Review of Right Proper Brewing Company
On any given day, at a variety of D.C. restaurants, the whimsical tastebuds of D.C.’s eating elite can characterize a place as “the best restaurant in D.C.” In the past decade, such a moniker would stick in the conscious of foodies for at least a fiscal cycle.
But now, in the hyper preposterous rate of new restaurants being opened in D.C., “the best” of anything -- meal, drink, dessert or even favored politician -- would be fortunate to last a charitable 30 days, let alone 365 days.
Just in the last two years, “the best” gyrated like a whirling durvish from Barcelona; onward to Le Diplomate; lighting fast to Rose’s Luxury; skimming towards Red Hen; before steadying with perennial favorite Blue Duck Tavern.
Yet whatever complicated formula, whatever the machinations might be used to deem 2015’s “the best new restaurant in D.C.,” the Shaw/Bloomingdale neighborhood’s sexy restaurant Right Proper Brewing Company stands head-and-shoulders above the celebrated DGBG and the subtle richness of Bakers and Baristas to provide a preternaturally full-grown dining experience.
On an unusual Friday night, where the blistering snow/ice/cold mixture turned D.C. into frost-ville, Right Proper Brewing Company teemed with an inexhaustible stream of well-heeled young professionals. “How long is the wait for a table?,” as I pushed myself into the warm murmur of the packed restaurant. The hostess looked kindly at me like a kid having to ride the short bus to school and stated with friendly aplomb, “90 minutes.”
Rather than be offended at being judged for asking a simple question, I was surprised to find myself relieved. The dining room was tiny, not really a room in any traditional sense. A handful -- maybe a dozen, worn-in tables of the wooded variety -- filled approximately a quarter of the front of the large room, while a tiny cheese buffet bar merely created just enough of a cushion before opening to an extensive bar space filled with exactly zero space to wander.
“You could have a drink at the bar while you wait,” the hostess stated with humorous perfunctness as if realizing the amount of time it would take for me to pull through the circus-like maze of humanity being served by three bartenders would require the patience of Job … or the 90 minute wait for a table.
I went through the crowd because I had to find a friend and it was in fact a significant sacrifice to literally propel my frame through the thirsty masses. Yet the moment my lips touched the Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout ($8), I blissfully forgot all but the taste of this strong yet incredibly smooth stout.
Twelve ounces of stout brewed “using six varieties of black, chocolate and roasted malts,” Right Proper Brewing Company says this yields “luscious dark chocolate and deep roast flavors with delicate hints of licorice.” I call it HEAVEN, like your favorite candy bar was melted and then finished with a slight bubble of airiness beers are known for so that what you taste is air-infused with sweet tinges of chocolate finished with a refreshing tang of punchy hoppy flavor.
All of Right Proper Brewing Company’s beer evoke these same melancholy notes of joy. From the Jack’s Hard Cider’s “effervescent” crisp apple flavor to the nine house made beers, the beer menu projected a masterpiece of accessible yet mysterious beers, perfect for novices as well as experienced professionals.
But for a non-beer person such as myself, I have developed a fierce love of Right Proper Brewing Company’s distinctive, crowd-pleasing menu which balances the elegantly minimalistic elements of beer fare (french fries, burgers, etc.) with the celebratory fusion of edgy ingredients and relentlessly explosive tastes.
Take for instance the all-American classic of Macaroni & Cheese. Mundane at times to drowsily inedible, Right Proper Brewing Company’s Baked Six Cheese Macaroni & Cheese was whimsically dense. The milky, pale yellow glaze of cheeses did not float like saran wrap over the twisted pasta spirals. Instead, the cheeses seeped into the pasta like cement poured on a hot Texas day. Every bite, every turn of the fork, pulled at a denseness better associated with Chicago deep-dish pizza rather than macaroni & cheese and I loved every non-shared bite. (Yes. I hoarded it all.)
Equally compelling was the delicate mystery of the best main dish on the menu: the Eight-Hour Lamb French Dip ($14). “Sourdough bread with Gruyere cheese spread and red wine dipping sauce” is how Right Proper Brewing Company’s menu describes this main dish, but in reality this sandwich is a celebration of all that makes a sandwich great.
The bread was firm yet soft, with the sourdough providing a suffused saltiness enlivened by the beautiful Gruyere cheese spread. And the lamb … holy Moses!! The lamb could be instrumental in ending wars if it was served as a peace offering so perfect was the texture, temperature and taste.
I could rave on-and-on about everything I tried (Crystals Hot Wings ($6/$12); Blueberry-Jalapeno Corn Muffins ($7); Hand Cut Fries ($5); Brussel Sprouts ($8); the Southern Fried Chick-Filet ($11)), but any more words from me would be irrelevant. Just go believing that Right Proper Brewing Company is an upending new restaurant, setting the literal and figurative bar for what all new D.C. restaurants should aspire to be. Truly, an invaluable addition to our foodie scene and one which I look forward to frequenting for many decades to come!
Right Proper Brewing Company
624 T Street NW
Washington, DC 20001