Review: Fall Menu Tasting At Last Exit
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the fall menu preview at Last Exit in Columbia Heights. The basement bar and lounge is known for its private, speakeasy feel: think recessed lighting, good lounge music, and lots of cozy seating. It's not the place to enjoy a huge spread, so I wasn't surprised to see an array of finger foods on display.
The fall menu included tasty chicken and grape flatbreads with arugula and balsamic vinaigrette. There was also a cheese plate with a mix of cheeses, crackers and meats like prosciutto, plus some kind of canape involving a creamy dip served on an endive leaf. I loved the mini buckwheat pancakes topped with a cilantro cream sauce and beans, too. The weakest link on the menu? Hot dogs in puff pastry, served with dip. Last Exit's food is small plate-style, the kind of little bites you get if you're feeling a bit peckish at happy hour or when you're having drinks with friends.
Last Exit's speciality is definitely cocktails. The food, while passable, took a backseat to what was going on at the bar. It took awhile to get a drink, as the bartenders seemed intent on making every drink to its exact specifications. Despite the delay, the drinks were pretty delicious. Admission came with a complimentary sample of Last Exit's special barrel-aged Manhattan, which definitely a kick after a long day of work.
I also loved my Jack Rose, made with housemade grenadine, while my companion dug his Millionaire, a craft cocktail made with Bulleit bourbon, egg white, fresh lemon juice, grenadine, Combier, and Mata Hari absinthe. Drinks will run you about $10; I'd bet at least $2 of the price covers the time you'll spend watching the bartenders shake, jiggle and squeeze your drink into absolute perfection.
If you're in the mood for fancy drinks and great conversation in a low-key atmosphere, Last Exit is a great choice.
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