From Laura Herman
American Ice Co. opened near U Street in December 2010, amidst holiday chaos. I’d been wanting to check out this new local spot that promised a straightforward selection of barbecued meats, homemade pickles, and interesting beers, but I didn’t actually make it there until just last week.
I went with a friend and we sampled two of their three main dishes, a couple of sides and a few beers. My friend had the pork and I had the brisket, which we felt beat out the pork in terms of flavor. My favorite part of the meal was the homemade pickle medley, containing traditional half and whole sours, plus pickled onions and jalapeños, all of which came in a cute paper cup. I can definitely see myself ordering that again — and not being willing to share.
Overall, I really liked the atmosphere and the beer selection, but I’m not rushing back for the food. The outdoor patio looks FANTASTIC (rest assured they do have heat lamps going for the winter), and I’ll definitely be back to enjoy that space once the weather’s a bit warmer.
- Where Am I Going: 917 V Street NW (between Vermont Avenue & 10th Street NW).
- When Am I Going: Evenings and weekends for dinner or just drinks. ProTrip: Online reviews warned to get there early in the evening because they’ve been known to run out of certain food items. We arrived for dinner around 8 and were just fine.
- What You’ll Be Eating: Mostly meat. Barbecue sandwiches, platters, sides. Late night meaty, cheesy combos. The menu is limited: turkey, pulled pork, and brisket sandwiches and platters (platter comes with BBQ beans, sandwich comes with coleslaw and a pickle). Drinks are poured in mason jars and food is served on paper plates and in cardboard containers. The waste kind of irks me, but it works.
- What You’ll Be Drinking: Draft beers, including Goose Island 316, Czechvar, and Racer 5 on tap, served in either mason jar or pint-sizes. Or a consult the chalkboard menu behind the bar for other canned and bottled options, including Porkslap (they were out the night I was there, I was briefly bummed), Old Speckled Hen, 21st Amendment Black, and good ‘ol PBR tallboys. Though we stuck with beer, they also have a full service bar.
- Say What?: On a Wednesday night the space was pleasantly crowded, but not packed. I’m sure things pick up on the weekends, and particularly before 9:30 Club, U Street Music Hall, etc. shows because of the close proximity. I’d say it’s a good spot to go with a group of friends, and I’m sure that the outdoor patio will be prime real estate for summer happy hours.
- Paycheck Pain: Dishes ran in the $9-$15 range and apps were mostly less than $10. Beers cost between about $6 and $8. I spent around $25 for my meal, including a sandwich, shared side and appetizer, and a drink, plus tip. Since I’ve seen many of American Ice Co.’s beers priced lower at other area spots, I can see how a bar tab here could add up pretty quickly. Even if overpriced, DCers seem willing to pay a premium for the atmosphere and overall vibe.
Has anyone else been to American Ice Co? What was your experience like? Does it belong on TBD’s DC Meat Week list?