most amazing rabbit there. Every thing I have there is tasty and I think the proportions for the price are good.

    Single Popville ladies, go eat at the bar and nice men will talk to you. And nice Asian looking man who talked to me that time I was not on a date with that guy but he thought I was, I wish I had given you my card when he was in the loo.

  • justinbc

    They probably took a significant hit after Mintwood Place opened up nearby, and justifiably so since the food at MWP is much better.

    • bfinpetworth

      Debatable and a matter of taste. And MWP is too damned loud.

    • Emmaleigh504

      I was very underwhelmed by Mintwood. I’ve only been for brunch so far, but it was sooo bland and the waiter was terrible. I’ll give it a go for supper before I write it off completely.

    • saf

      My experience was exactly the opposite – I did not like the food, noise, or service at Mintwood Place, but I love Cashion’s.

    • Going to Mintwood for their NYE dinner remains my biggest mistake of 2013 (it lasted past midnight). The food was truly atrocious (except for the Wellington).

      But I disagree about the service, our server was awesome.

  • Half the time I go to Cashions I ask myself why I don;t eat there more often. The other half of the time I ask myself how a mediocre meal can cost so damn much. Too hit or miss for the tabs you can run up.

    Nonetheless, I prefer it to the vastly overhyped Mintwood Place.

  • My absolut favorit resturant in DC.

    Great food, comfotable, causal, with the best FOH staff around.

  • I might be in the minority here, but I’ve always been turned off by the name. “Eat Place”? It’s irritating just to read. Why not simply call it Cashion’s, or Cashion’s Restaurant, or something like that? “Eat Place” is not clever, is there a story behind it? That being said, because of this article I suppose I’ll give it a shot some day.

    • I think it must’ve been an effort to make it sound down-homey and unpretentious.

      I’ve been there only once. The menu was awfully pork-heavy when I was there, and I don’t like pork, so I felt that my options were rather limited. I wouldn’t mind trying it out again, but haven’t really had a suitable occasion.

      • justinbc

        “I don’t like pork”

        *does not compute*

      • The name “Eat Place” comes from Doe’s Eat Place, a restaurant in the Greenville, Mississippi that holds very special and personal memories for our founding Chef, Ann Cashion. Thus the name. We made a conscious decision to keep it the same because the establishment has been such an important and inspirational place for myself and Chef John.

        Justin Abad
        Partner, General Manager

        • Doe’s is inspriational? Tamales, chilli, shrimp, beef and adequate wine. All very well prepared, but doesn’t really inspire creativity.

          • justinbc

            If I’m inferring correctly, he’s stating that Cashion’s has been inspirational for them, which is why they left the “Eat Place” that the owner originally bestowed upon it.

    • It’s named in honor of a famous restaurant in the original owners home state of Mississippi, Doe’s Eat Place.

    • Same here. “Eat Place” doesn’t sound appetizing or enticing. Anyway, now that I know the menu is pork-heavy I won’t be trying it anyway (not a big fan of pork either).

    • Its named after a famous restaurant in Greenville MS. Doe’s Eat Place. The former owner Ann Cashion is from Mississippi.

  • SInce this started off as Cashion’s and rapidly included Mintwood I’ll say that both places are quite good in my opinion, though I’ve gone back to Mintwood more often so I suppose I like it better. My main complaint at Cashion’s (other than the idiotic name, I agree with the poster on that one) is that they pack you in very tightly; I like a little more room between tables. If it’s less crowed these days I’d probably appreciate that so I’ll have to get back soon.

  • I have quite liked the food, and this had been one of my favorite restaurants. Then I brought friends, one of whom was vegetarian, and found, as other commenters have noted here, that they were quite unwilling to make small substitutions to accommodate her. I wouldn’t have held that against them, as it’s possible the dish in question couldn’t easily be made without the meat item in question (I no longer remember what it was), but our wait person was neither apologetic nor made any effort to suggest alternatives to us. Not great customer service.

  • Cashion’s is a special place for my wife and me. More than a decade ago, I was deciding where to go to grad school, and a big factor was whether the school was in a city that my wife and I found livable. We came to DC over Memorial Day weekend to check it out and were pleasantly surprised. Then, to cap it off, we stumbled on Cashion’s and had a wonderful dinner outside on warm evening with great service. Toward the end of the meal, we both looked at each other and said, yeah, DC is the place.

  • I’ve always liked this spot. Best pork chop I’ve ever eaten in my life.

    This, along with The Heights on Calvert, are two of the most overlooked/under-hyped restaurants in the city putting out consistently delicious food.

  • Add me to the pro-Cashion’s, anti-Mintwood crowd. Hype alone does not a good restaurant make.

  • I love this place – either sitting at the bar or at a table. I’ve never been disappointed in the food or the service.

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