July 13, 2011, Washington, DC: One reason I love city living is because going out to eat is among my guiltiest pleasures. I love living in neighborhoods where I can walk down the block and choose from a wide variety of authentic cuisines. I love that urban diversity means great food; cities have long welcomed nomads, including nomads who like to cook meals that remind them of home.
Tonight I dined at a restaurant I hadn’t yet visited: Senart’s Oyster and Chop House on Barrack’s Row. Barrack’s Row is a stretch of 8th St. SE just three blocks from my front door and Senart’s is its one of its newest — and oldest — additions. Senart’s Oyster and Chop House occupied this very building on Barrack’s Row from 1913-1939 and reopened in spring 2011. Even the old mural on the building’s outside brick wall has been restored from Senart’s back in the old days.
During Senart’s first stint on the Row, this stretch of road near the Navy Yard was a bustling main street. Now, once again, it’s the place to be. A recent Washington Post article featured Xavier Cervera, one man behind much of the Row’s revitalization. Senart’s is his fourth restaurant on 8th St. SE within two blocks.
There were several things I loved about tonight’s meal: the boneless braised beef rib, the carrot cake, the long, long marble-topped wooden bar. I loved dining at this historic neighborhood haunt after spending a year living outside of the city, disappointed by the food. And I loved dining with friends, neighborhood friends, who I’d missed during my year away. I loved not having to coordinate rides home because we all live within walking distance.