39 Comment

  • pronounced like the rapper?

  • I had really high hopes, as I live in the neighborhood, but I am not a fan. I don’t like the menu, neither the choice nor the prices. I’ve been twice. The first time I had a “bowl” of tomato soup. It was very tasty, but the portion seemed to barely cover the bottom of the bowl. The second time I had the grilled cheese and ham sandwich. Although it was fine, I didn’t see nor taste anything that would justify the price. The restaurant itself is beautiful, but I will not go back.

    • justinbc

      Sounds a lot like our experience from the first couple weeks they opened. The menu was completely boring with nothing on it that in itself made me ever desire to return. Most of the food was “OK”, but nothing that couldn’t be replicated with virtually no effort at home. In all honesty it was one of the most disappointing meals I’ve had in DC in a long time. I’ve heard they revised their offerings, but it was so unimpressive the first go round I think I would only give them another shot out of sheer desperation if I’m in the neighborhood.

    • This mirrors our experience–the offerings in the neighborhood are kind of slim, and while we love Corduroy, the price and decor make it an occasion spot, not an every day go-to. The menu really needs more diversity and lower prices; if it did, we’d go there a lot more often. As it stands now, though, we won’t be going back.

  • Not cheap enough for me to eat there all the time, but the food is pretty good, the drinks are all very creative, and the space is freaking amazing. I have been several times and will keep going back. If you’re an architecture geek, get your friends and go for happy hour. It looks like a little hole in the wall from the front, but it just opens up into this massive space when you go in that’s phenomenal with all the skylights during the day and equally impressive with the lighting after dark.

    • Shouldn’t it be that the food is freaking great not pretty good and the space be pretty good?

  • I’d give it 2 out of 5. The decor and ambiance are great. Drinks and the Filiapino spring roll app were good but service left a lot to be desired. After being seated right away we waited nearly 15 minutes before our server came over. He practically ran away after taking our drink orders. This wouldn’t be as big of a deal if not for the lack of descriptions on the menu. When we finally got our food (some of which was ordered from another staffer who refilled our water) the steak was overcooked (ordered medium rare and got medium well) but they took so long that we could not send it back plus the mushroom fettuccine was not much more than buttered noodles. This was not my first time at baby wale but I will not be going back for anything other than a happy hour drink anytime soon.

  • No really I need to know! Is it “whale” or “wall-eh?”

    • It’s pronounced “whale” – named after the material that corduroy is made of (get it?)

      There isn’t that much on the menu that I love, but the roast chicken for two is actually awesome. I disagree that it is not a good neighborhood spot – it’s not that horribly expensive, the bar always has seats, and the food is pretty good (with the chicken being excellent).

      • Not trolling, but I still don’t get it. What does corduroy have to do with babies?

        • It’s a restaurant from the same guy who owns Corduroy. There was an interesting article about Baby Wale in the WaPo detailing the different names he went thru before settling on Baby Wale. According to the article he was originally going to name the restaurant Velour but there is apparently a porn star by that name (now I don’t watch straight porn so I have no idea who that is, but even people don’t confuse Jameson whiskey with the well known porn star of the same name). So he settled on Baby Wale. Kinda ironic because that also happens to be a pretty well-known rapper local to DC but I guess the owner did not know or care about that.

        • corduroy is Baby Wale’s sister restaurant and is located next door

        • Wale refers to the number/size of the ribs in a corduroy fabric. Wide wale corduroys typically have six to ten wales per inch. Baby wale corduroys will have more than a dozen wales per inch of fabric and be much finer.

        • it’s a type of corduroy–to match the owner’s other restaurant. Here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/tom-sietsema-corduroys-sibling-baby-wale-arrives-with-style/2013/10/01/2686899a-1c79-11e3-a628-7e6dde8f889d_story.html

          Also, agree with others that the chicken was good. Nothing here blew my hair back, but good roasted chicken is nothing to thumb your nose at.

  • Agree with everyone here. I do like the inside of the restaurant but the food and prices were not great. Very uninspired. I”m cool with a foot long hot dog but not a regular foot long hot dog for 11 dollars that had nothing special about it. I’m going to give it one more try at some point and if not at least slightly impressed I’m done.

  • I, too, was very disappointed with my experience at Baby Wale. The food was average at best and the service was terrible. I will not be going back and have recommended to many that they not even bother. They must be catering to the bland palates of conference attendees. I was hoping for a lot better.

  • Echoing other reviews: OK food, beautiful setting, horrible service. Our meal took FOREVER from the inattentive waitstaff, delays in seating us (empty restaurant and we waited 30 minutes) to the length of time it took for the food to come out. Not impressed.
    That said, I will probably give it another shot one day but not for a while or until reviews get consistently better.

  • Way too expensive for the mediocre food and drink offered. I went once and won’t go back.

  • Been a handful of times and have always received very good service at the bar. The pizzas are fantastic and I really liked the ham and cheese sandwich. Having lived in the neighborhood for over 15 years, I am so happy to finally have a variety of restaurants and bars to choose from so I’m sure you will find my review somewhat skewed.

