Thursday, July 22, 2010


for good buddy of BOOF's birthday, Coast, a large group of us ventured to new foggy bottom staple, BlackFinn, for dinner. Ever since BlackFinn came onto the scene in DC last fall, I have always enjoyed all my adventures there and I am a true fan of their happy hour. Furthermore, I also came to know that it is a pseudo big city chain, and the Foggy Bottom location is not its first DMV location but they also have another location out in Bethesda (which I have now also been to).

Black Finn takes on the identity of an "American Saloon" but it simply plays to idea of a restaurant/bar vibe. When it initially opened up, it was purely filled with the young and professional crowd which was definitely to my liking, but as GW (yup, i'm going to trash my alma mater for a second) students got wind of this new place, it quickly became a location of numerous frat parties and everyone's friends winning "happy hours". essentially, it became too collegiate. The decor of the restaurant does not have anything too special going on, it has a front bar and a back bar, and it has slightly elevated seating on the left side of the restaurant to accommodate those who would like to sit down for dinner. The right side and the back of the restaurant also has booth tables and seating along with high stools and tables for the more casual drink and happy hour partakers.

the divide that this BlackFinn has between the two (the dining area and the bar area) is very nice, but because the happy hour crowd is quite large and loud, the restaurant area definitely does not take well to a more intimate dining experience with your sig other. nevertheless, the dining area does do well for large groups, such as we were, but it is a shame that if you sit for dinner, you are unable to get the great happy hour deals even during "happy hour".

to start off, i ordered the spinach artichoke dip which is essentially is a staple on any menu and one that i am always inclined to order. i also find that it it something that is hard to mess up. the spinach dip was done well but i was not overwhelmed by some special and amazing flavor.

the birthday girl, CaCoast, ordered the Beef Sliders which are three miniature beef burgers topped with melted American cheese and grilled onions and served on potato rolls with au jus on the side for dipping. she enjoyed these and said the meat was seasoned well. she also ordered a side of fries and we all really enjoyed the seasoning that was on them.

Coast's bf, NY Sports Fan, ordered the Grilled Buffalo Chicken Sandwich prepared in hot, medium or mild Buffalo sauce and served on a warm ciabatta roll with lettuce, tomato, red onion and a side of bleu cheese dressing. Not a fan of condiments, NY Sports Fan was pleased by this sandwich because it was not drowning in buffalo sauce as an afterthought. it was a nice balance of the sauce with the chicken because the grilled flavor still came through.

i ordered one of the summer specials which was a Grilled Portobello Pasta featuring whole wheat spaghetti, grilled portobello
mushroom, baby spinach, oven roasted tomatoes, garlic, parmesan cheese, and olive oil. I really quite enjoyed this dish and was happy to see something besides a salad and a veggie burger on the menu to satisfy this hungry vegetarian's appetite. my only recommendation is that the dish could have used a little more seasoning because I could barely taste the garlic coming through and the pasta was a little drier then i would have liked. a little bit more olive oil probably would have done the trick. however, to be able to see portobello on the menu as a center to a dish was really pleasing.

BOOF Buddy, England, had the Ultimate Bacon Cheddar
Twice the bacon, three times the cheese! A BlackFinn Burger topped with four slices of applewood-smoked bacon, three times the aged cheddar cheese, crispy fried onion strings and sliced dill pickles on a grilled bulky roll. England also enjoyed his burger and mentioned that it was cooked well and was very filling. Nothing too special in the burger but it was done well.
One of BOOF's closest buddies, Twin, ordered the simple Old School Classic which is just a BlackFinn Burger topped with your choice of melted cheese and sliced dill pickles on a grilled bulky roll. For a side, she ordered a side of grilled carrots that were superbly tasty and good. Similarly to everything else that evening, the burger was done well but nothing too special and to call home about.

Our group was larger than this but critiquing the other half of the table was nearly impossible/a bit excessive. however, i think everyone pretty much had the same quality food with simple american flavors done well but nothing too special. my favorite part of BlackFinn is the happy hour not even because of the drink specials but because of the food specials. All of their pizzas are half off and the pizzas are all really really good. They are flatbread pizzas and two of the four are veggie friendly (the roasted vegetable and the marghertia). During happy hour, they end up being $5.00 which is a deal that you just can't beat.

Overall, I think BlackFinn will always remain a happy hour joint for me and not necessarily a sit down meal. Although there was nothing wrong with the food, there was not special about it and if I am going to sit down for a nice dinner, there are plenty of places that I think I would prefer to try.

Grade: B

*I may have gotten a few of these wrong but no biggie.

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