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Judging Restaurants – America Eats Tavern

by Prince Of Petworth July 28, 2011 at 12:00 pm 19 Comments

There’s already been a lot of buzz about America Eats Tavern located in the former Cafe Atlantico space at 405 8th St, NW. Their Web site says:

At AMERICA EATS TAVERN, opened July 4th 2011, José Andrés applies his innovative style to an American restaurant…

America Eats offers a new take on American classics and celebrate native ingredients and some long forgotten dishes, from burgoo to oysters Rockefeller. With recipes and stories collected through extensive research, and with help from the National Archives and a culinary advisory council of chefs and scholars, the menu showcases the fascinating history of our nation one plate at a time, whether it’s the origins of New England clam chowder or the introduction of grapefruit to America. A casual tavern menu is offered on the ground floor, while a more refined and elegant menu will be featured on the second and third floors.

America Eats is also be a six-month “benefit” destination in support the National Archives Experience exhibition program. Profits gained from the restaurant during the run of the What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam? exhibit will be donated to The Foundation for the National Archives.

You can see all their menus here. Anyone check them out yet?

  • MichelleRD

    What happened to Cafe Atlantico?

    • MJ


  • Heather

    I ate there this week. The food was very good and had the classic José Andrés spins, like foam.

    My friend and I split the Crabcake and pickled watermelon salad, the hush puppies, and the lobster roll. Everything was delicious, though the portions were very small.

    I enjoyed reading the menu more than anything. Each item on the menu was accompanied by a short 3 sentence history on what makes it American Eats.

    If the restaurant was going to be a permanent installation I would say it needs plumping, but as a short term thing, I think it was great fun.

  • CTK

    I’ll have the $28 clam chowder and $12 corn on the cob, please.

    But hey, foam.

    • anon

      And the $10 peanut butter and jelly sandwich!

      • What happened to the $22 fluffernutter with the marshmallow fluff made from unicorn tears?

  • J

    Drinks was good. Very happy with my vermicelli mac n’ cheese. I hear the peanut soup is the shit, though they were out when we went.

  • John

    vermicelli mac n’ cheese was great. everything else was average (lobster roll, fried chicken, etc) and small for the price.

    service was excellent.

  • NKC

    Cafe Atlantico is gone and from what I’ve read will move somewhere else. After the pop up run of America Eats, Jose Andres will expand mini bar to a fill restaurant concept in the old cafe atlantico space.

    • andy

      call it ‘maxi bar’

  • UStreet

    Kobe beef hot dog was really good. They make their own potato chips and ketchup. And there were about 8 different types of ketchups.

  • Matthew

    Sounds more like America is Getting Fat at some pretty high prices. What a stupid name for a restaurant. It might fit in a suburban shopping mall though.

  • Denizen of Tenallytown

    I never ate at the Minibar. Boo.

    • MaryEdith

      It’s still there.

  • GiantSquid

    Went for Mr. Squid’s birthday. Had a lovely meal but not someplace we’d go regularly. The Dr. Pepper is good but sweet, the cocktail I had was tasty (some sort of whiskey sour.) For dinner we had the bread basket – only one serving of each of the three breads. The biscuit was deemed salty, the nut bread was good, but the winner was the wheat roll. Wanted two more of those. Saratoga fizzy water which made us laugh (from CNY) and I also tried the Finger Lakes reisling on tap which was perfect for the hot day.

    For appetizers we got the “buffalo wings” and fried green tomatoes. The wings are boneless and savory but not spicy. The fried green tomatoes were very good. Mr. Squid enjoyed the shrimp.

    We shared the jambalaya for an entree. It was served with crayfish that Mr. Squid attempted and gave up on. It strikes me crayfish should be served in bulk on a paper tablecloth with wetnaps not a tiny fork. The food was good and we were glad that they included some spice on the side because we definitely wanted it spicier.

    It was just enough food that we felt full but not stuffed. Glad that we were able to try it but I think we prefer Cafe Atlantico and would LOVE for it to relocate to the Hill. I can see how many folks would find the portions small to the cost. Take the time to read the menu, its fascinating!

  • Ellen

    America Eats is only here temporarily; Cafe Atlantico will probably be reincarnated somewhere once the renovations are done.

    That said, this place is kind of ridiculous. I love food and I love history, but $10 for the teeny-tiniest peanut butter and jelly sandwich you saw, crusts cut off like one of those Uncrustable-type things—are you kidding? The fried chicken was good but in tiny pieces. The peanut soup had zero peanut flavor. And at the end of the night we decided that while nothing had been bad, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich was the best.

    And it only cost us $76/person. God damn it.

  • Anonymous

    speaking of eats, did they ever announce where Eataly will be?

    • MtP

      Not yet, but I wonder if it might be part of the Capital City Market plans, or is that overhaul too far off in the future?

      (Boo if we lose Litteri’s!)


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