Baby Wale, Convention Center

(For the Dec 12, 2013 Review, click here.)

My most recent visit to Baby Wale was during Happy Hour, and I took advantage of Happy Hour pricing throughout the meal, assembling more food than I was able to finish for $22. Happy Hour pricing is displayed on the left side of the parentheses; regular pricing on the right.

If you participate in Restaurant Week, you should be paying close attention here.

I started off with a glass (probably a 12-ounce glass) of Lost Rhino Tmavy Dark Czech Lager ($5 / 7), a wonderful, malty, 6.2% ABV brew from Ashburn, and kept it coming throughout the meal. Since I was sticking with the Happy Hour menu, and this was mostly elevated pub food, beer worked just fine from start to finish.

While I always enjoy a drink or two before dinner, my body tells me when it’s time to order – I get an S.O.S. saying, “Uh, hey, uh, listen, this liquid is nice and everything, but could you expedite a little more substance down here?” And so I pay attention.

The Lobster Bisque ($4 / 7) was recently discussed here, and I’ve had a hankering for it ever since. I’ve had better versions than this one, which was on the thin side, but I think it’s cut a little bit at Baby Wale compared to the version at Corduroy, which seems to be thickened some more – I may be wrong on this, but that’s been my perception. I vague remember that Corduroy used to thicken their bisque with a bit of foie gras, but I may be conflating this with another dish. Regardless, it was wonderful, and I didn’t want it to end.

Next came a Mortadella Pizza ($10 / 14), and I was shocked at the size *and* the beauty of it – the pizzas at the old Corduroy bar simply were not this good. If you haven’t had a pizza at Baby Wale, I highly recommend giving it a try – it’s unlike any other pizza in the area, and hard to describe. You can tell it’s not a pizzeria, but you can also tell that a chef is making these, both in terms of crust, cooking technique, and toppings. Rather than describe it, I’ll enclose a picture:

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Doesn’t that look good? Well, I’d only finished one slice of the pizza when my next two items arrived: a Squash Blossom Pupusa¬†($3 / 5) and two Crispy Filipino Style Spring Rolls ($5 / 7), both of which were terrific. I’ve been enjoying these lumpia for about thirteen years, and they’re still right on point.

Anyway, after the soup, the pupusa, two spring rolls, and a slice of pizza, I’d eaten plenty, so I not only asked for a carryout box for my pizza, but also ordered a second pizza to go (that’s how much I liked the first one): a Oven Roasted Cherry Tomato Pizza was on the menu, but I was told that instead, they were serving a Shiitake Pizza¬†($10 / 14) – well, that works with me! So I had a *lot* of really good pizza at home, which I enjoyed both as a late-night snack, and throughout the next day.

This was, by far, the most polished meal I’ve yet had at Baby Wale. They’ve gotten everything together – when it first opened, I was worried about it, but those fears were unfounded. This is some of the best bar food in the city, and Baby Wale remains *strongly* in Italic in the Dining Guide. I love this place – it’s like Comet Ping Pong, but it hasn’t been overrun by little kids.

Here are the regular and Happy Hour menus. Take note of the Sapporo Style Ramen – this could be one of the sleeper dishes in DC.

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