Patrons struggle to narrow down choices from a menu of pizzas, burgers, and seafood at FireFlies while live bands and athletic events on a big-screen television draw cheers beneath eclectic works of art. Chefs slip norwegian smoked salmon amid the seemingly conventional BSLT sandwich's apple-smoked bacon, lettuce, and tomato ($9.99), delighting diners and homesick mermen. Light chipotle jus permeates slow-roasted pork shoulders ($14.99), and ripples of garlicky goat-cheese sauce gurgle among roasted red peppers, onions, olives, and artichokes atop the Red, White & Green pizza ($13.99). Chipotle mayo and guacamole compete for top billing in maws clamping around the half-pound Cali burger ($10.99), which hides beneath a house-made bun like a baker's spare house key. Though they are not included in this Groupon, inventive cocktails such as the FireFlies chocolate toddy, which floats a marshmallow on a dark sea of chocolate sauce, Maker's Mark, and Disaronno, slide down the gleaming bar to chatting patrons. FireFlies' online calendar and Twitter feed contain constantly changing updates about live musicians, trivia, and other events.
Surrounded by dark wooden accents and a single grand chandelier, T.J. Stone’s serves a menu of modern American cuisine peppered with saucy barbecue, fresh seafood, and innovative recipes. Chefs forge tender pasta and savory sausage from scratch for the sausage-and-mushroom pasta, baked in a rich sauce of shallots, garlic, and dry vermouth. Half-racks of pork ribs adorn faces with smoky and stylish sauce beards, served with a selection of two sides, such as coleslaw or baked beans. The pepper-crusted tuna rolls blissfully in cracked black peppercorns before pan-searing in its savory flavors and donning creole-mustard barbecue sauce, baby arugula, and leafy cilantro.
Shooter McGee's bolsters its neighborhood pub atmosphere with a menu packed with pub-fare classics and modern comestibles. Chefs prep appetites for satiation with hearty appetizers, including the modern-leaning trio of duck tacos, with spiced duck confit filling out tortillas ($9.99). Patties of Angus beef take up residence between pillowy buns for burgers such as the bacon and cheese, with applewood-smoked bacon and a choice of 10 cheeses, plus a side of hand-cut fries, slaw, mac 'n' cheese, or baked beans ($9). The herb chicken & greens salad piles herb-roasted chicken over mixed greens with fresh mozzarella and a balsamic reduction ($12). Revel in the twin-flavored pursuits of the strawberry-balsamic pork tenderloin ($16), or delicately nibble through the eight hours of flavor that go into each rack of barbecue ribs ($20).
If you’re looking for a quick stop to pick up some cheese, Cheesetique is not the place. That’s because everything in the store—from the eye-catching cheese wheels to the aromas of uncorked wine—encourages guests to linger, creating an ambiance typical of a Parisian bistro. The shop functions as both a boutique and a café, with staff splitting their time between serving up their award-winning mac 'n' cheese and cutting wedges of cheese to order. The staff has curated a menu of 300 American and European cheeses, each of which are available for sampling. But the best way to sample the vast selection is with a cheese-tasting board, which, when paired with a complementary wine and smattering of charcuterie, creates a mouth explosion larger than that of demolition dentistry. Though their wine and beer list is as imposing as their cheese variety, the staff has segmented the list into easily identifiable categories such as malty bocks, bold reds, and sparkling rosés.
In lieu of buns, Duffy's Irish Restaurant & Pub's Monster Burger earns its name by piling bacon, grilled onions, and a half-pound burger between two grilled cheese sandwiches. The Washington Post profiled the beastly eat and its “calories-be-damned goodness” in its This Thing You Should Try series. Those with tamer appetites assemble less daunting burgers with a beef or homemade black bean patty served on a white or whole grain Kaiser roll. Along with burgers, Duffy's culinary team crafts casual dishes such as mushrooms fried in peanut oil, vegan pasta tossed with homemade tomato sauce, and seven wing varieties voted the city's best in 2012 by readers of Washington City Paper.
Along with the menu of daily grub, Duffy's staff supplies discounted drinks and quesadillas at weekday happy hours and hosts brain-teasing pub trivia challenges every Wednesday night. 12 flat-screen TVs throughout the bar stay tuned to the latest Florida Gators and Green Bay Packers games, a more thrilling alternative to watching looped footage of an actual gator attacking a defenseless cheese wheel. In addition to front of the house entertainment, Duffy's accommodates private soirees with a back room equipped with more flat-screens, skeeball, darts, and an internet jukebox.