Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

June 17, 2016 11:56 AM

Restaurant: Pennsylvania 6

Pennsylvania 6

1350 I Street NW
Washington, D.C.
I have been to Pennsylvania 6 three times. The third time was to see whether the experience of the second time was an aberration.

The restaurant gets its name from New York’s historic Hotel Pennsylvania.

As you enter the restaurant, to the right is a large u-shaped bar with multiple stools. To the right of the bar is a long table just shy of the length of the side of the bar. The table is higher than the other tables in the restaurant and includes high chairs all the way around. During my two evening visits that area seems to be a gathering place for a generally younger set.

Right behind the host desk there is a circular room that seats 6-8 people.

When fully occupied, the restaurant can seat 250 people in six rooms. Based on the size of the crowd the restaurant can close off or simply not seat folks in various rooms. There are a variety of two, four and six tops as well as banquette backed tables of two and four.

The décor is fairly heavy with much wood paneling and depending on the room there are a variety of pictures on the walls. There is also a sitting room where you can relax, and I assume, have a drink. Overall, the décor is quite warm and inviting, and the dining chairs are quite comfortable.

For our first dinner we were seated in the largest room. For the second dinner and lunch we were in an area that is adjacent to the bar.

On the first visit, Debbie and I had dinner with Sherry and Decker.

Sherry and Debbie started with Caesar salads and Decker and Mike selected Roasted beets.

For entrees, Sherry selected Scallops and Debbie went with the Lobster Roll. Decker chose Yellowfin Tuna and I tried the Monkfish Osso Buco. We also ordered Sardinian Flatbread for the table.

The desserts we ordered for the table were Bolivian Chocolate Terrine with caramelized bananas, peanut brittle, chocolate ganache sauce and expelette chili pepper and Mini Crème Brulees – with bourbon – vanilla, spiced pumpkin, dark chocolate-coffee.

The service was everything you would want it to be. Overall it was a perfectly pleasant experience.

Our second visit was on a Sunday night. Debbie and I were joined by Heather and Jim.

The number of diners was quite small. The room in which we had our first dinner was not being used. We were seated in an area near the bar.

Everything went well at the outset. Our server was attentive and happy to answer questions about the restaurant and the menu.

Heather ordered Louisiana Fried Oysters, with hot & sour sauce, herb aioli and lemon wedge and PE6 Market Salad. Debbie again ordered the Lobster Roll. Jim ordered a New York Sirloin. I ordered Crab Croquettes, sweet potato and again the Monkfish Osso Bucco.

Dinner was slow. It was as if when additional diners arrived and were seated there were not enough personnel on the floor or in the kitchen. Jim’s steak was not cooked as he had requested and had to be returned.

And then the service deteriorated. There was a delay in taking our dessert order and then when we tried to get our bill it was also difficult.

Our problems may have become obvious because the manager came over and cut our bill.

My third visit was lunch with Ruth. Our server was Chris and the service left nothing to be desired. Ruth ordered Seared Tuna Sashimi and I again ordered Crab Croquettes again and a Seafood Louis. For dessert I ordered the Bread and Butter pudding of which Ruth also partook.

Ruth asked if they had mixed fruit which was not on the menu. The server said he would check and quickly returned to report that it would be available but also noted the price which seemed a bit high.

The food was quite good on all three visits which caused me to twice order Monkfish, a favorite of mine that is only selectively available in D.C restaurants. Debbie enjoyed the Lobster Roll enough to also order it twice.

I concluded that the second visit was an aberration and I will be going there again.

The men’s room is as fresh as the restaurant. There are two long form urinals, side by side. There is a single fully enclosed commode room and a wash basin in a white marble top.

Valet parking is available Monday – Saturday nights. When I made the reservation I asked whether there was valet parking on Sunday. The person said that it was not available on Sunday night but noted there is often street parking and there is an open garage about a block away. We were able to park on the street.

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