It may come as a surprise to you, but the small restaurant footprint on J at 20th has gone through three iterations in the last few years. I know, you didn’t even notice. You were totally unaware that a place named “Had’s” strolled in there in 2011 and was gone by Inauguration Day. And honestly, we saw it coming even if you didn’t. Had’s? Really? What kind of a name was that? And the cursive script it was written in made us ask ourselves “Is the place called Shad’s? or Had’s? Of Ffad’s?…Fuck it, we’re not eating there.”
Before that, it was a sushi place so memorable that no one can remember its name. Sushi Place? Sushi Joint? Sushi Sushi? It was something awesomely memorable like that. They apparently served the best edamame you can get on that block of J Street.
Well, some new intrepid restaurateurs have rebranded the place and gone for broke with the surefire restaurant formula of the decade, artisinal/basic/comfort/hipster/fattening. It’s working for LowBrau, it’s working for grilled cheese trucks, it’s working everywhere. Perhaps it’ll work for the new occupiers of 1925 J Street, Tank House.
If nothing else, it’s tough to forget the name, mostly because it has nothing to do with anything, and I occasionally mistakenly call it Tank Farm, confusing it for the street in San Luis Obispo, but people still know what I’m talking about. The food is pretty simple, barbecue, backed up by high-quality local ingredients, backed up further by a good bar.
The brisket was awesome last time I tried it, the ribs good, the greens out of this greeniverse, and the mac and cheese (despite the inanely shaped pasta that looks more like a bottle brushes than traditional elbows) is scrumptious, especially when smoked chicken is rolled into the mix.
Orders are taken at the bar, pub style. And there’s nothing wrong with that except the service is surly, no other word for it. Surly. I’m not taking the future Mrs. Eats there any time soon to be glared at by bearded hipster ruffians, but I’d take a friend with a penis there anytime for a few brews and some barbecue. The inside is cozy and full of some beautiful wood, the outdoor patio way nicer than it should be.
If they can find the coin to hire a friendly server or two it would turn the place into a dining paradise. Or at least a decent place for the kind of date night that doesn’t include shaving.
Tank House- 1925 J St, 431.7199.
Food ***1/2 Service * Atmosphere ***