It was only as we were leaving that I noticed the cards on the hostess stand. There were cards for Riggsby, where we had just enjoyed an excellent meal, and Tico, where we had just ventured a few weeks earlier. Then it all came together.The two hallmarks the restaurants shared: good food and speedy service.
The Riggsby has been on my list since I saw the initial reviews a few months ago. But two things held me back: first, I wasn’t sure where it was. I thought it might have been in one of the hotels right off Dupont Circle, but couldn’t quite picture it. Second, it was in a hotel, and not a “brand” hotel either. That pretty much said it all. Oh and the review labeled the place a “supper club” which confused me …
However, when Tom Siestema named it one of his ten favorites, well, that kicked me into gear. So I scooped up an early reservation for Friday evening.
Friday was that day of the year when the weather turns, and boom, it’s a new season. If you hadn’t put away your whites and linens yet, you’d better get to it quickly. It’s now too late to get one more wearing in this season.
The weather was chilly and drizzly, which made the short walk to dinner a bit of a drag. On the other hand, the warm clubbiness, hearty food and well-size portions made the walk home quite enjoyable. Note to self: The Riggsby will be perfect for a cold winter day – Uber there, but definitely stroll back.
The space is very large, with the bar and lounge in the front and the dining room in the back. The colors were interesting, dark and soothing, club like, but the shades of dark teal and red were brighter and more vibrant, reflecting the relaxed, yet fun atmosphere.
I’d guess that most of the patrons are from the neighborhood, with just a few guests of the Carlyle thrown in. The hotel itself has undergone a major renovation, but it still seems pretty hidden from the rest of Dupont Circle. Perhaps that adds to the hidden gem-secret vibe to the restaurant.
Our drinks and appetizers arrived very quickly, and neither disappointed. My variation on a Moscow mule was a good palate cleanser and a bracing contrast to my rich, truffle-scented carpaccio. My main dish, the scallops, was also quite good.
But G clearly won the lottery with a pork chop dish that was perfectly cooked, with a surprising hint of heat. In truth, the portion was probably big enough that we could split it next time.
And for dessert, we ordered a strawberry shortcake on a delicious biscuit. For two non-dessert people, we ate pretty much the whole thing.
On the whole, the food was very good, quite impressive. The service was almost too efficient at times, with staff coming by to clear plates when we were still lingering over our last bites and tastes.
The Riggsby is a good addition to Dupont Circle. As the weather gets colder, I can’t wait to head back to try the roasted chicken and a few other dishes.