MatchBox – You’ve Been Served!

521 8th Street SE

Pinot

Pinot

Chances are if you have spent anytime in the DMV you’ve either eaten at Matchbox or know of Matchbox. This restaurant has become very popular in the past few years as they have expanded their presence in this area to at least 4 locations.

I tend to compare Matchbox to Busboys and Poets and Ben’s Next Door but if I had to pick which was best of the three I pick Matchbox with Ben’s Next Door dead last. Also of the three, I think Matchbox is the most kid friendly and this seems to be less and less common in DC.

Having said that, pretty much everything about Matchbox is middle of the road. This includes the food, setting and staff. Its as if their motto is ‘ Whatever’. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you want to grab something tasty and get in an out on your way home or for  a quick brunch. And if this is your goal by all means this is your place. But if you are looking for a dining experience its not to be found here.

Mini Burgers

Mini Burgers

 

Let me mention that I have dined at the Eastern Market and 14th Street locations only. Service is pretty much hit or miss in that the servers tend to be on the younger side and less experienced. The regular bar staff at the Eastern Market location are a big turnoff. I was actually relieved to see a particular bartender leaving as we came in. If I sit at the bar or walk in for take out the bar staff can make you feel as if they  are doing you a favor  - greetings are not timely, a little stand offish or dismissive while the regular barfly gets all the love. No I don’t expect outstanding bartenders like those at this spot but at the same time I know when someone behind the bar has no interest in enhancing your experience. It just screams ‘we really don’t appreciate your business’.

Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits

 

On the positive side  the food is not bad. Just saying,  nothing stands out here and you will not walkout ‘impressed’ but you will probably be satisfied. I would say one of the best items on the menu is the Pizza. Check out the menu here. Its pretty standard, more than burgers and pizza but no cheese board selection or outstanding wines.

Sausage Pizza

Sausage Pizza

 

Got a call from my partner PC to head out for a quick bite as it was early Matchbox seemed a good idea. There is no happy hour which is surprising as the ambience screams happy hour. We grabbed a seat at the bar and decided to get wine and one of the cocktails. The bar area is normally pretty crowded and I would say that after 6pm it becomes difficult to get a seat there – at least at the SE location.

 

Since we both had big appetites we decided to go with the Sausage – Onion – Red Pepper Pizza and Salmon and Cheese Grits with Spinach. The Pizza was very good with huge chunks of sausage. The Salmon was good but its served with a small butter pat. PC decided to toss his to the side but I smeared it all over the Salmon. Well, it was SO INCREDIBLY SALTY that it was difficult to enjoy the fish. I had to mix the Salmon into the Grits to cut the salty taste. I this is coming from someone who has a high salt threshold.

We decided to skip dessert but you may want to try the bread pudding or Brownie.

Magic Brownie

Magic Brownie

 

Salmon and Grits

Salmon and Grits

 

So if you are in the mood for some standard fare while watching the game and generally being ignored by the bar staff, hoof it on over to Matchbox where they will be sure to make you feel like you’re not even there!

Five  minute walk from Metro Orange or Blue line at Eastern Market.