I have to confess; I walk past Ulah Bistro almost every day but never think of it when picking a restaurant. I finally stopped by for dinner, and have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.
The restaurant, which is located right by the U Street metro, has a cool space with two floors, separate bar areas and a decent size patio, which is an ideal spot for the perfect summer evenings we’ve been having lately.
It is a great Happy Hour destination, too — $5 margaritas, rail drinks and wine, $4 beers and food offered as well.
The dinner menu is varied and extensive, offering up traditional American bistro fare with a wide range of price points. I found myself thinking it would serve large groups and picky eaters well — the kind of place where there is something for everyone, be it a sandwich, pizza or a full entrée.
Our drinks and appetizers both came out very quickly, although the restaurant was almost full at the time. The mussels were fresh and plentiful, and the white wine and garlic sauce that they were prepared with hit the spot. After polishing off every last bit of bread and broth, we eagerly awaited our entrees, looking at the long line of tourists lining up at Ben’s Chili Bowl, which is literally right across from Ulah. But we didn’t have to wait as long as they did!
I got the roasted chicken, and my dining partner got the fish of the day. Both of us had requested substitutions on the sides that were offered with our dishes, which our server graciously accommodated.
The chicken, served with a red wine sauce was simple but flavorful and the portion was large, I could only finish half of it. The fish of the day, grilled salmon in a mushroom broth was fresh and tasty. Our accompaniments — sautéed bok choy, mashed potatoes and the house salad — were all good and came in large portions.
While the flavors were delightful, the freshness of the ingredients and the exceptional service we received through our meal stood out. We left satisfied and full, concluding that Ulah would be a great option the next time we are looking for a comforting bistro meal that does not break the bank.
If you have been, what do you recommend we eat the next time we go?
Ulah Bistro: The Details
- Where Am I Going: 1214 U Street NW (Between 12th and 13th on U)
- When Am I Going: Monday to Friday: 11am to 11pm (2 am on Fridays); Saturday and Sunday, Brunch from 10 am to 3pm. Happy Hour and late night menus offered.
- Paycheck Pain: Pizzas and sandwiches priced at about $13. Entrees cost $17 to $24.
- Say What?: Tables are fairly close together and the place gets busy and loud late at night. Upper lounge area is good for large groups, lower floor good for smaller groups and for conversation.
- What You’ll Be Eating: American bar and bistro food.