Image: Deviled Eggs at The Riggsby
Last Visited: February 2020
The Riggsby opened as an oasis of good food in a patch north of Dupont Circle that was largely barren of fine dining choices. It served excellent cocktails and had a decent wine list. The food was hearty, nostalgic American. It was an old school, wood and dark leather kind of place that could be perceived as uber-masculine but was campy enough to lighten the mood. Then it went through chefs and menu changes. The staff rolled over and not always for the better. Now? Things appear to be settling down, but there is still work to be done. It is still a good choice if you are in the area.
The food centers on classics like pork chops, pieces of fish, roast chicken, a burger, and deviled eggs. There are Italian touches thrown in, reflecting the focus of the mother empire of Boston-based restaurateur Michael Schlow. The chicken and pork chop are large enough for two. The lamb chops were well-spiced, but on a bed of couscous with a dollop of sour cream that did not match the meat’s subtlety. The salmon is consistently good, but one night the trout was more charred than cooked. The chopped salad is crispy, creamy, decadent and not part of any diet plan.
Out-of-towners from the hotel and permanent Washington are the clientele most nights, with brunch pulling from a broader base. It is not cheap, but many times a meal can be stretched to a second one if you remember to take home the doggy bag.
The wine list is serviceable. The aforementioned cocktails are done well, and bartenders over the years have been very good. The rest of service has fluctuated between great and terrible. A couple months back, a two-hour dinner was converted into three hours through a combination of lax service and a slow kitchen. More recent visits were better. Located off the lobby of the Kimpton Carlyle Hotel, The Riggsby remains a good choice and a good neighborhood spot. I just wish it was more consistent and consistently trying to aspire beyond that.
Tyler: Liked it when it opened.