“So where else do you want to eat while you’re in D.C.? We could go to The Partisan—it’s got really good cocktails and the menu is almost entirely meat and charcuterie. It’s Red Apron butcher’s restaurant.”
“BOOK THAT SHIT RIGHT NOW.”
That, dear friends, is how we ended up at The Partisan (or, as I drunk texted Chris Bolyard:“I’m at your future restaurant”). And we hit it HARD.
You walk into the space and have the butcher shop to your right, the dining room to your left, and the bar in the back. We arrive early, grab a cocktail or three, then make our way to the table.
We have two menus to order from: the first shows 30 or so dishes, ranging from small bites, like $5 lupini beans with pickled ramps, to entrees, like a $120 Ancient White Park Bone-in Ribeye. The second menu is one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen, something I’ve dreamed about but never knew existed. It’s a sushi-style menu (you fill in the quantity then give it to your server) full of 39 types of charcuterie and cheese. How do I choose? Should I just get one of everything?
I put the decision in my brother’s hands and order us two light starters: crispy chicken skins with hot sauce and tallow fries with garlic and rosemary, plus a side of ranch aioli. And then the sun dried duck—basically duck jerky—with sriracha, just for good measure.
The charcuterie and cheese come out and they are glorious. I don’t even know which we had, aside from the ‘tete de pho’, a pho-braised pigs head, pulled apart. We each take a toasted tigelle, the Italian cousin to an English muffin, and go to town. The tray is cleared in under 5 minutes.
Not yet satisfied, I demand more meat. Nduja! More tigelles! Kung pao sweetbreads! House made spam musubi? Give it to me. A masa and ground pork cake? I’ve never seen such a thing, so I must eat it. Half a chicken, cooked on the rotisserie then deep fried? I have room for that.
45 minutes later and I am slowly slumping into the booth. I am food drunk, or concussed, or something. Last night I was at Pineapple and Pearls. I have pushed my body to its limits.
I watch as my friends demolish a basket of chocolate cake donut holes (if these are donut holes, then the donuts themselves must be the size of innertubes) with chocolate pudding, then move on to the buttermilk panna cotta with pineapple and (white chocolate) pearls.
The Partisan is certainly worthy of a spot in my D.C. dining rotation, though next time I go, I think I’m going to try to see how much of the charcuterie I can get through.
Fried Chicken Skins
Kung Pao Sweetbreads