The Royal DC
There’s something about The Royal DC that intrigued me from the beginning. First, it offers Latin cuisine, something I’ve had a taste for lately because of my recent travels to South America. Second, was its intriguing bar décor particularly its chosen accessories, like an old fire hydrant that now dispenses the restaurant’s house-made vermouth. Finally, the restaurant already had glowing recommendations from at least three acquaintances, all of whom have very discerning taste buds.
I went here with a friend around 7 p.m. on a Saturday night. The place was surprisingly empty when we came, though not for long. I ordered the grilled squid. He ordered an empanada and had the pork morcilla as his main course.
Perhaps it’s just my overzealous nature but I generally like to plan everything, down to what I want to eat for dinner, so I get a bit antsy when I come in blind especially to a place I haven’t tried before. The restaurant’s website remains unavailable to this day, something I hope the management will resolve quickly. In addition to the lack of functioning website, there appears to be some confusion the moment you walk into the restaurant. There are no signs that tell you what to do about seating and ordering. My friend and I exchanged looks before figuring out that you seat yourself and order food and drinks at the bar. Again, a sign or notice will help because I reckon we weren’t the first and will likely NOT be the last to wear such confused looks.
Rave: Aguardiente Punch
The best cocktails are the ones where you can barely taste the alcohol. This is certainly true of The Royal’s aguardiente punch, which included a mixture of the Colombian national liquor, blackberry puree and freshly shaved ice. I’ve only tried a small number of cocktails around town but this was the best one I’ve had so far. The drink goes down so smoothly that you forget it’s made with what Colombians call “fiery water.” I’d definitely order it again and will recommend it to anyone over 21.
Rave: Beef Empanada with Aji Sauce
This was different than the other empanadas I’ve tried, but it was very good nonetheless. The outer shell was crispy and made with smash corn instead of flour. The filling was light and included shredded rather than ground beef. When you bite into it, the pie doesn’t disintegrate, allowing you to soak it with the accompanying aji sauce.
My overall experience at The Royal DC was very pleasant despite the earlier mishap. The only suggestion I have is for the kitchen to use bigger circular rings or use one big flattened cut for the grilled squid dish since larger cuts are generally better for grilling.
The Royal, Shaw