Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

June 29, 2008 8:55 AM

Restaurant: Kemble Park Tavern

Kemble Park Tavern

5125 MacArthur Blvd, N.W.
Washington, DC
Fax: 202-966-2077
Email: contact@Kembleparktavern.com
The Kemble Park Tavern, is located in the same space as the now-gone Starlight Cafe. There the similarity ends. The ambiance, the seating, and the food are totally different. Frankly, not better or worse, but different.

I have eaten at Kemble Park three times. First, with Rita and Bob; then with Rita, Bob and Hilary; and finally with Sherry and Mike.

There are two entrances to the restaurant, both on MacArthur Boulevard, and both requiring going up a set of stairs. There is a patio that seats about 20 people at tables of four that I am sure is quite pleasant in the Spring and Fall, but that I think should be avoided in a typical Washington summer.

Once inside, there is an area at the front of the restaurant that has a series of high tables and chairs that seats from 2 - 6 people. There is also a full bar with large, armed, high chairs.

The main dining room has two sections. The first is divided into three types of seating areas that run the length of the room.

To the left is a long banquette that runs the length of the room and appeared quite comfortable. The tables which front the banquette have comfortable chairs. The tables can be used as deuces, quads or even longer combinations.

Running down the middle of the room are a series of deuces, each with very high, extremely comfortable chairs, set lengthwise.

And finally on the right hand wall there is a series of 4-person booths.

At the far end of the restaurant is a separate room, with glass walls separating it from the main dining room. It holds four 4-person tables.

Overall, the restaurant seats 100 people for dinner, plus the patio when it is in use.

The dinner menu includes appetizers, sandwiches, salads, entrees, and sides.

During these meals my companions and I have enjoyed Gazpacho soup, Matzo Ball Soup, Caesar Salad, Short Rib Sliders, Tomato, Onion, Wedge Salad and Mixed Greens, the Grilled Burger, the Pulled Chicken sandwich, the Marinated Seafood Salad, Bay Rockfish, the Baked Potato, Bok Choy, Hand Cut Fries, and Seasonal Vegetables.

The menu provides an opportunity to select a single dish or a combination of dishes that allows you to meet your appetite of the moment. For example, on one evening I had the Tomato, Wedge Salad, a Baked Potato, Bok Choy, and Seasonal Vegetables.

Only Sherry and Mike were burger eaters among this group, but they claim the burgers are excellent, with or without a bun. Particular note was made of the burgers having a proper firm outside with a red and tender inside.

If your inclination is for a double espresso after dinner, you might want to bring your own cup. When I requested a double espresso at the end of my second dinner the waiter explained that they did not have a cup that would hold a double espresso. I suggested that he bring me two single cups of espresso, which he did. I must admit that I began to pour the espresso from one cup to the other to see whether it would hold a double. He was right, the individual cups are not big enough. I wonder what they would do if, as I have sometimes done, I ordered a quad?

The service left nothing to be desired.

Unisex restrooms are the standard. I happen to have used the same restroom all three times, the alternate restroom always being busy.

The restroom I used is quite small. Immediately upon entry, to your left, is a dark wood hamper next to a round, white ceramic wash basin in a white marble top, set on a dark wood cabinet. The wall opposite the washbasin holds a large oval mirror.

Directly ahead is a small, completely enclosed, commode room with a black wooden door. The commode is a standard white ceramic model.

The walls are completely covered with a green background floral pattern and the floor is covered with mid-sized, multi- colored, brownish tiles.

The restroom seems to be well maintained.

There is valet parking in the evening.

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