Imagine a place where everyone knows your name, except that instead of beer, everyone’s drinking Lambrusco. That would be The Partisan, a dimly lit, tavern-like restaurant and bar attached to a butcher shop (Red Apron). Start with the charcuterie list, 30-plus choices arranged in categories titled “Bright,” “Herbal & Floral,” “Spicy Hot, “Rich & Smooth, “Earthy” and “Smoky.” Some are classic (herb saucisson); some are not (tête de pho, a Vietnamese-spiced headcheese, or the Eva Peron, a salami infused with Fernet Branca). Then move to the wine list, which Brent Kroll has stocked with plenty of sparkling red from Emilia-Romagna. Choices like the Vigneto Saetti Rosso Viola or Fiorini Terre al Sole have the perfect balance of bubbles and tannins to cut the richness of the meats. You could easily spend the entire evening drinking Lambrusco and eating salami, but you may want to take advantage of The Partisan’s butcher connections with a bavette served with romesco and charred scallions or the orange-scented porchetta. Either one gives you plenty of room to explore wines from places as diverse as Virginia (Early Mountain White) and Serbia (morava from Milijan Jelic). It’s also rich in classics, including older vintages (1995 Guigal Hermitage at $150, or multiple vintages of Henri Gouges and Mongeard-Mugneret, to name just a few).
709 D St. NW, Washington D.C.
This story appears in the print issue of October 2014.
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