I know there’s a giant elephant in the room, a set of burning questions you’ve been meaning to ask me for a couple of weeks now. At this point, you are certainly asking yourself, “Where is the Daily Love Affair I have come to know and love?Has this girl eaten anything in the past few weeks? She must be starved! Let me feed her a sandwich.”
Don’t you fret, my foodlovin’ readers, I do not require your sandwich because yes. Yes I have. Just last week, Logan and I skipped over to Del Campo in Chinatown, just a few short blocks away from my office. I had been here a few weeks back with some coworkers, but still had yet to try the wood-fired grill of a menu on display here.
(Del Campo, 777 Eye Street Northwest, Washington DC 20001)
Boy oh boy. Good thing I was starving, cause this was some hearty stuff! The menu is divided into four different portions: Appetizers, Street Food, Asado and Main Plates. Each dish features some sort of smoked or grilled element. Just by looks ,the Asado portion seemed to steal the spotlight on this menu, so without much hesitation we planned our order around it.
I read this article a few weeks back about the return of the breadbasket in DC, which briefly mentioned Del Campo’s cast-iron rolls, so as a self-proclaimed connoisseur of restaurant breads (ask Logan about my issues), I was pumped to snack. Unfortunately, the small shout-out in the city paper did not do it justice. I am too confident to say this might be the most unreal bread I’ve had at a restaurant. Served warm in a skillet, lightly toasted on the outside to be dipped in smoked olive oil with a sprinkle of smoked sea salt, I have three words. Om nom nom.
On the savory side, we opted for a meaty smorgasbord. Our appetizers included the Grilled Octopus and the Crispy Berkshire Pork Chicharones. The octopus is well-executed here, textured and charred to perfection served atop two different styles of potato puree , but the dish that stole my heart was the Chicharones. To be honest, we wish we had ordered three more. Everything falls perfectly off the bone, melting in your mouth like the perfect pork belly it is. If you’re at Del Campo, you cannot miss it!
Our main entree arrived on a little mini grill. From the Asado portion, we selected the Rolled Creekstone Prime Skirt Steak and an order of the chorizos, Del Campo style. The chorizos were tasty, but did not stand out as much as out main dish. The steak is cut wide and thin, topped with herbs, chimichurri and Parmesan, then rolled, grilled and herb-smoked. The outside layers are slightly charred, while the insides are warm and pink. So perfect. So good. I even had it as leftovers the next day, and it was just as delicious.
I probably should have mentioned my drink first since it arrived first, but it looked way more precious next to donuts and cookies. This Burnt Pumpkin Old Fashioned was the whiskey drink I’ve been wishing for all along. I wish I had snapped a pic of the presentation, but got too excited and forgot! It arrived on a cheeseboard, glass upside-down atop some smoking/burning herb I cannot remember the name of. The Bulliet Rye Whiskey had been infused with pumpkin in house. Mixed with the smokiness in the glass, it was the ideal blend for a lush’s treat.
After much debate, we chose our waiter’s top choice, the Dulce de Leche doughnuts. Served with a mini vat of coffee ice cream milkshake, I could see why this was his choice. To our surprise, the doughnuts oozed with caramel from the inside, and a perfect match for the milkshake inside and out. And on our way out, we got a second round of dessert with these nice little shortbread/caramel cookie treats.
While I still have a few places on my wishlist to test out, Del Campo will remain at the top as my current choice of a steak recommendation anywhere in this food-loving city. Competitors be warned- it’ll take a lot to knock it down.