  • I think it’s a great place to go for a glass of wine and a snack. Wines by the glass are good and affordably priced. The hot dog and grilled cheese are tasty, but they’re not a full meal, IMO. Very nice setting, and the servers/bartenders have been very friendly.

  • I’ve been there a couple times, and really enjoyed it. The decor is fantastic. Same with the food and drinks. Service was also spot on. It’s been a while since I’ve been to a reasonably priced place with great food and service. Good spot for foodies. I’ll be back.

    • justinbc

      The term “foodie” has about as little meaning as “hipster”, maybe even less actually, but to insinuate that a place who features hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, and pizza is somehow enticing for them seems rather bizarre to me. It reads more like a carry-out menu, or as my friend put it “Chuck-E-Cheese for grown-up stoners”.

      • The term “stoner” has about as little meaning as “foodie” or “hipster.”

      • I have to agree with Justin. Tiny menu, mediocre food, no creativity, etc. does not really speak “fit for foodies.” I haven’t been to Corduroy since it moved, but it used to be great. Baby Wale does not live up to that by any means.

  • The good: the design and decor. Beautiful spot.
    The average: the food
    The bad: the inflated prices and the IPA they were serving at the time (from some brewery in Oregon). Worst IPA I’ve ever had. Even my token “I love everything hoppy” friend thought it was horrible.

    Been once, don’t really plan to go back. A shame since it is a lovely spot.

  • I agree with everyone else. Boring menu and food. I didn’t think the prices were as ridiculous as the other well known establishments in the neighborhood (Passenger, Hogo, Rogue, Table, A&D, etc). Passenger, Hogo, and A&D are all vastly superior.

  • Agree with the other comments. The space is fantastic and a good addition to the neighborhood which has been struggling to attract good bars and restaurants since the Convention Center opened. In 2003.

    The first time I went with the group and we shared the Tonkatsu pork, the Faux Ribeye, and the Mushroom Fettucine. All were really great and the prices seemed reasonable, if a little high. The service was terrible though. Inattentive staff, the food took way too long, and there was this general feel of they just don’t give a sh&t. Oh and on top of that, the waiter decided to add another $1 to the tip I gave him. Beware of Boris.

    The second time I went back, again with a large group, I had a similar experience with the service. The hostess was really helpful in seating our large (6+) group with out any reservations. However, once again the service was painfully slow, staff were nowhere to be found and, once again, we had Boris. Awesome. No problem with the tip this time. The food this time was just ok. Nothing to write home about, but I chalk that up to being a really late meal.

    I really want this place to succeed, but the management needs to get it together with the staff.

  • wow…i’m glad to hear i haven’t missed out on anything. i tried to go there with a couple of friends when tehy first opened. called and asked if i needed a reservation, and was told no problem, just walk in. so when we showed up around 7:30, the hostess gave me buckets of attitude about not having a called ahead. we would have been OK to wait (the bar looked gorgeous, and i had heard great things about the drinks), but not with that kind of attitude! they were busy, and made it clear they didn’t care for more customers that night, or ever. walked down the street to thally and had an excellent meal and haven’t been back to baby wale since.

  • The space and bar is amazing (I agree) and it is inventive to use the old Globe go-go posters as the wine/beer list. I know a lot of people where aren’t crazy about the food, but if you go with 2 (or even 3) GET the roast chicken with arugula. It’s fantastic; maybe the best chicken I’ve ever had. Three of us couldn’t finish it (we did get a couple of apps). It takes 45 min to prepare but is definitely worth it.

  • The food sucks. Period.

  • This is now my go to neighborhood place. I started out a bit skeptical with the menu and reluctance to seat people when the restaurant was empty. They were worried people couldn’t finish their food in two hours. This is upscale bar food not a place you linger over a three hour dinner. They seem to have figured that out.

    Food is very good. The soups are all fantastic, the caesar salad is the real thing, pizza is crispy, even the hot dog is a step up from the ordinary. I started out annoyed that I didn’t recognize any of the wines or the beers but now that I’ve been many times I have no complaints. The bar is comfortable and the service has gotten consistently better. Everyone is friendly and working hard.

  • I’ve eaten here twice now and have thoroughly enjoyed it both times! I was a little weirded out by the dish ware, though…plastic plates?! But I guess they have some vibe they’re going for? Either way, the space is beautiful, food was delicious, drinks were good, service was fine/more than fine.

  • I’ve eaten here twice now and have had a great experience both times! I’m a little unclear about their dishware, though…plastic plates?! With that said, food was delicious, drinks were good, space was amazing, and the service was fine/more than fine. It’s expensive, but that’s DC.

  • I’ve eaten here twice now and have had a great experience both times! I’m a little unclear about their dish ware, though…plastic plates?! With that said, food was delicious, drinks were good, space was amazing, and the service was fine/more than fine. It’s expensive, but that’s DC.

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