I had dinner at District Commons on 2-25-2017 with my high school girlfriends Darby, Nikkia, Marybeth and Erin (IHS class of ’02! Go Big Red!). The food, decor and staff were all good but the company was out of this world. At one point we were laughing so hard we thought a server was telling us to quiet down, but really she was telling us how jealous she was of the fun we were having. Overall the restaurant was great for a large party who needed to laugh loudly.
Atmosphere: 3 out of 5
Food & Drink: 3 out of 5
They seated us in front of the kitchen, which at first I wasn’t loving because of the noise, but it turned out fine; it was nice and warm too. The decor reminded me of a higher end chain hotel: sort of generic modern but comfortable. I got there early, as usual, which gave me time to peruse the menu.
Then my girls arrived. Oh haiiii ladies!
And then we ate and drank.
Left – American Beauty (blueberry vodka, passion fruit, cassis, fresh lemon and lime juice, simple syrup). OMFG. This was the best cocktail I’ve perhaps ever had in my life. It was tart but sweet and so unexpectedly delicious. It almost tasted like pomegranate. Order this please.
Right – Pandhandle Punch (aged, spiced and dark rums, tropical juices, orange bitters, grenadine, Chandon Brut rose). This was less my style. Maybe it was the rum or the bitters but it was a little spicy for me.
But here it is again just because I like the garnish.
Hot pretzel baguette (beer mustard butter). This was cute and the pretzel bread itself was fine. But man that mustard butter I could have eaten with a spoon–so good.
Southwestern grilled shrimp flatbread (black bean and corn relish, pepper jack cheese, chipotle). I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about shrimp on pizza but combined with the chipotle and cilantro it wasn’t bad at all.
Blue mussels (bacon, buttermilk blue cheese, Oskar Blues Dales pale ale). Again I wasn’t sure how blue cheese and mussels would work together, but combined with the bacon and beer they were quite good. The flavor was smoky yet cut nicely by the booze.
Broccolini and pine nuts. Points for serving a vegetable you don’t see everyday on menus.
Not pictured – mac and cheese side which Darby reports was delish.
Jumbo lump crab cakes. Man, these were legit! There was almost no filler, just crab meat. The old bay remoulade was delicious if not a little salty (Darby agrees!). Also, I took one home for my husband then accidentally (on purpose) ate it myself. They were even good cold (sorry John!).
Shrimp and grits (sautéed Gulf shrimp, country ham, onions, bell peppers, celery). Okay let’s be real, this was not the shrimp and grits I was expecting. It looks more like jambalaya to me. However it was savory, tasty and according to Nikkia it reheated well. I think I liked it even more than the less sauce-y version I was expecting.
Pan seared sea scallops (cheese grit cake, braised greens, bacon, butternut squash, crème fraîche). I’ll be honest: I was so engrossed in retelling 9th grade inside jokes (e.g., petty cash) I forgot to taste these but here’s Erin’s report:
The scallops were cooked amazingly. I didn’t think I’d love the dallop on top because I’m definitely a purist when it comes to scallops but I was cutting up the scallops into smaller bites so I could dip them in that purée even more! The greens were fantastic too! Perfectly tender. The cake underneath was kind of blah though. It’s the only thing I didn’t finish.
Pumpkin ravioli (garlic sage cream, crumbled amaretti cookie, toasted pecans). The idea of cookies on top might sound odd but Mary Beth thought the crunchy crumb cookie topping was quite yummy.
Salty crunchy sundae (peanut and dark chocolate ice creams, hot fudge, potato chips). This was a hit minus the chips.
Lemon chess oatmeal pie (honeycomb ice cream, tangerine caramel). I loved the crust! The filling reminded me of key lime pie in both taste and texture.
Aren’t these ladies the cutest?! What a fun, fun night. And did you notice the most stand out part of the whole evening? NO SMALL PLATES! Yes, we shared the flatbread and mussels but there were actual entrees. It’s been a while since I’ve seen those!